01 Jun I need a place for Mom – Now What?
The growing awareness that your senior parent is no longer able to live safely and independently alone without outside support is an emotional experience. The ensuing heaviness is compounded if you are one of the tens of millions of American adults, between the ages of 40 and 60, who find themselves in the “Sandwich Generation” – sandwiched between children living at home, work, and parental caregiving responsibilities.
Determining the Next Step for Aging Parents
There are two options for seniors who shouldn’t live alone without help: transition them into a new caregiving situation (living with other family members, an assisted living community, nursing home, etc.) or bringing care into the home so they can age-in-place. We recommend doing a bit of research and evaluating all of the options before making a permanent decision.
Without taking the time to assess what’s necessary, and craft a thoughtful plan, families can make hasty decisions that aren’t the best long-term solutions for everyone involved, most especially the senior parent. The following questions to determine whether transitioning a parent is the best idea, whether qualified home care is a better solution.
Have you had a conversation with your Senior Parent about long-term care options?
These conversations can be tricky to navigate, or they can go more smoothly than you could imagine. The key is to be prepared to discuss a range of topics with complete respect to your parent’s feelings, preferences, and requests.
Genworth, a nationally-acclaimed organization dedicated to helping customers navigate long-term care options has a wonderful guide: Long Term Care: Have the Talk With Aging Parents. Print it, share it with your family, and use it or a personalized version to scaffold conversations with parents and immediate family members.
The guide provides information, suggestions, and checklist covering the most pertinent topics, including:
- Dos and don’ts for discussing such sensitive topics to keep conversations grounded, honest, and respectful of everyone’s feelings
- Finances and financing
- Senior care options
- Creating a long-term care plan that addresses the now and future potentials
- How to move forward with estate planning such as wills/trusts/POA/Medical Directives/etc.
The initial conversations are an important first-step before proceeding with the decision-making phase.
Does your senior parent require more acute medical care?
If your senior parent or loved one requires acute medical care make sure you only consult with a licensed home care agency that has nurse delegates on staff to support the client’s needs. Many home care providers are not able to facilitate the more acute aspects of medical care. Thus, you want to find one who is able to take care of general personal and medical care needs, while working in tandem with a licensed home health care professionals to handle more acute medical tasks, such as:
- Altering medication dosage (administering medication as per a physician’s or RNs schedule and medication reminders are fine)
- Wound care
- Inserting or caring for IV meds or nourishment
- Monitoring clinical health status or modifying diagnoses/treatments
- Parenteral nutrition
This is great news for families who have dreaded the idea of moving mom or dad into facility based care. There are so many options available to ensure they are well taken care of in the comfort of their own home.
Is s/he still socially engaged/active with their community/network?
If your senior parent demonstrates early signs of memory loss, or other age-related declines (vision, mobility, incontinence, loss of driving privileges, etc.), but s/she is still active in friend circles community organizations, home care may be the better option. Transitioning out of a home or neighborhood s/he doesn’t want to leave is usually not the best option at this stage of the care plan.
In addition to showing that 60% or more of seniors prefer to age-in-place whenever possible, elder-care studies prove social engagement is key to healthy aging and positive wellbeing. Moving a senior out of the home and community they love can do more home than good.
In-home assessment from local home care agencies are instrumental in helping families just like you determine the next best course of action. In many cases, this can be as simple bringing some meal, housekeeping, and driving support on board once or multiple times a week. For other families, daily support with personal care provides dignity and ensures your parent is being safely taken care of.
Can the home be modified for your parent to safely age-in-place?
If aging in place is the most sound solution, creating a safe and accessible home environment is a top priority for your family and/or the caregivers you hire to help. You can Click Here to read more about what it means to create an accessible home.
Interested in learning more about what comes next if you need a safe place for a senior parent to live a safe, healthier, engaged, and more independent life? Contact With a Little Help, and we’ll be happy to listen to where you’re at and help you find the best solutions to support your parent and your family.