Many of the clients we meet with have been or currently are caregivers for their senior loved ones. Whether they are providing hands-on care in the home and managing medications or paying the bills and maintaining the household, this is a constant responsibility. Even if the aging adult lives independently or in the child’s home, the caregiver is likely to be working twenty-four hours a day to make sure their aging loved one is provided for.
There may come a time, however, when the care that the parent or grandparent needs cannot be provided in the home. In this instance, both parent and child may turn to community alternatives such as health care in the home or placement in a long-term care facility. The latter choice, while difficult to make, provides a setting that oftentimes provides more of the necessary care.
Whether in an assisted living facility or a skilled nursing facility, there are a myriad of options designed to meet the needs of the older adult.
Simply because the care has moved outside the home, however, does not mean the care responsibilities have ended. Instead, they have evolved. The primary caregiver of the senior will now find him or herself stepping into a new role to ensure the aging loved one has the support he or she needs in this different environment. This can be a difficult change to make and we want to share with you three tips and ideas on how to care for your loved ones when they enter into a facility this National Elder Law Month.
1. Attend care meetings
When your loved one enters the long-term care facility a care plan will be created for him or her. You want to be a part of the process that develops this plan. After all, you have the most insight into your aging loved one’s likes and dislikes. You also know his or her limitations that may have been the direct cause of needing to move into the long-term care facility.
2. Make unexpected visits
Although you may want to set a routine, such as having lunch with mom every week day, do not hesitate to add in the unexpected visits as well. Think of it this way: When you have company in your home, don’t you always make sure it is clean, well ordered, and that everyone is on their best behavior? The long-term care facility is no different. They want to be their best for you. What you want is the truth or, in other words, how things operate on a daily basis when you are not expected.
3. Take action when things change
When caring for an aging loved one, things can change overnight. Whether it is a new health diagnosis, a crisis, or a change to medications, you need to make sure this is addressed. You also want to take action should you determine a shift in your loved one’s mood or discover physical issues, such as unexpected bruising. Do not wait to take action but obtain the help you need immediately.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. It is never easy to have a loved one in a long-term care facility but there may come a time when it is necessary. Be sure to be the best advocate you can be, inside or outside a facility and do not wait to ask us your questions. We are here for you as resource and look forward to discussing your questions in a meeting with our law firm.