Transitioning to Long-Term Care

Often, people that have taken the responsibility of caring for someone with mind altering diseases such as dementia or Alzheimers, have come to the realization that the ones in their care require more care than they can provide.  Trying to find a facility to care for them can be an overwhelming task.  Below are some tips to help make the process smoother:

Be sure to do your research.  Be sure that you are satisfied that the facility you choose will give the best possible care to your loved one.  Do they have specialized services for persons with dementia?  All states have agencies that regulate such facilities, and they usually have a website that provides reviews and rankings for each one.

Be aware of your own emotions at this time.  Your loved one will most likely be a bit overwhelmed by his new surroundings, and the presence of so many strangers.  Try to keep calm, yourself, and take time to reassure him that he will soon adjust to things, and that you will be there often to visit.  Keep in mind that these feelings will most likely subside after a short time, and your loved one will soon feel at home there.

Share what you know.  Be sure to tell the facility staff what you know about your loved one.  You’ve spent a lot of time with her, be sure that others benefit from your insight.  Does she like to eat peanut butter on her toast in the morning?  Is she especially frightened of thunderstorms?  Does she often wake up in the night to go for a walk?

Talk to your loved one.  How much you tell your loved one about where he is going is something that only you can decide.  How much he is able to understand, or how he’ll accept the news, can vary widely from person to person.  It may help to start talking about the move a few weeks before it happens, gradually helping him become accustomed to the idea and perhaps help plan for it.  Or it may be kinder to wait until the day of the move, so that he doesn’t exhaust himself with worry.  Allow him to express his concerns and his fears, and reassure him that this will be a good experience and that you will continue to be an active part of his life.

Help set up the room.  If possible, move some of your loved one’s things into her room before she arrives.  It will help her adjust to her new surroundings if her favorite quilt is on the bed or her late husband’s photograph is hung in a place of honor.  Allow her to bring some familiar items, perhaps even furniture, but nothing that can be misplaced or broken.

Be sure to accompany your loved one when he arrives.  When the time comes for the actual move, be right there to offer comfort and companionship as needed.  Perhaps you can stay for the day, and have dinner with him.  Take a walk around the facility and see what’s there.  When it’s time for you to go, offer reassurances that you will return (and perhaps tell him when).

Check in regularly.  Talk to the facility staff on a regular basis to see how your loved one is settling in. Visit as often as you can.  Perhaps bring some of her favorite cookies, or plan to come during one of the facility’s activities.

Be good to yourself.  Don’t tell yourself that you’re letting your loved one down by placing them in a residential facility.  Instead, reassure yourself that you’re ensuring that he gets the best possible care.  Treat yourself to some tender loving care, and tap into your own support system for emotional comfort.  Speak to others who have been in your place.

Another option is to look into non-medical home care or you can supplement facility care with non-medical care.  Caregivers come to the person in need and helps with daily living tasks, such as meal preparation, light house keeping, companionship, etc.  At Home Instead Senior Care we strive to provide quality care with our highly trained CAREGivers.  Please call us at 360-782-4663 for more information.

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