It’s common for families to struggle with making the decision to move an aging loved one to a facility. As a case manager who has helped hundreds of families over the years, I understand the uncertainty, grief, and even guilt that family members feel. They often wonder if they could have done more, even when it’s clear to an objective professional such as myself that in-home caregiving is not enough. Here are some of the signs to look out for:
- When your loved one has increasing difficulty with dressing, bathing, managing medications, preparing food, and other activities of daily living. There may come a time when in-home services are just not sufficient and the person needs 24/7 care.
- Frequent accidents, falls, and injuries. If the aging adult is frail, falls and injuries are more likely.
- Inability to take care of bills and financial matters. Warning signs are piles of unopened mail, overdue bill notices, and neglect of finances.
- Chronic health conditions are getting worse and harder to control. Dementia, COPD, congestive heart failure, diabetes, kidney disease, and other disorders may make it impossible for the person to live safely at home.
- Social isolation. There may be a number of reasons for social isolation, including mobility and transportation issues and medical conditions. But a lack of social connections can lead to loneliness and depression. Loneliness is not just psychologically painful; it is also linked to higher mortality rates.
Often families worry that their loved one will have a hard time adjusting to a new environment. However, “aging at home” is not all it’s cracked up to be. The daily routines and opportunities for socialization at a facility can greatly improve the quality of life for a senior who has been languishing at home.
Planning ahead and visiting facilities can ease the process. I assist families with choosing an appropriate facility that will meet the needs of their loved one, guide them through the paperwork process, and monitor how the person is doing after the transition. Once their loved one settles in, it’s not unusual to see the person thrive and the family regains their peace of mind, knowing their loved one is in the right place and receiving proper care.
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