Addressing Needs With Away-From-Home Care

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The day may come when your worries now seem to be a reality: in-home care no longer meets your loved one’s needs or has become too much for you. Sometimes, try as we might, Care Conversations with our spouse or with our loved one get away from us. Considering away-from-home options can be difficult and emotionally challenging. If your loved one is not ready to participate in a discussion about changing needs, you’ll have to be firm, honest and persistent about your concerns and intention to explore different options. Share the facts of the situation and your belief that additional care is needed.

You might say, “I want what’s best for you. Let’s talk about finding a solution that can provide what you need.” Allow your loved one to be upset, and talk about concerns or fears. You are both talking about a big change. You may feel like the size of your emotions matches the size of the change. Give these emotions room. You may feel that moving your loved one to a care facility is a failure on your part. It’s not about failure. It’s also not about fault. It’s about addressing needs that have become too great for the home environment.

As you listen to your loved one, listen objectively. Concerns are not criticisms of your judgment or abilities. Remember that any criticisms are a way for your loved one to vent. It’s about the situation, the aging or disease process, and a loss of control and independence. It’s about a belief that life has become unfair. Knowing this will help you understand your loved one’s reaction. It’s not about you.

You may want to include an objective party who can help you discuss the decision. Your loved one’s spiritual advisor may be able to offer a perspective that comforts your loved one. If you believe your loved one’s safety is at risk if he or she remains at home, then involve professionals such as a physician, geriatric care managersocial worker or nurse. To find a care manager, visit the National Association of Geriatric Care Managers. You can also contact the Area Agency on Aging in your loved one’s community. To find an Area Agency on Aging, visit Eldercare Locator.

As you go through the decision process, remember your loved one will need you as much now as ever. You’ll remain an integral part of your loved one’s care and decisions. You are your loved one’s strongest voice and advocate.

For help in finding and choosing an away-from-home facility, visit the How to Choose section. What to Expect offers information and resources to help you and your loved one’s transition.

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