As a caregiver who has been the primary decision maker for someone else’s health care for the past several years from over 1,000 miles away, I understand how difficult juggling 2 households can be. Even more difficult is making the decision that it is time your loved one no longer lives alone or possibly no longer in their home of decades. If you are in this situation, there are some steps that you can take to make this process less painful and more of a gentle transition for everyone.
Making the Tough Decisions
The most important aspect of making the tough decisions regarding caring for someone else is understanding all of the facts as you place yourself in the perspective of your charge. Before you can make a quality care decision you need to verify with your patient’s doctors that you do indeed understand all of the health concerns involved in order to choose a care option that provides all of the assistance needed. Different needs may not require as much assistance. Such as:
- Medicine Assistance – If the patient is simply having difficulty remembering things like taking their medicine and eating, in-home out-patient care that comes by once or twice per day (as needed) and makes sure the patient is fed and given the appropriate medications is an option. This ensures the proper doses are taken without taking away all of the patient’s independence. This can be an expensive option, unless you have family members willing and able to take on this responsibility.
- Domestic and Hygiene Assistance – This type of assistance may require a more live-in arrangement than the previous category. This type of help includes housekeeping, food prep, medicine assistance, and help with bathing, hair washing, grooming, and getting dressed.
- Transportation Assistance – For many people over a certain age, taking care of themselves at home is manageable. It is the task of going to doctor’s appointments and running everyday errands that become an issue as eyesight and balance deteriorate with age. For this you may want to arrange a car service of some kind to provide your family member with the independence they deserve without your being on-call or their feeling like a burden.
Assisted Care Options
- In Home Care – In home care can be provided by an outside source which can be pricey and leave care concerns, or by a trusted family member moving in for the period needed for the sole purpose of taking care of the loved-one and their daily tasks.
- Assisted Living Facility – At an assisted living facility there are a variety of levels of independence from individual apartments to communal living arrangements. Make sure any facilities you look at are clean, reputable, secure, and willing to provide references. Verify that they offer the types of care that your loved one currently needs as well as those future needs that may arise to avoid additional trauma from having to move them a second or third time.
- Living with Family – Sometimes the easiest solution is to move the patient into your home. This not only provides you with back-up help from the rest of your household, it also minimizes the fear factor for your loved one as they are moving into a familiar environment instead of a strange situation.
One of the primary concerns besides the fear of losing their independence is not knowing where their belongings will land after all the years of accumulating and cultivated over their life time. Here are a couple of techniques to deal with these concerns.
- Not Wanting to Part with their Belongings – Use this opportunity to purge old broken or unwanted items and place the belongings that will not fit in their new home into a mini storage unit close to their new residence.
- Unwillingness to Sell Home – Transition the property into a rental property for the short term until the person can either move back into it, has passed, or is ready to sell. This provides you with the argument that they will be using their long-time home as an investment property while they are being cared for.
It is important to remember while managing your way through these difficult and painful times, that your loved one is not angry at you. They are angry at their loss of control and sudden dependency on others. Remembering this will help you through many difficult conversations and the decision-making process.
Then, when you are ready to make the move, contact one of the knowledgeable and friendly staff at Browning Park Mini Storage for all of your storage needs.