(Note: For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to use “her” to describe your loved one, but, men need this type of care as well.)
You’ve gotten the call that Mom is in the hospital. Up until now, you had thought that everything was fine. But, the doctors are telling you that she’s got too many health problems to live on her own. She probably needs to move into some sort of retirement community, and it’s your job to find one. What do you do?
Here’s where to start:
- Get good medical information. In these situations, knowledge is power. The more you know about your loved one’s health status and potential for recovery, the better prepared you’ll be to help care for her needs. Have a meeting with the doctor and ask frank questions about what is going to happen and how to best prepare for it.
- Be realistic. It’s going to be tempting to pretend that the doctors don’t know everything. After all, your mom isn’t the type of person who has medical problems or needs care! The problem with that line of thinking is that as people get older, things change. If you really want to help your loved one, then you owe it to them to be honest with yourself regarding their needs.
- Even if things are fine right now, plan for problems. We tend to put off making big decisions because it’s overwhelming to think about moving a person out of her home. However, now is the best time to make a plan. Try to find one or two communities that offer assisted living, memory care, or nursing (depending on your loved one’s needs). Make sure to tour the community and check their ratings online. Keep in touch with the admissions coordinators, since they’ll be invaluable during the move to senior housing.
- Expect pushback. Often times, the patient doesn’t want to admit that there’s a problem. After all, they’ve been independent for the last 50 years. Why do they need care now?! Be prepared for arguments regarding care, and don’t be offended if they accuse you of not having their best interests in mind. Be patient, and try not to engage in direct conflict. If you need help, find a counselor who has worked with caregivers before.
Managing someone else’s care isn’t easy, but handling just one thing at a time can make it less intimidating.
This post was made possible by Churchill Estates, a luxury independent living community located in Dallas, Texas.