Sunday, April 19, 2009

Caregiving placements

Caregiving options and placements abound for seniors:
  • provide extra support in the senior's home (live in care)
  • move them into your home
  • find a retirement home
  • find a supportive living residence
  • a long-term care (LTC) home

A big decision many adult children have to make is whether to care for an ailing senior in your own home, it that is an option, or to find more help in their own home. If a senior is in a retirement home there may come a time when they need more nursing care than is available in a retirement home. This was our case.

My mother died at home. She was adamant. My regret was that we did not get enough home care (help with housekeeping, etc). I did not know how to get more help. CCAC is limited in the amount of time and the level of support. My mother, in palliative condition, was only given 4 hours per day. This is not unusual. We did not have enough information and hospice groups can provide this information and advice and support.

My father we moved into a retirement home. He was becoming increasingly unable to manage his ADLs: he confused his pills, fretted over them, could not cook for himself, and I worked full-time. He was becoming increasingly frail and his arthritis in his knees prevented him from walking. He ended up using a walker.

Eventually, as the brain tumour began to grow and take away his cognitive abilities even further, dementia set in. He became irritable, angry, afraid, and his inhibitions were reduced as the tumour ate away at his brain cells.

For-profit and non profit LTC centres are subsidized by the government for seniors and those who require nursing-type care. We chose to put my father in a private room in LTC, since he was agitated, didn't sleep in the night, and tended to be loud (he sang ALL the time!).

He was unable to manage to make simple things function (phone, TV clicker) and phoned us at all hours. At this point, we hired an extra caregiver in his retirement home during his Sundowner hours. The Red Cross sent someone to sit with him while the staff person was going around delivering medications. This really helped.

Eventually, however, we had to move him into LTC when he was no longer able to walk, communicate, use the bathroom independently, dress or groom himself. This is a big decision and one not to be taken lightly. But we were unable to manage him. It may come upon a time when you face this decision. You are not alone. Check some of the links on the left to find support. By all means, find a caregiver support group by googling and adding your city or town. There is help out there.

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