Home Care or Communal Living – How to Know What is Best?Posted by in Aging | Alzheimer's | Assisted Living Facilities | Caregivers | Dementia | Home Health Care | Hospice
This is a difficult decision to make. Boca Home Care Services offers some suggestions and recommendation on how to make this decision with a loved one or for a spouse or parent. Best to look at what is best for the person and the primary caregiver. What can be gained, what is lost and how to strike a balance in your aging loved one’s favor.
Since most people prefer to remain in their own homes, this is usually the goal. If it is truly the best place for an elderly parent or spouse to be, then help is brought in to assist with personal care and/or household help – as needed. Safety and Care ought to be the guiding principles.
A plan can be put together to have a caregiver come into the home. A schedule worked out between family, friends and a hired aide.
If your elderly family member lives alone, is lonely, depressed, can’t really manage alone, needs more attention, help with medication and really a lot more supervision than hourly help, then a move to congregate living may actually be the best thing if live in care isn’t feasible.
Incontinence is usually the straw that changes the situation for family. It becomes more physically and emotionally draining for the family caregiver. Certainly if live in care is not an option but the level of need is that of someone requiring supervision, then it is time to look at and find a suitable living facility.
Any move to an Independent facility ought to have an Assisted side as well. Important to look down the road a bit. Nursing home care is for someone who needs 24 hour nursing care for either a physical problem or Alzheimer’s Dementia – at an advanced stage.
Group homes are a very nice alternative to be considered as it is an actual home with about 6-8 residents.
There are many professionals who can help with your assessment and search. A Geriatric Care Manager is one. A Pllacement professional is another.
First discern if it is best to stay at home and realistic with regard to costs and availability of help.
If the decision is to leave the home, is it more sensible to move closer to family or remain in the area currently lived in? I always ask (here in Florida) is there a compelling reason to remain in Florida? Weather is not a compelling reason.
Once the decision is made to make a move or it is clear that such a move will need to be made within the year, then start looking at places. Level of care is based on need. If need is for Dementia or Alzheimer’s care, then a dementia specific facility is most desirable.
Decide what area to look in and then set a few appointments. You don’t need to make a “sneak visit” the first time. You’ll want a tour, and time to ask questions.
How do you know? Trust your gut. It is like any other house or home hunting really. You want to see if it has a pleasant energy to the place, any smells, how the residents look and how they may interact with one another. If you have a visceral dislike of the place, cross it off your list. Find out what staff ratios are, activities, what staff is on and at which shifts, medical supervision, field trips out to restaturants, events and shopping?
Once you’ve narrowed down the place or actually picked it, visit at different times of day, speak with residents, visit on weekends and speak with other family members if they are there. Then figure out the finances of what is possible, what to bring to the facility to make it homey and the basic details of a move. Plan to visit regularly at the beginning so your loved one isn’t “abandoned” and so that the facility sees an involved family.
If possible, do a trial move in – for at least a month. Don’t sell the apt. or home just yet in case it doesn’t work out.
Do your research, hire a professional, trust your gut and move forward. If staying at home is the right choice, or for as long as possible, then hiring an aide is a solution. If moving to a more social environment or one that meets your health and safety needs, then that is more sensible. Either way, planning is crucial and should start a year or so in advance, if possible. It is a family decision so include the primary family members.
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