When Is It Time To Get Care For Your Elderly Loved One?
Updated: Mar 14
When thinking of healthy, happy aging, most people picture themselves aging in place.
Their goal, most likely, is to stay in their home, in their familiar environment where they
have made their life’s memories, surrounded by their collected belongings, the small
conveniences of systems they’ve created within their rooms, and ideally, close to their
loved ones and the neighbors they’ve come to know in their community. As Geriatric Care
Managers, we are often brought into families where a recent accident, a fall, memory
problems, or health decline has put an elder at a crossroads. They have to determine
whether they can make certain changes to continue to live in the same space or they must move to a live-in facility.
At times, the changes a family is concerned about can be relatively minor: an older parent or loved one who has developed symptoms of dementia, for example, may now need more assistance with home maintenance, preparing food, transportation, and remembering to make their appointments. In such cases, a geriatric care management team can be a great resource to learn about different in-home care options, accessibility, pricing, coverage, and availability. Upon consulting with an experienced care provider, many families get a much better idea of the cost of care and the hours needed. Some cases will only require a couple of hours of hired care a day a few days a week and at times, a family may opt to have a geriatric care manager on call for cases of emergencies or for simple check-ins and consultation services.
When more serious assistance is required, the possibility of aging in place will highly
depend on the quality of the plan of action laid out for care. For certain older adults, this
entails hiring a more extensive network of services that can include cleaners, meal delivery services, and handiwork services to redesign aspects of one’s home to make it more accessible and less hazardous. Geriatric care management teams can be a trusted source of referrals for such services and can help plan out the logistics and resources around hiring them in order for the older adult to receive care when, how, and by whom they choose.
For many families, aging in place stops making sense on a practical and financial level
when the older adult’s mental or physical well-being deteriorates to the point of needing
more constant assistance at home. Many family members and friends can be of great help in providing informal assistance and filling in the gaps in services, but when being alone poses a danger to the older person and they find themselves at significant risk of fall, injury, or wandering, a geriatric care manager may facilitate a meeting to discuss different options for moving to a safer place where a client would be looked after.
Many elderly people are resistant to the idea of aging in a home, but learning about all the different options and what each facility has to offer can lead to a change in perspective. Between assisted living, board and care homes, retirement communities, and independent living facilities, there is something for everyone so that your elderly loved one does not end up somewhere where they are unhappy or uncomfortable. Additionally, having the advocacy and support of a geriatric care management team through this transition plays a big role in putting your and your loved one’s minds at ease: they can walk you through the process and handle logistical steps, expertly answer your questions, and refer you to a place that is up to your older loved one’s standards.
Senior Steps offers FREE consultation calls every day. You can also reach out to us directly on our website to schedule a virtual or in-person evaluation.