As people age they often require increased assistance in everyday activities. Decisions on what is the best type of care for a senior can be difficult and often complicated. Here is help on how to decide between assisted living or senior care in their home.
The choices between assisted living professionally at a nursing home or relying on care in the home can be an agonizing choice for the family of a senior. There are pros and cons to both options and they should be carefully considered before an arrangement is in place.
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While they shouldn't exert themselves in the heat, there are plenty of opportunities for seniors to have some summertime fun. With a little creativity and thoughtful planning, your loved one can enjoy the warmer weather.
Make new memories, and reinforce old ones. Spending time outdoors can be healthy and refreshing. Ask seniors their favorite way to spend summer years ago and re-enact that experience. Pack a simple picnic and head to their beloved neighborhood park. Pick up your loved one and bring them to a grandchild's baseball game. Take a slow stroll by a nearby beach or lake. Because many seniors are early to rise, you can catch the sunrise while enjoying a cup of coffee together.
Visit a museum or attend a cultural event. As we age, there is a greater risk for dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Take a break from the warm weather with some indoor fun.
Explore a local museum or art gallery. Buy tickets to an afternoon performing arts show or head to the theater and take in a movie. Visit the library. If reading is now difficult for your loved one, read to them or pick up audio books. The air conditioning in each of these buildings will be a relief on a hot day!
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"My sisters/brothers don't lift a finger; I do everything for dad!" and "My mother's become my child!" Common cries among adult children caring for elderly parents at home. I ask in return, "Why are you the caregiver?" It's an admirable job; after all they raised you and loved you as you were growing up; now it's your turn. Or is It? Why only you and not your siblings? Is there another way to care for them and still show your love? There is a high incidence of caregivers' health failing before their loved one goes.
It is a stressful job. It's often a 10 hr/day, 7 day/wk job, if not 24/7, without breaks, days off, vacations, or even pay. It is one that involves chef and shopper, chauffeur, self-care manager, social events and appointment scheduler, bath aide, nursing attendant, laundress, companion, financial manager, and.... Then mom complains because you don't do right. And that's just your job with her. What about your own life?
6. Reduce the risk for falls: modify the house for safety by using a room-by-room safety checklist (see a comprehensive one in the book Dad's Home Alone); provide grab bars, shower seat, and a high toilet or raised toilet seat, for bathroom safety. Don't forget a medical alert pendant or wristband. In case of a fall help is just a press-of-the button away. Falls can't be prevented. Gravity is the same whether in a nursing home, at home, or standing next to a loved one.
Remember, elderly people, just like you and me, want to remain as independent as possible. Respect who they are and make sure your parent weighs in on the decisions. But also, know that they may not be as realistic about their safety and care needs. You are there as their safety net, not their "parent".