As adult children of parents or other family members suffering from Alzheimer’s, and all other types of Dementia, and other chronic and debilitating diseases like Parkinson’s, ALS, MS, and mental illness, their care will become part of our conversation during New Year resolutions. As some of us know, caring for our elders with any dementia, including Alzheimer’s and/or any other chronic and debilitating disease is very taxing and after surviving the revealing Holidays visits, we now, know better and their care is imminent and will be part of our New Year resolutions: What are we going to do with mom’s decline, Dad is more forgetful and high fall risk, what if grandpa does not improve his heart condition with treatment, should we sale their homes and place them in an institution?
The New Year brings all the joys of the new, the fresh, and the possibilities but drag with it all the unfinished business regarding the care of our seniors, all that we saw during the holidays and now made it onto our To Do List. On top of all what we already do as adults, caring for our own kids – welcome to the sandwich generation- we need to figure out how to keep our parents or family members safe and healthy, at home or elsewhere.
When elderly parents experience health problems, loss of cognitive function, and difficulty performing the activities of daily living, adult children find themselves faced with difficult decisions. As an adult child, one of the most difficult decisions you may face is choosing a level of care for your loved one that meets his or her needs, provides an optimal level of independence, and maintains a good quality of life.
Before making the decision of when and where, we need to initiate the unbearable conversation with our parents and other family members about what and why. Most of the time, our elders had grown very independents and taking care of their own business and they do not want their children minding their business, sometimes being a burden. In some situations the denial and the answer “I do not need help…I am fine…” close the possibilities to our best intentions. Then the worrisome tug of war starts. When it comes to moving elder parents and bringing the “senior Care” or home care” conversation, experts like Stella Henry, R.N., author of The Eldercare Handbook says “this is probably one of the hardest decisions a child will ever have to make.” Henry, an eldercare specialist who has been featured in Time, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, says many seniors “unrealistically believe they can take care of themselves for the rest of their lives.” And that’s where their children or other family members can be instrumental in identifying the problem and instigating change…”
Another specialist Dr. Barry Jacobs, explains on his book The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers hat t here are no magic strategies or tricks for persuading an elder to receive care at home or move to a facility …,he suggests trying different approaches but when a parent continually refuses to entertain the idea of moving…”The child needs to back off for the time being,” advises Jacobs. But don’t give up and seek other openings to raise the issue again.”
In regards to what type of are to chose and although, home Care is 99% of the times the best solution for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and loving relationships and if not too much supervision or care is needed, there’s a good chance it could be right for you to keep people happy in their own environments,. In-home care provide professional caregivers who come into the home and install safety monitoring technology that could lower the cost of care and can be an effective solution in helping seniors maintain independence at home for as long as possible. Yet, it is not for everybody, mainly due to social needs, and cost. Other options are:
- Skilled nursing facilities, or nursing homes, provide around-the-clock coverage by registered nurses or licensed practical nurses as well as activities and medical, dietary, and pharmaceutical services. These facilities also provide assistance with daily living activities, such as bathing and dressing.
- Assisted living facilities are a residential elder care option that is a step between independent living and skilled care. These facilities are designed for seniors who need assistance with activities of daily living but do not require the level of health care services provided in a nursing home.
Choosing a senior care option is never easy, but if you take an informed approach and are sensitive to your loved one’s needs, you can help him or her stay safe, happy, and healthy. ALWAYS consult a specialist before making the final decision to make sure you are making an informed decision.
Consulting your loved one’s physician can aid in the decision process and help you find out what can be done to treat or manage his or her condition. You can also make sure the physician is aware of all the medications your parent is taking, so that he can rule out over medication or drug interactions as the cause of your parent’s difficulties.
Besides social or medical needs, you and your elders have a wide variety of elderly care options to choose from. When making the right choice, you will need to take into consideration factors such as the following:
- Are family members’ available to assist with elderly care? Do you, siblings or other relatives live near enough to provide or supervise care? Do other responsibilities limit your time commitment?
- Does your parent have cognitive limitations from Alzheimer’s disease or other conditions that compromise his or her safety and make regular supervision necessary?
- Does your parent require regular medical care as well as assistance with the activities of daily living
Choosing a senior care option is never easy, but if you take an informed approach and are sensitive to your loved one’s needs, you can help him or her stay safe, happy, and healthy. Last but no least, remember these issues and the time to deal with them can be very overwhelming, giving you are already juggling with many balls “on the air” look out to your own sanity and seek help as needed. Organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association have tips for caregivers on how to take better care of ourselves, this new year. Happy and senior safe 2015!