Transitions in Senior Life
Transitions in living situations are challenging at any stage of life but are especially tough on seniors due to the state of their physical, emotional, and cognitive health. A big change for someone in their 40s is a speed bump in life. For seniors, a big change can be traumatic. After a lifetime of working hard, seniors often feel out of control and fearful as they start to lose their independence. A lot is at stake for everyone involved and seniors need tremendous support in making the right decision. Consider these scenarios:
#1: The senior stays at home with homecare services
The homecare option allows the senior to “age in place” and provides tremendous flexibility. When deciding between privately hired help vs. a home care agency, consider the following:
- A privately hired individual does not go through the stringent hiring process a good agency requires. Agencies must adhere to state and federal regulations (annual criminal checks among others) to ensure the safety of the clients
- Although the cost of a homecare agency is higher than privately hired help, the risk of the senior getting sued is removed if the caregiver gets hurt on the job
- Hours can be increased or decreased anytime
- The senior will receive individualized care based on their needs and interests
- Perhaps the best part of great homecare is the companionship the senior will enjoy
Typically, after the initial resistance wears off, seniors wonder why they didn’t set this up earlier. The article "Choosing a Homecare Agency with Confidence" published in WISER LIVING Winter/Spring 2014 provides a comprehensive list to use when comparing agencies. To see the article, call us at 603-483-8999 and we will send you a free electronic copy.
#2: The senior needs to move into a facility
Senior living facilities range from independent living, assisted living, skilled care, continuing care, and memory impairment properties. Our best advice is to do your homework NOW and be PROACTIVE.
When choosing a “new home”, narrow down your choices down by determining what level of care is needed, whether the facility is close enough for loved ones to visit, and all the costs. Next, just "show up" unannounced at the facilities being considered. See the place in action. Talk to the staff and see for yourself who will be in the trenches with your senior. How does the place feel, look, smell? This will tell you a lot about the quality of life the residents have. Ask to see the menu plan, the activity plan, and research whether the facility has any reported deficiencies. When you find one you like, get on the waiting list. Due to the boom in population, often desirable facilities have a waitlist.
If the senior has been receiving homecare services, but facility placement is necessary, homecare caregivers can transition with them. Caregivers can be an emotional buffer during such a radical transition especially in the absence of family. Visits can be scaled back until the senior is fully integrated. Or, caregiver visits can continue, giving seniors an opportunity to leave the facility for a change of pace or to visit favorite places with their trusted caregiver.
If you are overwhelmed with this process and need help, consider working with a professional. For more information, contact Debra Desrosiers, CSA, CADC, and Owner/Director of Visiting Angels of Auburn NH at 603-483-8999.