Last Updated 6.12.2017
Unfortunately, wisdom isn't the only thing that aging brings. It also brings challenges that can sometimes make staying in a cherished home difficult, if not impossible. When a person faces these challenges, knowing where they need to live is not easy to decipher.
As a director for an agency whose mission it is to help seniors stay in their homes for as long as possible, I know that sometimes, despite valiant efforts, the decision to move a person into a setting that is better equipped to meet their needs has to be made.
On many occasions it is not the senior, but rather a family member, who is making the decision to move a senior from the home where they have created so many memories. This is certainly not an easy decision for the caregiver, particularly when they have made a promise to “never put them in a home.”
The decision for a person to move out of their home and into another setting will never be an easy one, but it can be made less difficult.
Planning Is Crucial
As with many things in life, things usually go much smoother when you plan and do your research. Plan, plan, plan—it can't be said enough. Although we may joke about getting older, very few of us actually plan on it happening.
Advancing age is similar to a hurricane. I live in Florida, where we experience these devastating storms. It is remarkable how many people fail to prepare for these events. The main distinction between hurricanes and aging, though, is that the latter affects everyone. Planning ahead ensures you’ll be better prepared to face some inevitable decisions.
Understand Your Options
One of the greatest fears expressed by the elderly is placement in a nursing home facility. It is not uncommon to hear, “I don't want to end up in a nursing home” or “promise me you won't put me in a nursing home.” People tend to believe that nursing homes are the only option for seniors when they can no longer safely remain in their own residences. The reality could not be further from the truth.
Senior living options grow and evolve every year. The first part of planning for an alternate living situation is to become aware of the various possibilities available in your community. Terminology may commonly include assisted living facilities, family group homes, independent senior living communities, skilled nursing facilities, in-home care, intentional communities, and continuing care retirement communities.
The second key component is understanding that individuals have different needs, and eligibility for certain living options is dependent upon those needs. Senior living options are not “one size fits all.” Take an honest look at your loved one's medical conditions and care requirements so that you will have a clearer idea of which levels of care would be the best fit for them.
The third part of planning is researching each type of facility. There are several things to bear in mind when conducting this research. Caregivers must understand the concept of “least restrictive setting.” The least restrictive setting is the one where a person maintains as much of their independence as possible. A person's own home would be the least restrictive setting possible, whereas a skilled nursing facility would be considered the most restrictive setting.
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