Autumnaged Care

When A Loved One Goes Into Care: Addressing The Whole Family

Autumnaged Care

When A Loved One Goes Into Care: Addressing The Whole Family

It is very difficult to predict what or how we will be feeling when the hard decisions in life have to be made. Not until many of us are in the situation, of having to discuss and plan the possibility or necessity of putting our senior parents in full time care, does the scope hit us. Countless adult children have spoken of the significantly emotional journey of figuring out what is best for their parents and themselves. You are not alone in this struggle.

Peter Silin is a geriatric social worker who has been working in this field and has aided both potential residents and family members in this tricky time. He speaks into the myriad of emotions that grace our hearts, from guilt, responsibility, to anxiety and stress. From his experience, he believes that the whole situation must be addressed, from seniors parents to the adult children that are wondering what to do.

In a perfect world, we’d never have to make these decisions. We would be able to allow our parents to stay in their homes for as long as they wanted. We’d be able to increase the level of in-home care to meet their growing needs. Yet the price of in-home care makes this option inaccessible for so many. With around the clock help being unaffordable, the only other option has to be faced. However placing a parent in a residential aged care facility, especially if they’ve directly asked not to be can be a harrowing experience. People across the globe speak about the sadness, anxiety, grief, sense of loss, guilt and doubt that ricochet around their brains at this time.

Peter Silin has written about this time, for the whole family. If you or anyone in your family are in this position, it would be tremendously beneficial to give his blog a read.

To help you and your senior loved one go through the emotional process of thinking about, planning and moving into residential aged care as best as you can.

  1. Get as much done as you can as a family. Include your loved one in all the decisions about where, when, how and what. Having the move organised can go a long way toward helping everyone feel most at ease. This might entail deciding which clothes, furniture and knick-knacks they want to take into their new room and boxing it all up nicely (with labels!)
  2. Go with your loved one on a ‘soft’ visit to their new home before they move in. Find out the nurses and staff who will be working with your loved one and facilitate a casual introduction and interaction.
  3. Find a new doctor that is close to where they will be residing, either one from in the facility or close by. Start this process with enough lead time so that they can get comfortable with their new doctor.
  4. Create a care plan for yourself. Know that looking after yourself is not only necessary it will also help you put your best foot forward in the decision making and moving time. Have afternoons where you aren’t thinking about the move or the need to move. Have someone to talk to and realise that this time will bring on inevitable stress and you have the right to decompress in a way that suits you.
  5. Self-talk. Self-talk as much as you need. Tell yourself that it will eventually get easier and the stress will subside.
  6. As concerns or stresses arise, start writing lists. Getting everything out on paper can be a huge help. Categorise the lists, one for questions about the residence and the second one for concerns regarding your loved one. By having it all down on paper your mind can be freed from some of the busy-ness going on. You can deliberate on how to address the concerns and get prepped to face them.

Peter has many more approaches that are helpful in how to make sure you and your senior loved one can manage and cope in this time of change.

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