Triggers that will generate a change from independent living:
- loss of mobility, even if it is temporary, it will trigger vulnerability and dependency issues. It may create a lack of confidence
- diagnosis with a progressive disease, increased dependency on adult children
- sudden illness of a spouse
- death of a spouse, loneliness, depression, possible social isolation
- catastrophic illness, unable to direct their own care, sudden loss of independence, sudden dependency on adult children
How do I start a plan: how do I maneuver through the maze of health care?
- define what needs to be done immediately – crisis management, home care, community support services
- who needs care
- what kind of care
- who will do the care
- where will the care be done
- when will it begin,
- who will co-ordinate the care
2. planning: things have changed
- initial crisis is over, now what?
- Health status may have changed - where do I go from here?
- Get some expertise
- Know your choices
- Establish the Needs and Wants
- Establish Budget
- Have a plan, establish timelines
Changes in living arrangements can be difficult. The following are signs that a change might be appropriate.
- Unkempt home and laundry or dishes piling up
- Blackened pots or other damage to living environment
- Unopened bills and other mail
- Unexplained weight loss
- Bruises or other signs of trauma from falls or difficulty navigating around the house
- Change in communication quality or frequency
If you’re having concern for their well-being, they probably need some help.
Talking to family about seniors’ housing and living arrangements can be a sensitive topic. Family members often experience guilt, anger and sadness, while the elderly loved one may experience loss of autonomy, loss of privacy and feelings of helplessness.
How the discussion is handled can make a huge difference to the outcome.
- Plan ahead - discussing senior housing options with family member will be much easier if some thought has already been put into it.
- Involve the elderly loved one and focus on comfort and safety
- Designate one family member as the 'point person' for the discussions and for follow-up action that needs to be taken, if any.
- It may help to bring an objective third party into the discussion to moderate - a health care professional, a religious figure or a community care case worker.
- Consider short-term respite, overnight trial stays at a retirement homes or retirement community that are of interest, as a way to “test the waters”.
- Discuss palliative care and hospice care to determine the loved ones wishes
- Include a discussion on continuing care that includes long term care homes and solutions
Keep emotion out of the process as much as possible. Stick to facts and practicalities.