To move or not to move?
So many exhausted caregivers struggle with the decision to move their older adult to assisted living. Even thinking about it makes families feel terribly guilty, especially when they’ve promised to never put their older adult in a nursing home.
But keeping that promise isn’t always realistic. Safety concerns, health problems, and specialized care needs are the top reasons to consider assisted living.
Advice from an experienced social worker
We spoke with Florence Marchick to find out how to make that tough decision. She’s a social worker at Rosener House, a day program for older adults. Florence has worked with aging adults and their families for the past 24 years, so she’s had experience with many different situations.
3 questions help you decide
When should a senior move to assisted living? It’s difficult to make a decision when there are so many conflicting thoughts and emotions. To make things more clear, focus on the most important considerations by asking yourself these 3 questions.
1. Is it increasingly difficult to provide hands-on care for your senior?
What started out as a manageable job could have slowly turned into something that one person can’t handle alone. The changes can creep up on you, but now is the time to take a fresh, honest look at your situation.
For example, if your older adult is now completely incontinent, that might be too much to handle at home. Or, if your senior needs significant help moving around, assisting them on your own could be dangerous, especially if you’re smaller in size. They could fall or you could get seriously injured.
2. Does your senior need specialized care?
If your older adult’s medical condition now requires specialized medical care or 24/7 supervision, you probably won’t be able to provide that care. You’re not a medical professional and it’s simply impossible for one person to be on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For example, if your senior’s dementia causes them to wander constantly (even at night), consider a memory care community where trained staff and a specially-designed environment can keep them safe at all hours. Or, if your older adult is bedridden and needs careful repositioning every hour to prevent pressure sores, 24/7 care at an assisted living community is a good option.
3. Do you feel resentful, emotionally drained, or chronically tired?
Caregiver stress and burnout is a very real thing. It negatively affects your quality of life today and your overall health in the long term.
Have you started hating your older adult, feeling overwhelming resentment, not liking who you’ve become, or disliking your own behavior? Those are all signs that it’s time to make a change. If you’re in such a negative place, it’s not possible to care for your senior in the calm and positive manner they need.
Benefits of assisted living
Everyone says they want to stay in their homes as they age, but it’s not always feasible. For the right situation, assisted living facilities or residential care homes can improve the quality of life for you and your older adult.
In addition to a higher level of care and a safer environment, your senior will have the chance be more social and interact with other people. You’ll also be able to go back to being their companion and advocate rather than being focused on their physical care.
You might also like:
— 4 Expert Tips for Seniors Moving to Assisted Living
— Senior Housing Experts Help Seniors Find the Perfect Place to Live
— 2 Ways to Manage Caregiver Emotional Stress: Tips from a Social Worker
Florence Marchick has a Master’s in Social Work. She has been working in the field since 1978. For the last 24 years, she has been working with older adults. She is currently the social worker at Rosener House Adult Day Services program in Menlo Park. This includes working with the families during the enrollment process, family counseling and running several support groups for caregivers. Rosener House offers an enriched therapeutic day program in a caring protective environment. Rosener House promotes independence and dignity for aging adults facing challenges and limitations, including Alzheimer’s, dementia, early memory loss, mild cognitive impairment, stroke, Parkinson’s, and other chronic conditions.
By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: Expert Beacon