Getting to agree on the best steps to take regarding care for a loved one.
The majority of our clients are really the adult children of the client. In some of our cases, our client is actually the daughter in law. When deciding on what is the best route to take regarding care, family dynamics and sibling rivalry can make it very difficult to come to agreement on just what is the most appropriate care for mom or dad. To further add to the difficulty in deciding what’s best, it normally falls to just one person to organize and take responsibility for the care. This can be due to circumstance and proximity. This person might be feeling overwhelmed and even have a sense of being somewhat exploited. For the others who are not involved directly in the care their might be a certain amount of guilt and denial.
All in all it is difficult to be truly objective regarding what’s best for the loved one.
Getting a third party involved can instantly remove many of the barriers to making the right decision. This can be the family doctor – especially a doctor that has had a long interaction with the family. The doctor is a trusted outside third party and can explain the situation in an unemotional and objective manner. The doctor will talk about, amongst other things, the loved ones decline in health. This can be a decline in both physical and mental health. This can be very difficult for everyone to hear and bear. The families’ future next steps will be made much more successful if everyone can get on the “same page”.
This is a time of great stress which sometimes leads to old resentments creeping in. Everyone should try and focus on the facts of the current situation. Mom has fallen or has bruises. Mom doesn’t remember eating, is suffering memory loss. There is confusion, poor judgment, unpaid bills etc. Once there is consensus on the true situation and all agree that it is no longer a safe situation then the decisions regarding care can take place.
The two main choices are either mom stays home with help or needs to move to a facility. The great majority of people would prefer to remain in their own homes. If the finances allow doing so, an outside agency such as Thrive at Home can be brought in to help. The agency will make every attempt to match the “right” caregiver to the loved ones personality and the family dynamic. Another consideration is what can be done to get the house refitted to increase safety e.g. grab bars in the bathrooms, improved lighting, clutter removal etc. The caregiver who is usually a certified nursing assistant is trained to not only provide care but also to watch for changes in health over time. This will provide the whole family with updates. Having an unrelated caregiver will relieve much of the burden from both the previously responsible sibling as well as the other family members. The caregiver acts as an objective sounding board. This can be very beneficial as the family tries to navigate around these difficult waters.