Peggy was distraught when she called me. “The doctor says that Mom’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse and she really shouldn’t be living at home anymore. You know how I feel about that.”
I’d been working with Peggy and her mother for nearly a year, and we’d gradually increased the hours of in-home services her mother had been receiving. But it had become clear to me that Peggy’s mother would soon need 24-hour supervision. She was becoming more agitated as the disease progressed, and she’d begun to wander as well.
“I promised Mom I would never put her in a facility,” Peggy had said to me, every time I brought up the subject. “Case closed. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep her at home.”
The problem was, this was a promise that Peggy had made long before her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and long before her mother’s health had deteriorated. Besides Alzheimer’s disease, her mother had COPD and a heart condition. She was frail and it was a challenge for the aide to get her to take her medications, and even to eat. Caring for her mother wasn’t an option for Peggy, who worked full-time, and it wasn’t financially possible for her to hire help around the clock.
Now that her mother’s doctor had expressed his opinion, Peggy realized she had to re-think her position. I gently reminded her that while she had made this promise with the best of intentions, it was time to consider what was actually best for her mother. Peggy’s view of memory care units and nursing homes was very negative and one-sided, but she finally agreed she would visit a couple of facilities with me. After the visits she felt more comfortable, and soon got her mother on a waiting list.
I reminded her of the benefits to her mother: once her mother adjusted to the new environment, she would likely thrive on the routine and on socialization with other residents. At home mostly alone, she didn’t have any social outlets. Second, the facility would offer 24/7 supervision. Their staff was trained to work with residents who had Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Finally, Peggy could rest easy knowing that I would continue to monitor her mother’s situation and be her advocate, participate in care planning, and keep Peggy in the loop.
Are you in a similar situation? Do you have questions about the next steps if a loved one can’t live alone? A case manager can help you sort through the options and make informed decisions.
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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