One of the hardest decisions to ever make!
As a Senior Living Counselor at MRC Creekside, I get the privilege of speaking to families every day. For some, the decision is clear. For most, the decision to move mom and dad or spouse to a senior care community is one of the hardest decisions they have ever made, wrought with doubt and guilt. Day after day, I talk to families that aren’t sure what the next step is in caring for their loved one. We sit and talk, take a look around, and discuss a day in the life of our residents. No matter how great the visit, the family is terrified to take the leap. In their mind, they can take care of their loved one at home. While that may be true, there may be better options for their loved one to thrive, but they aren’t yet able to see those options clearly. This is usually when I start to hear things like, “we aren’t there yet.” Or “I want to keep him/her home until I absolutely have to move him/her” or the dreaded “they still know what is going on, so I think they should stay home.” Now, it may seem like I do not accept these statements. In some cases, this is true. When visiting a senior community, everyone looks to see how happy or unhappy the staff and residents are. What they don’t see is how similar the residents are to their own loved one in not only age, but ability to do or not do for themselves. This brings me to why waiting may mean it’s too late.
When is the right time?
As adult children or seniors, we are always wondering when it is time to make the move to assisted living care. The design of assisted living is to make the change when still active, perhaps needing minimal medical oversite, and want to live a quality, worry-free lifestyle. For most of our assisted living residents, this means that they need assistance in bathing, grooming, medication, general cuing due to Dementia/Alzheimer’s, meal prep, and other things that have become harder to complete on a day to day basis. It is a state regulation that if you are moving into an assisted living community, you must be able to evacuate the building in under 13 minutes, which means your loved one must be mobile or need minimal assistance. This is a major deciding factor when making the decision on what area you are better served. When deciding if it is time to move, take this into consideration. If you decide to wait until you or your loved one can no longer get to and from their bed or chair, you may have waited too long. It is important to know what services each area of the community you are looking at offers, and what the qualifications are to live there.
Having a plan will remove the panic!
When families finally decide to move their loved ones to a senior community, there typically has been a life event of some kind. This is when you start to panic and realize that you are unable to continue caring for them, or that your loved one has been hiding how bad their health really is. When you wait too long to move a loved one, or research your options, you put yourself right in the middle of a sinking ship. Now, you have to go into overdrive to find placement or you hit the dreaded waitlist wall. Yes, it’s true. Most communities have a waitlist for assisted living apartments. Sure you can admit them into a skilled nursing facility while they heal from that fall, but then what? Where will they go when they have completed their rehab stay? This is where your assigned social worker drops the bomb in your lap that they or you are not able to live at home anymore, and you need nursing care. Maybe it is just assisted living, but many times its 24 hour care.
Watch your loved one thrive!
It is important for you to do your research; and know what it means to live in an assisted living, memory care, or skilled nursing community. Many times, you will see your loved one do a complete turnaround, and they are better than they have been in years. Once they are with their peers and no longer have the burden of caring for a home, the stress level lowers (for both loved one and caregiver), your loved one’s spirit is high, and you will see them thrive! Do not let waiting for the right time become letting the right time pass.
By: Courtney Keels, Creekside Senior Living Counselor