Seniors: Care-taking Within the Family

Jun 17th, 2011 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Arriving at the moment when a choice has to be made for the care and keeping of someone in the family who needs special care is no small matter. Issues abound. Certainly expense and adequate care provisions must be considered. It is sometimes not possible to have one without the other. Depending on the nature of the need, often trying to keep the family member in the home is given top priority.

Such a choice, motivated by sentiment and unrealistic promises, e.g. “we won’t ever put you in a rest home,” compel families to try to provide hands on care and keeping. ┬áSuch a choice is fraught with its own land mines. Often, the home isn’t the best option because it isn’t adequately equipped. Space becomes another consideration. Safety, depending on mobility matters, has to play a part in whether it is prudent to keep the patient at home.

Who, from among the family, will be able to offer coordination of care for those who may volunteer their time? What is available by way of Home Health Care? When, if, the time comes are plans in place for transferring the loved one to a better equipped environment? These are the big questions. Sub questions are plentiful and often scary.

If care-taking in the family is the choice, then taking the necessary time and effort to facilitate the home, arranging for persons to be available on a schedule, having ample supplies, equipment, etc. on hand will all need to be addressed. For example, will the person require oxygen? Can the person navigate to the bath room? What will be the hygiene issues required? Who will be responsible for cleaning, cooking, shopping, and so on? Who will be present when the primary care taker must be away? What will be the plans for transportation, particularly if a wheel chair is required?

As pointed out above, these are the major issues requiring careful thought. The questions and “we didn’t think of that” concerns proliferate as day to day duties are introduced.

Because expense is a major influence, if there is yet time and resources available, researching long term care insurance, with an inflation option, may need to be brought into the equation. If qualified, the patient and family, may then be offered other options.

Likely, most families who choose to do care-taking within the family will come to that moment when step two will need to be brought to the fore. Depending on the nature of the need and the demands for specialized care that need may come quickly or develop over a long period of time. In any event, being prepared to deal with the reality of the dynamic will be absolutely essential. Delay will ordinarily contribute to exacerbating the situation.

Do not presume you are being a “bad guy” because this option will need to be introduced and given rational consideration. It is simply in the best interest of everyone involved to keep emotion and sentiment in its place when dealing with the needs and capabilities within the family.



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