The following is a guest post from Sandra Harris.
No one really wants to get old and reach the point where they can no longer care for themselves. But, as hard as it is on the older person, it’s just as hard on his or her family and loved ones who must make the often heart-wrenching decision to move their loved one to a residential care facility.
Knowing when the time has come to choose a residential care facility can be difficult. Start the process early before your loved one is even ready to make the move. Take the time necessary to research different residential care facilities, ensuring that you don’t pick the first place you see. Visit them. Talk to staff and, if you can, talk to residents. You and your loved one really need to get a feel for whether the facility is right for your family.
But, now that you have a better idea of where you want your loved one to live, how do you know when it’s time to make the move?
Sometimes it’s not possible for families to care for their loved ones because they live too far away. But, there comes a time when your loved one cannot care for himself anymore. He may be in denial that he is unable to care for himself, not wanting to admit he’s getting older and cannot do the things he once did.
Memory loss, an inability to or disinterest in caring for one’s personal hygiene, and forgetting or simply not taking necessary medications may all indicate your loved one is no longer capable of caring for himself without the kind of assistance a residential care facility can provide.
Other telltale signs typically include:
● Your loved one’s home – both inside and outside – isn’t as clean as it once was. Laundry may be piling up; the floors may be dirty, and the home may be in disarray.
● You start noticing bruises on your loved one, even though he tries to cover them up. Bruises could mean he is falling, which can be especially dangerous if he lives alone.
● Your loved one wears the same outfit every time you visit him.
Like countless adult children across the country and the world, you may be taking care of your loved one as he ages. But, depending on his health issues, he may need 24 hour care that you simply cannot provide him. It’s natural to feel guilty about considering moving a loved one to a residential care facility, but you may get to the point where you can no longer provide the level of care that is necessary for your loved one to live safely and comfortably or he simply cannot live alone any longer.
Talk with your loved one about your concerns. Giving up one’s independence isn’t easy, so be prepared to deal with arguments and resistance. Make sure your loved one is involved in the process of researching and looking at residential care facilities before the time comes to move to one, so he feels involved and knows what to expect.