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Sussman: The difficulty of moving loved ones to assisted living

“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven”.(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

One of the most difficult family decisions is when to say the time has come to move my loved one to memory care. It may be a spouse, parent, or sibling. The final answer for a loved one is gut wrenching. As a senior caregiver, I admit to being prejudice. I have always believed that the home was a better choice than institutional care; however, I admit that the decision is dependent on the family caregiver.

Generally, we see clients a few hours each day or overnight while the spouse or children of the senior may see their loved one many more hours per week. Sometimes we are strictly employed as providers of respite care. Some cases require us to be in the home twenty-four/seven.

The good news is that we are blessed in Licking county with outstanding assisted living, memory care, and in most cases, better than average nursing care. If you are choosing a facility, do not be fooled by the ambiance of the place as the only consideration. Remember, the Alzheimer’s sufferer may only care about the interaction between the caregivers (aides) and himself. The client may never be comfortable with the physical property as it will not trigger memories of home.

I witnessed an aide in an excellent facility scold a client for bothering her regarding incontinence because she had been changed two hours earlier. The client was a 56-year-old quadriplegic woman whose mind was fine. At that very same facility I saw a young aide comfort a woman by feeding her and then holding her as one would hold a baby while the aide gently sang a favorite lullaby. I was moved.

I have seen caring families, who just could not take it anymore at home. I have also witnessed a family tire of paying the bills for home care even though money was no object for the clients.

I happened to be on the team of 24-hour care for a couple who were both in stages of dementia. They were moved to an excellent facility. I was caring for a client at that facility. Many times, the families of clients continue to employee home care workers to assist with the client’s care while in an assisted living environment. This couple died within 3 months of their entrance. She took some food to bed and choked on it about 2 a.m. There were only two aides on duty overnight and by the time a check was made, she had passed. He was so overwrought with the death of his 65-year mate, he fell and died a week later.

Home care is not always the answer as there are financial and family care considerations. If you decide on a facility, visit that facility unannounced at dinner time (the most hectic time of the day) and observe the aides interaction with the clients. We only get one mother and father.

Write Mike Sussman at msilksussman@aol.com

Article source: http://www.newarkadvocate.com/story/news/local/2017/10/07/sussman-difficulty-moving-loved-ones-assisted-living/727286001/

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