Today’s topic is retirement homes in Longview Washington. I will briefly cover things to consider before moving to a retirement home. I’ve been counseling families for over 23 years on when is it time to move mom or dad to a home, or is it just the regular progression of life? You get old to a point where you want stay at home, where you can’t be self-sufficient, and then you go to a home. Well, as I discuss this topic with families, it’s a very personal decision, and the senior has to be involved with that decision. I know sometimes adult children want to take control and say, “This is best for you, Mom, or Dad,” but you’re going to only have problems if you don’t get the senior involved, and that’s their right.
So what I usually do is sit down with the entire family, or at least the family members involved with the decision, and say, “What’s going on in the home now where you think Mom or Dad should move?” And usually it’s people’s insecurity that Mom or Dad is not safe to be at home alone. So I look at what can you do to bring services to the home, if that’s an option.
For instance, you can have a medical alert system, you could have a housekeeper, or you could have caregivers come to the home. I always say, “Try the least expensive, least disruptive option first, if that is possible.” If there’s been a major change, like a broken hip or a death of a spouse, and the other spouse does not want to be in the house anymore, it’s too overwhelming, it’s too large of a home, that’s the time to look at relocation. But if the senior doesn’t want to move, and the kids want them to move, I always like to negotiate, “Can we compromise here?”
I suggest “Let’s try this out for three months, see if it works,” and then it gives everyone an out. If it doesn’t work, then you try Plan B, or Plan C. What you don’t want to do, and I’ve seen this happen in some families, is that you move an elderly senior from one place to another, because it wasn’t the right choice to begin with. That could be very traumatic. When you look at what causes stress; moving, death, serious health issues are right up there on the stress scale. No one likes to move, no matter what your age, and when you’re dealing with a houseful of memories, it could be heartbreaking if it’s not done properly.
So let’s look at some of the options. Let’s say the decision is made that 24-hour care is needed after hospitalization. They can interview and select a caregiver team and even change caregivers to find the best personality match. Then scale back hours when their health improves. Or check into a nursing home for 7-21 days and discharge home sooner, hiring help in the home to handle the convalescent period.
Look at home adjustments, and that could be anything from arranging for a medical alert systems, or other adaptive equipment, like handrails, lift chairs, or purchase a walker or wheelchair. When its time to move, consider a retirement apartment complex, an adult family home, or assisted living center. Your decision will involve the level or care needed and what you can afford. A nursing assessment is also sometimes needed to help determine the level of care.
So, as you could see, there’s a lot to choose from, and it could be absolutely overwhelming to the senior and the family, especially if the senior is not feeling well. If there’s been an injury or illness, they’re not on their best terms anyhow in trying to comprehend what’s happening, making major decisions that will affect them for the rest of their life. So you need, sometimes, a coach. That’s what Elder Options does. We have a whole home placement section that helps families look at what would be best for their loved one, because, once again, you don’t want to say, “Oops, I made a mistake. Oh, they need to go here. Nope, I’m going to move them back.” That’s very expensive and very disruptive.