Q: My mom has been on a significant decline in physical and mental health for the last year and a half. Our family knows it’s time to look at our options and get her more care. It doesn’t look like we can care for her properly at home. We haven’t brought this up to mom yet. I can’t help but feel worried and guilty. How can we make this easy on her?
A: Guilt and worry are very common emotions during this transition in life. The process can be overwhelming for the person in charge. The truth is, you have many options and prioritizing is going to be key to making this a comfortable and confident transition. If your mom is in a position to voice her opinion, take note. It is equally important that you share your input, as well. There is a lot to consider when increasing the level of care for a loved one. The more details you hash out, the easier it will be to prioritize and determine the best suitable options for your mom. When your options are narrowed down, the process will become much simpler and more enjoyable. It is important to know that there are many resources available to you that will help make this a smooth transition. You don’t have to do this alone.
Q: My mom and dad still live at home. My dad has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and his Parkinson’s has gotten to the point that my mom cannot safely care for him. My mom is distraught over what to do. She doesn’t want to send my dad to a “home.” They have a comfortable stream of income. What do couples do when one requires more care than the other one can handle alone?
A; This is a great question and one that plenty of couples face everyday. It’s good that you are recognizing that this may no longer be a safe situation for your mom or your dad. The last thing anyone needs is a serious injury at this stage in life. Although the idea of finding your dad appropriate care arrangements may feel defeating for your mom, in reality this transition can increase the quality of both of their lives. In the broad spectrum, you have the option to bring help into the home through a home health agency. These companies provide a number of services, both medical and non-medical, and offer your parents the comfort of staying in their own home together. You also have the option to move dad — or mom and dad — into an independent/ assisted living home or center. Homes are smaller and more intimate, and contrary to what many people think, many of these homes offer a very happy and comfortable lifestyle. Centers are larger and full of amenities, activities and accommodations. Both offer excellent care and companionship and either would meet the needs of both of your parents. Mom and dad could easily share a room if they chose to. You will want to look at the short and long term of the situation. The costs of home care vs. assisted and independent living are vastly different. Knowing what your mom and dad need now and what they may be looking at in a year from now will be helpful in making your decision.
• Stacey Conkle is a longtime East Valley resident and community liaison working closely with seniors and their families during times of transition. Send questions and comments to Stacey@generationsofamerica.org.