You may have listened to my audio with Sally, a minister at a local church, who cares for her mom. Even though her mom had in home caregiver’s, Sally found herself traveling a total of 7 hours per week to spend time with her mom over the weekends. The caregivers were not the right ones to really take care of her mom but that is a whole other story.
Sally’s expression of her situation resounded strongly with me. One of the things that I found most profound about this interview was her statement “I wish I had known is to just accept that your emotions are going to be a war with your intellect.” It is impossible to move through this journey without the tug of emotions and yet it is important to be able to step out of that emotional place to see logically what is best for all involved.
The Care of YOU
You may feel that by moving your parent you are abandoning them, having someone else help you with their care. The reality is that you cannot go through this journey alone and give yourself and your loved one the best care possible. Notice that I am including YOU in that statement. Wouldn’t you rather be able to enjoy your loved one more and reduce the stress knowing that they are doing even better than you could imagine in this moment? It doesn’t mean that you aren’t involved, even when your parent has moved to a senior community there will still be things you will need to take care of but it will be reduced in amount so that you can regain your precious time to take care of you and enjoy being with them more.
The Care of YOUR LOVED ONE
The return will be ten-fold once your loved one is settled into their new home because they will thrive even better. In a senior community they will no longer feel isolated. Even if you have in home caregiver’s, at some point the expense becomes higher than if they were living in a senior community. In addition, not all in home caregivers are good about giving your loved one the social interaction they need or cooking the healthy foods that are important to their health. I used to believe that aging in your own home was the only way to go until I started helping people with senior housing and seeing the incredible change.
Just going to the dining room in a senior community is a social event! The social interaction and the improved nutrition is key to the improvement in their life. In addition their medications are managed, there are many activities that create a social circle for them and a senior community has programs for those with Dementia to help them maintain and even improve their minds.
Making the Decision
It isn’t easy to make the choice to move your parent but often it is clear even when you don’t want to see it. Here is how it unfolded for Sally:
“It was clear that mother needed to move, she needed more help than an in home caregiver could give to her but my heart was really torn by having to make that move for her. I wish I had embraced earlier to accept that I needed help. And I just want to say Lisa that the help that you gave me when I was looking at moving my mother was invaluable. It kept me grounded it reminded me that yes I was doing the right thing and yes my heart was doing its own song and dance that wasn’t necessarily beneficial to the process and it kinds kept shining light on the path that I needed to take. It gave me a sense of direction and just a feeling of support. I have people in my life who say, yes this is good and I have seen my mom thrive.
Having someone else to look at the situation and tell you that this isn’t sustainable is good because you want to do what is best for your parent, you want love them well. My hope was that I would be as a good a daughter to my mom as she has been a good parent to me. But you just don’t always know what that is when you are in the middle of it.”