I have blogged a little about my father having Alzheimer’s and how it is important and great it is when you find a place where your parent feels comfortable and is being treated with respect. Well, the news of the facility closing was a blow. Not only is finding a place that is compatible a chore, but they are not cheap either. This week, my sister and I have been agonizing over what to do. There are few choices but the dynamics of them have to be thoroughly examined.
This issue is so common in many families who take care of elderly parents on some level. The informal caregiver is the term that is used for children who provide long-term care for parents who either live with them or finance an assisted living facility. Through my research (which I always do), I found an article that dealt with this subject matter.
Some of the issues that we have come across that may be of use to many of you in the same situation:
1. Location…if there is another spouse who is living, it is important to find a location that is near so that visitation won’t be an issue
2. Privacy…you have the choice of a private or semi-private room. This can be a difficult decision because the cost between the two is astronomical. If choosing a semi-private room for an Alzheimer’s patient, it is important to know the situation of the other patient/roommate. Alzheimer’s patients need consistency and calm environment.
3. Costs….Please ensure that your parents have some level of long-term care benefits. This can make the difference between no out-of-pocket costs or having to utilize your immediate family’s income to compensate for the high costs of assisted living. IT IS NO JOKE! Medicare and retirement pensions rarely will cover the total expenses of long-term care. Some employers may even allow you to sign-up for elder care benefits. It is worth checking out.
4. On-site Care…Everyone wants their parents taking care of like their own family would take care of them. A tour of facilities is essential. You want a variety of care provided while in-house (i.e. barber, physical therapy, nursing, activities, etc.).
Advanced preparation is the key to handling the issue of caring for elderly parents. The take home message is to prepare for the worst and rejoice in the best. Nothing is more important than your family so make sure that we not only think of ourselves in these trying times, but do what we can to make sure others are taken care of as well.
Image credit: SCOTT GOLDSMITH—AURORA FOR USN&WR