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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Swan

Helping a Loved One Adjust to Assisted Living

Why Your Loved One Needs to Adjust to Assisted Living Before You Think It’s Time

So many families say “We want to keep mom at home as long as possible.” Here’s why this is the wrong approach…

If you wait too long, your parent will end up feeling lost and confused with their surroundings. They will feel isolated, due to simply not knowing anyone, and not having the wherewithal to make those relationships independently. A story of one of our dear friends came to my attention. This woman, we will call Cindy, was placed in a living facility after she had gone blind. Her family, with the best of intentions, wanted to keep her at home for as long as possible, until they could no longer give her the best level of care. They picked the best arrangement available, and went about thinking this was the best thing. Cindy, on the other hand, was unable to move about anywhere beyond the confines of her room. She never participated in any of the group activities, or even left her room to find the dining room. She was completely isolated, without socialization for over a year.

On another side is full care. With full care, a person is tending almost constantly, from meals to showers. Slowly introducing such personal care is key. One example, a man we will call Steve, required help with his daily routine late into his cognitive decline. One day, a great caregiver came in to help Steve shower. Steve freaked out. He was confused, agitated, and had no way of conveying these emotions to his family members. Before these simple tasks become events, it’s best to introduce them slowly.

Here’s some tips we have gathered that may have avoided Cindy and Steve’s confusion:

Attend social activities in your care community of choice. Get familiar with the building, and people while your loved one has time to adjust.

Use “Adult Daycare” and/or weekend sleepovers/overnight respite care. Your loved one can get used to the caregivers, sounds, and general dimensions of living space without having to commit full time. It’s not all or nothing!

Start a dialogue with your loved one while they still have cognitive function to relay their level of care. Once they have lost lucidity, it is very difficult to figure out whether or not they are fully comfortable. Just as our tots learn from experience with babysitters, our elders can learn from experience with outside caregivers if you start early.

Remember seniors have good and bad days, and times of day, just like everyone else. Don’t wait until your loved one is so cognitively diminished that your family, and especially that loved one, is in crisis mode.

Call us today: 970-879-1572.

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