By: Kristen Spencer, Geriatric Care Manager
St. Andrew’s Senior Solutions
The idea of aging usually includes living out one’s days carefree in his or her beloved home. Memory loss and other physical or mental conditions can alter this idea and, instead, include leaving the home and moving to a more structured and supervised facility. Knowing when to move a loved one out of the home can be unclear, but by addressing the psychological and social obstacles of moving, being proactive with a plan, knowing options, and having support, this transition can be less daunting.
There are several factors that lead to resistance about moving out of the home. Media depictions can provide an unpleasant picture of nursing homes. Spouses of loved ones feel like it is their marital duty to be the one to provide care. Children feel that, since their parents raised them, it is now their turn to take care of their parents. The loved one is not going to do well if the caregiver is struggling. Sometimes the best thing that a spouse or family member can do for a loved one is to find alternative living arrangements.
The loved one will more than likely not be the one to initiate moving to an assisted living or nursing home facility. Therefore, family members need to be proactive by making a plan ahead of time with the loved one before a crisis occurs or a mental or physical impairment gets worse. The family can have a discussion regarding their concerns and get the person’s input about what he or she wants while the loved one is still able to make decisions. Scheduling a tour of a facility where the family and loved one can both visit is another proactive tool.
An article from Chris Cooper, a financial planner, outlines reasons a loved one should move from the home:
- The loved one is no longer safe in his or her current residence.
- Emergency and crisis situations have arisen.
- Family members are not able to provide the necessary level of care.
- The current level of supervision and assistance is too great for a family member to provide.
Another crucial aspect is to know what options are available. If a loved one needs some extra care, this may not mean that they need to move right away. Several options are available, including in-home supportive services, adult day services, and home delivered meal programs. If a loved one has memory loss, contact your local Alzheimer’s Association. Another option is to find a geriatric care manager, who is an experienced, objective advocate who can work with the entire family to establish a plan that will address the issues and provide tailored resources and options.
To close, Cooper addresses final points about deciding to move a loved one:
- You are not alone. This is one of the hardest decisions to be made.
- There are no clear rights and wrongs when it comes to caring for someone.
- Caregiving does not end once you place a family member in a facility.
- Your adjustments to this decision is just as difficult as your family member’s adjustments.
If you would like more information, please contact Kristen Spencer, Geriatric Care Manager, at (314) 678-1903.
Cooper, C. (2010). When is it time to consider moving a family member with memory impairment? http://chriscooper.com/blog/191-when-is-it-time-to-consider-moving-a-family-member-with-memory-impairment.html.