Welcome Wisdom

The difficult decision we often face, to stay at home or make a move 

by Gail Arno, CMC, ECM Director of Care Management

Making the monumental decision to move from your home where things are familiar, routine, and comfortable into a senior housing setting can be one of the biggest and most challenging decisions of a lifetime. Routine and comfort at home are key and very important but equally critical is making sure that one is safe and well served in their own home. As we age, our needs, strengths, and abilities to care for ourselves change, and often one can have difficulty keeping pace with their own needs. The question then becomes, “When is it time to consider moving, and what are the steps involved in making such a move?”

Last month we focused on John and Sarah, a lovely couple married over 60 years with four adult children, none of them living nearby and all busy with their own lives. John and Sarah were determined to remain at home together, but at times struggled to stay safely at home. After much discussion, planning, and a formal assessment conducted by our team at Elder Care Management it was determined by John, Sarah, and their supportive family that they would remain at home with support coming to them. They needed additional formal support mechanisms in their home to stay at home and we worked closely with their family and the couple to reach their goals.

As John and Sarah remained at home, we walked alongside them offering and facilitating more formal support primarily via caregiving services which was eventually expanded to provide around-the-clock care. We assisted them in making numerous adaptations to their home such as installing ramps at the entrances of their home, removing a glass shower enclosure for easier access for caregiving assistance with bathing, altering the guest bedroom to facilitate a caregiver living in, John moved into a hospital bed located in the living room while Sarah stayed in their master bedroom. Grab bars and toilet seat risers were added in all toileting areas for ease in getting up and down and a transfer pole was placed bedside to assist Sarah so she could get in and out of bed more easily. Ultimately, a second caregiver in the home during the day was needed to assist John while Sarah was experiencing some Sundowning behaviors. Oxygen was delivered and utilized to support John as he struggled for every breath. At the close of their journey, hospice services and support were welcomed first for John, and then shortly after his passing, for Sarah. John and Sarah worked with their family to plan and communicate their wishes regarding what they wanted as their aging journey progressed. In the end, their wishes were honored and they remained safely at home with formal support all around them and a loving family to ensure their efforts were successful.

Many of our seniors don’t actively educate themselves regarding the services, programs, and options they might have available to them as they age. Some necessitate a move into senior living such as assisted living, memory care, or skilled nursing and benefit from guidance and information to make an informed and educated decision. This month we will continue our educational series on Successful Aging where we will discuss the idea of moving, how to approach making plans, and what the best decision might be. We hope you will join us as we tackle the complicated topic of “Moving On”.

*names have been changed to protect the clients’ identity