A lot of family caregivers reach the point where their parent is no longer steady on their feet and begins falling. Falling is one of the main concerns that necessitates seniors leaving their homes and moving into a facility. The family discussion about making the move is not easy. The parent becomes anxious and defensive. The “right way” to have this conversation may be different for each family.
Let’s take a look at one of these scenarios:
Nancy is talking with her sister, Ann, and saying that she has decided to move out of her house and into the Princeton Acres Assisted Living Facility. Ann asks what prompted her to make this decision and when she is planning on moving. Nancy confesses that her daughter and son-in-law, Alice and Charles, have been bugging her since her husband Monty died. The kids were reminding her that she had fallen four times in the last year, and that the need for care was present.
Well, Nancy had taken the first step by hiring a Home Health Aide, Pam, to come in and help her get situated in the evenings. Nancy thought that this help would always be enough and meant that she was set. However, Pam kept mentioning that Nancy was no longer safe at home and that she should consider moving.
After having Pam care for her for several months, Nancy had placed a lot of trust and respect on Pam and her opinions. So, when Pam continued to reinforce the fact that Nancy had friends in Princeton Acres and that she could move into a small apartment with Pam still attending to her, Nancy listened and came to agree that moving was the right decision.
Our experience is that a senior’s decision to move does not happen with just one or two conversations about the idea. It’s a conversation that needs to take place over time. Declining health, especially conditions that lead to a person falling and getting hurt, can give the caregiver leverage. The family physician is often helpful and persuasive if the timing is right. Also, a geriatric care manager can be helpful in devising a transition plan that reduces tension and anxiety. Most importantly, if a senior has a friend or family member that they trust and value, that person can often deliver a powerful message if they are on the same page as the family.