How to Make Tough Care Decisions for Elderly Loved Ones?

Anyone who has ever been stuck at sea will tell you it’s often hard to make the right decisions. For starters, the choppy waters and poor visibility make it difficult to know which way is up. But more importantly, there’s the added pressure of knowing that lives could be at stake. 

We can easily liken elderly care to being caught in a storm at sea. The decisions we make as caregivers directly impact the quality of life for our elderly loved ones. For instance, you can click here for senior living communities if you’re struggling to help for your elderly parent, sibling, or other loved one at home. But what if you’re unsure whether this is the right decision? 

Truth be told, making decisions for a vulnerable person is never easy. But you can make the process a little easier. Here are some tips for making tough care decisions for the old-timer in your life.

Educate Yourself

Find out the different care options available. Whether it’s in-home care, assisted living, or a nursing home, each has its own pros and cons. In so doing, you can make an informed decision on what’s best for your loved one.

Evaluate Their Situation

Find out more about your loved one’s current living situation. For instance, are they able to take care of themselves? Do they need constant supervision? How is their health? Understanding their current predicament and needs can help you decide whether they need to be in a care facility.

Similarly, if you visit them and notice their health is deteriorating, it might help to consider other care options. For instance, they might need more help with day-to-day activities such as bathing and dressing. In such a case, assisted living or in-home care might be ideal.

Don’t assume anything. If you’re unsure about their situation, have a healthcare professional assess their needs. They can give you a better idea of what your loved one requires in terms of care.

Get a Second Opinion 

You don’t have to go through the situation alone. Talk to other family members, friends, or even the older adult’s physician. They might have a different perspective you hadn’t considered. Plus, they can help you determine the best course of action, depending on your loved one’s condition. 

You can also involve an elder care coordinator – someone experienced in making care decisions for the elderly. They can guide you through the process and help you find the best care option for your loved one.

While at it, avoid the temptation to “prescribe” a solution you think is best for your loved one. This isn’t about you. It’s about what they want and needs. So, listen to their point of view, so you have a basis for making a decision they are comfortable with. 

Consider the Financial Implications 

The costs of different care options can vary widely. In-home care might be more affordable than a nursing home, for instance. But then, you also have to factor in travel costs if you move your loved one to a different state. You must also factor in medication costs, doctor’s visits, and home modifications.

And if they need specialized care, a nursing home would suffice, although it will add to the costs. Even so, be realistic about what you or your family can afford to make a practical and sustainable decision.

Keep Proper Records

Ensure you have all the important documents, such as your loved one’s medical records, power of attorney, and will. Most importantly, record their health history – such as hospitalizations, chronic conditions, allergies, falls – you name it. This will come in handy when making future decisions, especially if they are incapacitated.

Think About the Future

Consider the long-term implications. For instance, will your loved one be happy in a nursing home? Are the staff qualified to care for them? What happens when their health deteriorates? 

Simply put, weigh all aspects of your loved one’s life – their physical, mental, and emotional needs. Also, think about your capabilities as a caregiver. Can you provide full-time care? Do you have other commitments like work or raising your family? All these elements can help you make a decision that’s in your loved one’s best interest, including your family. 

Making tough decisions for elderly loved ones is challenging for most people. After all, you don’t want to make a mistake that could jeopardize their health or well-being. Fortunately, by implementing these tips, you can make smart choices that positively impact them. And if you’re in doubt, seek professional help to get clarity – as we’ve pointed out.

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