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When Senior Support Services Aren't Enough

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As our parents get older, they will go through some unexpected changes. While some of them can be positive, there is a very real possibility that your loved ones’ health and physical capabilities can diminish over time— or even in the blink of an eye with a single medical event.

If you are responsible for their care, either through arranging senior support services in their home or in care that you are personally providing, look out for tell-tale signs that it may be time to consider looking for a Continuing Care Retirement Community or Skilled Nursing Facility.

Know What to Look Out For

It may seem like a rather cut-and-dry situation, but sometimes it’s easy to miss some of the most telling signs that it may be time to consider finding a skilled nursing community for your parents.

Your parents may be at serious risk at home alone if they seem to have regular lapses in memory or show confusion when it comes to everyday situations like taking medications, eating food, or putting on clothes.

Missing medications, doubling up, or taking the wrong pills altogether can lead to over-medication or severe interactions which require immediate medical intervention. And malnutrition can be a serious concern for older adults even when they have food at the house. Eating the wrong types of foods or missing meals entirely can contribute to serious health problems down the road and can even become a medical problem in itself.

If you find that your parents’ health is in constant, regular decline, your ability to care for them, and the abilities of those caring for them in-home, may not be equal to the task.

Consider Their Needs

It may not be what you ultimately wanted for your parents, but the care that they can receive at the hands of skilled professionals in the right facility will help your loved ones stay healthy, and, ultimately, improve their quality of life.

There will be a lot of questions and confusion as you try to make this difficult decision, but arranging the proper evaluations can help. Getting to the root of the problems your parents face will go a long way towards determining what kind of care they will need.

The expertise of doctors, other medical professionals, and geriatric care managers can help you gauge and calculate the precise kinds of services your loved ones will need over the course of their time in a skilled nursing facility.

Consider Yourself

It may seem anathema to the process, but if you find yourself in the role of primary caretaker for your loved ones, burnout and fatigue are very real possibilities.

In fact, you may already be at that point.

You may find yourself unable to balance your life outside of caretaking with your role as caretaker, or you may simply be at a loss as to how to provide the right care for your parents after a certain point. Being accountable for the health and wellbeing of your parents is a weighty responsibility, but it is also important to take care of yourself along the way.

While it’s not an easy decision to make, professional care in a facility designed to meet the health and wellness needs of seniors like your parents can provide much needed relief for you personally, and ensure that your parents receive the level of personal attention and support that they deserve.

The Reality of the Situation

There’s nothing easy about deciding it is time to find a skilled nursing facility for your parents, especially if you’ve been caring for them yourself. But take heart in knowing there are professionals who are able to help you, as much as they can help your loved ones.

Worried about a loved one?  Download our tipsheet to decide if it's time to talk about senior care.

Bryan Reynolds
By
February 13, 2014
Bryan Reynolds is the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Bryan is responsible for developing and implementing ERS' digital marketing strategy, and overseeing the website, social media outlets, audio and video content and online advertising. After originally attending The Ohio State University, he graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a Bachelor of fine arts focused on electronic media. Bryan loves to share his passion for technology by assisting older adults with their computer and mobile devices. He has taught several classes within ERS communities as well as at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute run by the University of Cincinnati. He also participates on the Technology Team at ERS to help provide direction. Bryan and his wife Krista currently reside in Lebanon, Ohio with their 5 children.

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