Many families struggle every day to make decisions about the best living situation for their aging parent. Most seniors, if given the choice, would choose to remain in their own home for as long as possible, and most families want to respect that choice. What is it that makes staying home possible? This is very subjective and varies in each situation. Many family members or caregivers have a threshold – an event in which they know that living at home is no longer an option, yet others are absolute in their commitment to keep their loved one at home no matter the circumstances.
If your family is trying to make these decisions, there are several things you should consider:
- What are the wishes of your loved one?
- Is there a way to improve the safety of the home?
- Is there someone who could move in with them?
- Is there someone they could move in with?
- Could care or supportive services be brought in to keep them safe, well-fed, and healthy?
- Would they benefit from having regular meals prepared for them?
- Do they need medical care?
- Do they need medication reminders?
- Have they visited any communities that could be options?
There are many options, some of which people don’t always think about:
- Continue living in their home.
- Move in with an adult child.
- Have an adult child or other family member move in with them.
- Hire a live-in caregiver.
- Hire a part time caregiver or agency for oversight.
- Move into an assisted living community.
- Move into an independent living community.
- Move into a skilled nursing community.
- Increase socialization and sign them up for an adult day program.
Some families keep a loved one home when they really shouldn’t. There are ways to supplement what is lacking in the home setting by either bringing services, such as home care or friendly visitors, into the home; or arranging for visits to an adult day program, congregate meal site, or senior center activities and classes. Including your loved one in the decision and finding a solution that all family members can feel good about may take considerable research, time, and the support of a professional. However, knowing you gave this significant decision the consideration it deserves allows everyone to move forward feeling good about the choice.