Options for Taking Care of the Elderly
There are numerous options that are available to our family pertaining to the care of our elderly grandmother. Before arriving at a tentative solution the family needs to consider each of these options carefully. A family meeting is crucial before any decision is made so that everyone has a platform to share their views and concerns about the matter. Finances will play a critical role in deciding which option to choose making financial resources an essential topic of discussion in the family meeting.
Other than finances, another critical issue that the family needs to discuss is the level of care that our grandmother needs. As she gets older, her care needs are bound to change and become more complex and challenging. The family should consider consulting with a geriatric care expert or a social worker to determine the level of care that our grandmother may need. This consultation will assist us in making forecasts on her care needs in the future.
One option that the family has is to allow our grandmother to move in with one of the family members. This decision is usually the first and most effective solution to the provision of care for the elderly.
There are obviously several advantages of having our grandmother move in with us. One advantage is that she will be near those who love her and appreciate her. We are her family, her source of joy and living with us will ensure she gets the best possible care. She will also be more comfortable living with us than with strangers in a nursing home. As a family, we can monitor her better when she is at home with us than if we left her in the hands of strangers in a long-term care facility. Having our grandmother move in with us will also afford us the opportunity to spend more valuable time with her before her inevitable death.
There are various issues that the family needs to take into account if we decide to go ahead and let our grandmother move in with us. One issue is the change in family roles which can create some tension in the household. Her increased dependence on some family members may result in some of us having less time for those we love i.e. spouses and children. Some members may also have to adjust their work schedules in order to provide our grandmother with the appropriate amount of care (Lawrence, 2014).
We might also have to consider making special adaptations to our family home if we are to accommodate her properly. Anticipating that she might develop sight and mobility complications, we might have to adjust our floor plan so that the house is safe for her. Groups such as the Area Agencies on Aging can assist us in conducting an assessment for the home and recommending any modifications such as ramps.
We should also consider that lifestyles are bound to change once our grandmother begins to live with us. Social events, sleeping cycles, noise levels in the house, and food preferences will need to be adjusted so that there is a happy transition for both the family and our grandmother.
As mentioned above, finances are a critical topic of discussion. Once our grandmother moves in with us then we might become more involved in her personal finances. We need to agree on how much money (if any) my grandmother is willing to put towards her upkeep while she is staying with us. We could also prepare the Personal Care Agreement which is a document that entails any payment that we have received from her to pay for her living expenses. The family members should also consider adjusting our work schedules if necessary as well as the implications of these adjustments on our finances, jobs and social security benefits (Lawrence, 2014).
There are several problems that could arise from having our grandmother move in with us for long-term care. For starters, our grandmother might become embarrassed or feel humiliated that she has to live with us and be dependent on us after being independent for most of her life. Many aged individuals who live with their children and are completely dependent on them usually demonstrate these feelings of embarrassment and humiliation.
In addition, changing our work schedules and social calendars can take a long time. This means that before schedules get adjusted correctly, we will be living our grandmother in the house all day. If her condition worsens she might not be able to move freely in and out of the house. This restriction on her movement can lead to accidents in the house which might lead to injuries or even death. She might also become very bored if we live her in the house alone every day.
Other than having our grandmother live with us, we can have her live in a retirement community. A retirement community is whereby the elderly live in individual apartments that are in a multi-unit setting. Group meals, housekeeping and transportation are provided by the company maintaining the community. These communities also have many organized social activities which are centered on the interests and health of the elderly people living in the community.
Residents of the retirement community are allowed to go and come as they wish so the residents have a lot of freedom. Some of these communities also offer access to nurses who can consult with the residents on health issues. If the care needs of an individual resident increase or become more complex then the company offers additional services to the resident. These additional services include providing help with bathing and doing laundry (Parker-Pope, 2010).
These retirement communities have a variety of living arrangements for the residents based on their level of independence. There are also common spaces where the residents can meet up and engage in uplifting and healthy social activities. The communities also have common kitchens and cafeteria to increase the opportunities for the elderly residents to socialize.
A retirement community will be very beneficial for our grandmother. In such a community she will get many new friends her age because of the many opportunities to socialize that are provided in the retirement community. She will also be independent while living in the retirement community. A sense of independence is important for all elderly people and it might increase the quality of their lives. She can also be given additional assistance in tasks that she cannot handle without losing her independence. Such tasks may include shopping, laundry, driving and cooking (Parker-Pope, 2010).
This option is fairly expensive especially if she requires more care than is expected. There is also the possibility that the retirement community may not be able to provide the required care that our grandmother might need. Another problem that this option poses is the fact that these retirement communities are usually very far away.
In conclusion, there are two options available to us when it comes to taking care of our aging grandmother. Each of these options has its own advantages and disadvantages. We can have our grandmother move in with us. This option will allow us to keep a close eye on our grandmother and take care of her like she has been taking care of us from the very beginning. However, she might get embarrassed and humiliated because she is dependent on us. The other option is to take her to a retirement community where she will be with people her age and will have more independence. The problem with this option is the expense involved and the distance from our home.
Lawrence, B. (2014, Sept.4). What is the best strategy for taking care of your aging parents at home? PBS NewsHour. Retrieved on 21/8/2015 from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/options-want-stay-home-age/
Parker-Pope, T. (2010, March 12). Options for Elder Care. The New York Times. Retrieved on 21/8/2015 from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/12/options-for-elder-care/