From time to time, families decide to wait a while before moving ‘Mom and/or Dad’. Usually, they have called Time to Move because of an event that created a ‘wake up call’ about the health and safety of a senior relative or themselves. After talking and/or doing the research into ‘placement’, they decide that now is ‘not the right time’. Sometimes, we refer to it as ‘Waiting for a Crisis’. It’s a subconscious decision because no one wants a crisis to fall on a senior, yet that is the choice they are making.
I have known many cases where waiting for that crisis has looked like this:
•The couple didn’t eat properly and missed taking medications. This resulted in both of them going to the hospital with dehydration, malnutrition, and the wife’s system was shutting down. She never fully recovered, having compromised her kidneys, liver, and heart. This resulted in 24 hour home care because she refused to leave home, and for the two of them – that was very expensive. At that hospital stay, it was confirmed that the husband had progressive dementia, and he was placed in an assisted living for memory care community. Total cost of both care: home care for two: $15,000 per month. Memory care for him in the community she chose: $6500/mo. •A widow insisted that she was fine and didn’t need to move. She had a car accident a mile from her home, resulting in 8 surgeries in 3 days. She now has some limitations on her abilities, lots of pain, and did have to move right away to assisted living. •A family didn’t heed the warnings from neighbors about Mom’s behavior and now she is under the supervision of Adult Protective Services to move her. Her choices have been minimized, and the family is under suspicion by this government agency. •A family chose not to move a loved one with dementia. He was living with a relative who worked. He wouldn’t go to day care and they couldn’t afford to bring in home care. So he was alone all day. But they said he was only mildly demented. He walked out of the house one day, rolled down the hill and was found lying, with a broken hip, on the road below. •A senior who insisted on living at home alone, and not wearing her medic alert button, fell at 7 pm one night and was not found until the next day at 11 am. She had fractured her back, and had a strong urinary tract infection, so was completely confused. She spent 6 weeks in a hospital and rehab. and never went home again. She was lucky. •A couple refused to move the husband who had dementia. The wife who was caring for him, got an infection, and soon passed away in the hospital from a heart attack. The family had to take turns taking vacations while cleaning up the estate and finding a good community for Dad.
If you think this situation applies to you, there are several things that can be solutions:
•Do your homework. Tour communities to learn about what the options are and what could work for your loved one. This is at least a back up plan. •Consider Day care, home care, or respite stays – which are short term stays to give caregivers a break, or to let the senior (and the family) experience living in a community. •Ask for the help of your loved one’s doctor to advocate for moving him/her. •Consider the possibility of the guilt you will feel if something does compromise the health and safety of your loved one. This is a recurring theme from families after the crisis happens. ‘Why did I let this happen’. Our role is to parent the parent, with love and understanding.
For more help, contact Sydney Kennedy, CSA, with Time to Move, at 959-242-4715.
Time to Move Care Placement ©2012