The Tough Question: Move In With Your Aging Parent?
We hope you are enjoying the beginning of spring and this time of renewal. Mikol and I have recently moved our offices to new, brighter and better space and we’re feeling very renewed! Wouldn’t you agree that there is nothing like disposing of junk and unwanted items to give you that free feeling?
So, here’s a situation to share with some of you who may be wondering about your own aging parents.
It comes up here a lot at AgingParents.com. This could be you!
Victoria has had a struggle with deciding how to best care for her Dad, 86. She moved him from his home to assisted living, but she’s beginning to think that was a mistake.
Over the last six months, there have been numerous errors at the assisted living facility. Dad is spending $7500 a month there. First they got his medication mixed up and created a mess. Then, they sent Dad to the wrong doctor. Finally, Dad fell and they called 911, but “forgot” to tell the paramedics about the fall. He went to the emergency room for what was reported as “the flu”.
They’re supposed to check him out all over and take x-rays. As the ER folks didn’t know about a fall, they did none of that. He was released. It was lucky he had no fractures. They would have missed them entirely.
Now she is asking herself: should I move in with him and take care of him myself, with helpers at his home? When dad was cared for at home before, she didn’t live nearby. Now, she has moved back to dad’s home area.
Victoria is tired of getting upset with the assisted living staff. Frustration is at the breaking point.
The main reason Victoria moved dad to assisted living was for socialization. That’s not working. He spends a lot of time in his room alone.
Now she needs to look within. Is she willing to undertake the daunting task of caring for dad as his dementia advances and he may become more of a behavior problem? Will caregivers at home solve the problem, or will he be still too isolated there, even if she is with him in the evenings?
At AgingParents.com, we come across this question often.The concept of assisted living works very well for some people, particularly those who are able and willing to interact with others. It can facilitate friendships, offer activities, balanced meals and transportation to various things like doctor’s appointments. We went over the pros and cons with Victoria. One option was to try a different assisted living facility.
But, things can go wrong at assisted living too. There is no direct nursing care, even if a nurse is on staff to supervise the caregivers. The assisted living facility license does not permit “nursing care” from its employees. Perhaps Victoria’s dad needs more care than he is getting there. If Victoria is available to supervise the at-home caregivers on a daily basis, she can be assured of what is going on and she can stop the mistakes the facility keeps making.
After two sessions and a lot of discussion, Victoria did decide to move dad back to his house and to hire caregivers through an agency to care for him during the day. She’ll move back into his house with her husband and supervise the care. We advised her to supplement his care with adult day services, which will be a place to go for social connections, activities and some meals. The total cost for the caregivers at home and adult day services is about the same as assisted living, but Victoria will have much more control.
If this scenario could be about you and your aging parent, consider how Victoria is getting through it. She tried her options. She sought professional advice when one option did not work. She has been careful in considering the personal price of caring for dad herself. She is supplementing her home care plans with using adult day services to get dad out of the house every week. She is at peace with her choice.
We say, kudos to Victoria. She is working at the job of caring for aging parents in a very intelligent and well thought out way. We wish for you the same peace of mind, whether you move a parent in with you, choose a care facility, or some combination of help.
If the decision-making is making you crazy and you don’t know where to turn, consider getting a free complimentary strategy session at AgingParents.com. It’s a start.
Meanwhile, we both send you our best.
Until next time,
Carolyn Rosenblatt and Mikol Davis,