WHEN IS IT TIME FOR A SKILLED NURSING CARE FACILITY?
People often ask “How will I know when it is time to place my loved one in a nursing home?” There isn’t one simple answer. The decision to place someone in institutional care is a process and one that most people try to avoid. Despite our best intentions and hard work however, sometimes placement is the best option.
Here are some guideposts. Caregiver “compassion fatigue” is one of the main reasons a family eventually places an elderly loved one in a 24-hour facility. You can recognize compassion fatigue in yourself by looking for the following signs: feeling emotionally drained or chronically tired; sleeplessness; chronic back pain; depression; constant series of dread and gloom.
Sometimes the reasons for placement lies in the needs of the care recipient. Some people require specialized treatment that cannot be provided safely in the home setting. Frequent falls in the home setting may no longer be a safe environment. Progression of dementia with behavioral problems, such as frequent angry outbursts or even violence against the caregiver may result in placement. Wandering away from home may create an unsafe home environment. Or increasingly severe illness may result in placement.
Sometimes placement happens because the other responsibilities of the caregiver needs to take precedence. The caregiver may develop health conditions which make it impossible to continue to provide care. Care at home may become financially unfeasible. The caregiver may not be aware of all possible options for help at home.
The single most common reason people cite for making the decision to place a loved one is incontinence. Managing bladder and bowel problems for caregivers who work outside the home and manage other family responsibilities is the final straw for many caregivers.
Information is important when facing the decision to place a loved one. Make certain you have explored all the possible homecare resources. Learn what you can about managing incontinence. Look into wander prevention solutions. Check your home for simple safety solutions to decrease injury risks. There are many things you can do to extend the length of time you can care for your loved one at home, but recognize that sometimes it’s wiser to seek other solutions. It doesn’t mean you are no longer a caregiver, it simply means that you’ve relocated the responsibilities to a new setting.
This information was provided by Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut.