Numerous people have been fortunate to have loving parents who cared for their wellbeing, whilst growing up. What happens when this role is reversed and the parent needs looking after? Over 15 million people in the U.S care for their elderly parents each year, with half of that number having a parent who experiences some form of dementia. What signs are an indication that it is time to seriously consider placing a parent in an assisted living environment?
- The healthcare becomes too much for the caregiver to manage.
- Home safety has become an issue with hazardous scenarios like: falling, leaving a stove on, and wandering away from the home and getting lost.
- Planning the move ahead of time would be an ideal situation but for many this is not a reality. If there is an opportunity to speak with a parent about the potential move to an assisted living home, this would help with the transition. If the parent suffers from dementia, breaking the news about the move may be emotionally challenging as the parent may not fully understand.
Consider the following steps in helping tell the news:
- If the parent is in the early stages of dementia and still comprehends, discuss after you have conducted all the assisted living research and be honest.
- The parent may listen more if the news comes from a professional like a doctor, nurse, or social worker.
HOW WILL THEY FEEL
For most of their lives, parents have been independent, so being told they are moving to an assisted living home may cause the following:
- Feelings of abandonment
- Lack of control
In order to calm their fears, research several care facilities. Asking or researching the following questions, will ease stress and undeserved guilt to the caregiver:
- Does the home have a special dementia unit?
- Is it fully staffed seven days a week?
- Are there medical personal on hand, and if so, how often are they there?
- Are they Medicare certified and are all staff licensed?
- Has the home had any lawsuits filed against it (google search)?
- How large will their personal living space be is there a green area outside?
- Are personal belongings and or furniture allowed for a home-like feel?
- Is there an open door policy?
- Are there planned activities and outings?
- Will there be a set daily routine and what does it consist of?
- What safety precautions are in place for dementia sufferers?
- Is the location close enough for family and friends to visit?
- Speak with an onsite financial advisor to discuss payment options.
It will take the parent time to adjust to their new environment, and during this period, the caregiver should consider the following steps:
- Visit occasionally and for short amounts of time until the parent is settled in their new home.
- Build a relationship with the staff.
- Parents with dementia will often ask to go home, which can be very upsetting for both parties. Do not try to reason and explain the situation as this can cause agitation and upset for the parent. Try to reassure, comfort and if need be agree and distract.
- Not only will the parent have to adjust, so will the care giver.
The decision to move a parent to an assisted living home is one of the hardest choices a person will make. Do not feel guilty, instead be positive that an assisted living home may open more opportunities for them to socialize, be kept safe and provide medical assistance if required. Read further on this subject and more at: http://getthrive.com/