For individuals who discover that their friend or family member requires supportive care, making a decision about a possible transition into a new senior living lifestyle can be challenging. A variety of options may be available, but choosing the best solution for you, a family member or friend can be complex.
Even if you have not previously provided care for a friend or family member, you may have anticipated a time when you would need to offer care assistance. In some cases, that scenario could play out as providing care at various times in the home. When a friend or family member becomes unable to safely live on their own, the degree of care needed might require moving in with a friend or relative.
For a variety of reasons, some families choose a supportive living environment outside the home, such as assisted living, to care for the individual when the time comes. To assist you in determining the best situation for your family, we have compiled these tips.
Consider the Reasons for a Change
To understand the specific requirements for your friend or relative’s care, first consider the reasons that a change in living arrangements is necessary. Are they displaying any limitations in cognitive or physical abilities, and has the situation changed or worsened recently?
Perhaps your family member or friend has been through a trauma — such as the loss of a spouse or other family member. A health like a surgery, a hospital stay or diagnosis of a chronic illness also may be driving the need for additional care. Your friend or relative may be having problems with mobility or balance, which could increase the chances of a fall.
If the friend or family member still maintains some degree of independence but needs assistance with activities of daily living such as dressing and bathing, assisted living may be a good option.
Accurately Evaluate Caregiving Requirements
Before determining whether you can or should become a caregiver, it is important to understand the type and degree of care an individual will require. In some cases, they may be able to function at least somewhat independently and simply may need to be around other people for companionship and security.
However, needs related to physical and mental health challenges can mean more significant requirements for caregivers, whether in your private home or in a supportive living environment like assisted living.
To ensure you fully understand your friend or family member’s physical or mental health challenges, consider an examination and consultation with a healthcare provider. By speaking with their physician, you can better determine whether you can provide the needed care or if more specialized assistance is required.
In addition, consider whether your home is properly equipped for your friend or relative’s health challenges. If there’s an issue with poor vision or mobility difficulties, for example, you may need to add lighting and handrails, and you may need to eliminate tripping hazards such as throw rugs. If they cannot maneuver stairs, it will be important to have a sleeping area downstairs as well as a method to enter the home that does not involve stairs.
Prepare for the Personal Effects of Caregiving
It is common to underestimate the personal toll caregiving can take on an individual providing care. Health professionals point out that caregiver burnout can result in significant changes to the lifestyle of the caregiver, along with exhaustion and other physical and emotional impacts.
Before you make the decision to have a friend or family member move into your home, consider how your daily life may change and how you will handle the resulting additional responsibilities. It’s important to make sure you can set aside time to rest and recharge; try to develop a strategy for getting periodic support with your caregiving duties.
To provide the very best support, it is vital that you take care of your own health, including your mental health. Building a network of people who can support you — including other family members, friends and neighbors — is important for successfully taking on the responsibilities of caregiving in your home.
Compare Potential Methods of Caregiving
If your friend or family member needs senior care in an environment outside of their own home, you will need to determine the best method and resource for providing the level they require. You can choose to care for the individual in your home. The level of challenge that you are likely to experience will depend on the unique healthcare needs of the individual under your care.
Individuals who have some mobility, can manage their medications, are continent, and can take care of most of their own needs may be the best candidates for moving in with family members. For those with more complex health challenges or who need regular supervision, a supportive living environment is likely to work best.
Before you make a final determination on how you will provide care, be sure to include your relative or friend in the decision-making process. If you do decide to consider assisted living communities, your friend or family member should be involved in the search and narrowing down options.
At Lake Park, assisted living residents enjoy a vibrant lifestyle with access to extraordinary dining, amenities and wellness options in a scenic environment. To plan a visit or to receive more information about caregiving or Oakland assisted living, please contact us today.