Terry and her brother Mike were trying hard to keep their mom, Louise, at home. At age 87, Louise had been diagnosed with moderately severe Alzheimer’s disease. She was at the stage where she needed assistance dressing, bathing, eating, and going to the bathroom, and she couldn’t be left alone.
As Louise’s care manager, I had helped to locate in-home care for her during the day, and Terry and Mike took turns staying with their mother at night. Seeing the mental and physical toll it was taking on them both over time, I had recommended they consider placing their mother in a memory care unit. They were both hesitant to take that step.
Things came to a head one night when Louise unlocked the front door and left the house in the middle of the night. She almost made it down the street in her nightgown before Mike woke up and realized she was gone. The wandering had started weeks earlier, and Louise had been getting more agitated and restless in the evenings. Terry and Mike called me the next day and we talked some more about placement.
“But won’t Mom be more comfortable in her own home?” Terry asked. “What if she doesn’t adjust to a new place?”
“Well, actually, in my experience the sooner people move into a facility before the disease progresses too much, the better they adjust,” I gently explained. “There’s routine and structure –as well as opportunities to socialize.” In fact, there were many times that I saw seniors with dementia function at a higher level in a facility than they had at home. And with Louise, the reality was the disease was progressing. Her care was becoming too much for Terry and Mike to handle…even with in-home assistance.
“How about if we tour some facilities so you can check things out for yourself?” I suggested to the two. They readily agreed, and we made appointments that week. Terry and Mike had concerns about COVID-19, and we asked many questions at each facility as to how they were handling the pandemic and keeping the environment as safe as possible for residents.
It wasn’t an easy decision – it seldom is – but Terry and Mike agreed their mother needed this level of care, and they began the paperwork process.
“Will you help us make sure she’s doing all right?” they asked me, and I said I would.
Weeks later after their mother had moved in, they were both pleasantly surprised that she was doing quite well.
It isn’t unusual for families to resist the idea of placing their loved one in a facility, and the pandemic makes things even more difficult. As a care manager well-acquainted with these kinds of situations, I can help families weigh the pros and cons and make a decision that’s best for everyone involved.
Senior Transitions helps families with aging parents or grandparents to find the best life possible care options and help the aging family members live with independence. There are many care options and each individual is unique. We have been providing services in the Tallahassee area for over 30 years.
If you would like to find out more about how we can help your family, please contact us:
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