Helping loved ones face the struggles of old age is a very difficult situation. First and foremost, you always want them to be safe and healthy, but you also want to let them stay in the familiar surroundings of the home they may have occupied for decades. It is an issue that involves both emotions and finances, making it twice as hard to deal with.
The best time to discuss this situation with aging parents or other loved ones is long before it’s necessary. It can be a difficult conversation to start, but once you get them to open up, they can be very clear with their wishes. From there, you must work together to formulate a plan to provide for their care as they need more assistance.
There are three general ways they can choose to receive care. The first would be to let them stay in their own home and provide care there. The second would be to move in with you or with other family members, and the third would be to make the transition into an assisted-living facility.
Each of those options has its relative advantages and disadvantages. You’ll need to weigh them with your family member before making a decision.
Staying At Home
This is often the most affordable option, even when 24-hour assistance is required. Should that be the case, most families will find the cost considerably lower to provide support staff than to move to a nursing home. It can be cheaper still if family members can set up a schedule to stay with the seniors, even if it’s just part of the time.
The home may require some modifications, which can be done by a construction pro. If mobility has declined, it may be simply a matter of building a few ramps, adding some handrails, and getting stair chair lifts installed.
With the support of a home health agency and volunteers, you can put off the move to a nursing home facility.
Staying With Family
This is the second-best choice for many families. If the senior can’t stay in their own home and meet his or her own ADLs or activities for daily living, another option is to stay with loved ones. This represents an acceptable compromise when staying in their own home isn’t possible.
However, this type of move still represents a big adjustment. The senior may have to move a great distance, creating concerns about moving and storing their belongings as well as about what to do with the house. If selling it is not an option, there will be some expense and effort involved in securing and maintaining it.
Otherwise, this can be a very positive option. The home may require some of the same modifications we noted earlier, but beyond that, the transition can be fairly smooth.
Assisted Living Or Skilled Nursing
This final option is best for seniors who require either some or full skilled health care around the clock. This could be as simple as assistance with bathing and eating, and additional physical therapy. A skilled nursing facility is a good option for patients who may be recovering from strokes or more serious injuries such as hip fractures. In some cases, it can also be a good long-term solution.
It is a step that takes some preparation. There are insurance and estate considerations to review, and the change in location can be traumatic for the senior. The family will also need to make plans about the patient’s home and belongings, especially since such facilities have limited space.
Making plans for the care of an aging family member can be a difficult and confusing process. It’s important to discuss options with these loved ones and get a DPOA in place before decisions must be made.