How to Identify if your loved one needs 24 hour care?
Realizing whether or not your loved one needs 24-hour elder care is a stressful situation. Sometimes the need is easy to identify, especially when there is a visible disability or a known ailment. However, when your loved one has a slow decline, sometimes the decline is easily overlooked. One of the reasons is that when loved ones appear to be difficult or resistant to change, it’s often blamed on personality or age. The reality could be that your loved one is suffering from a condition causing them to act certain ways. For most people it’s hard realization for a family member to see a loved one, a parent, or a spouse who historically was extremely rational but now seems to always be irrational or not able to handle basic daily functions. Many people find it hard to admit it to themselves that the same person still stands in front of them, but now must deal with a different situation and that has different needs.
There could be physical signs such as:
Falling more frequently
Inability to get out of bed without assistance
Visible appetite difference (usually eating very little)
Inability to do simple things like turn on a light switch or press a call button
There could be mental signs such as:
Addressing a family member by another family member’s name
Unusually difficult or stubborn
In and out of consciousness and alertness
Reverting to childlike behavior
While there are individuals throughout life that do seem to fit these characterizations and have no health issues whatsoever, there still are individuals who have these issues now and never had them in their past. When this occurs a family definitely should look at the situation and take immediate action.
One of the ways to take action is by holding a family meeting. A family meeting to talk about a loved one’s health condition is seldom fun, but can be vital for your loved one’s future. There are emotions between, parents, siblings, spouses, in-laws, lawyers, and friends that must be dealt with. Sometimes these emotions are really the only thing in the way of making a great plan for the loved one. This is the time to be a bigger person and set your past emotions aside. Keeping focused is vital. The family must make a plan. You may feel you just recently made an elder care plan but they have to be constantly revised and revisited as the needs change. Everyone involved must support the plan and there might be many implications involving legal, financial, emotional, time commitments. It is also best to designate a person in charge so that there is a family leader managing the care.
Even if your loved one is in an assisted living facility, a total care nursing home, or around family most of the time, it still might not be enough. Often at nursing homes, a patient does not have their own caregiver (most likely a C.N.A.) caring for them at all times. Some individuals unfortunately, cannot be left alone for any amount of time.
Take a deep breath. Take another deep breath. Put yourselves in their shoes and in the shoes of everyone around the situation. With that in mind, you can certainly create a successful plan and determine if your loved one needs extra care. Your loved one might only need a few hours extra of care or they might truly need 24 hour care, but it’s worth your time to find out what is best for their present and future care. Ultimately, their life is in your hands.