Companion Care

Elderly Adults Choosing Their Care

We often hear stories of people, “putting mum in a home” or “hiring someone to care for dad.” It seems that we are taking the choices from the elderly in the type of care they prefer. Many older people do not want to go into homes. They want to stay home and be independent. Even if they are in their final stages of life, they want to be home when they go. How can we make sure that we are making all the best decisions for our loved ones? We can never know for sure if another choice would have been better, but here are a few ways you can ensure that your loved one’s voice is heard.

Talk to Them Early

When you first notice the signs of ageing set in, this is the time to ask your loved one what they want for the future. It may not happen for years, but trying to figure out what an adult with Alzheimer’s wants is not easy. They may revert to childhood and not even know what you are asking. Ask before there are any chances of your loved one not being able to speak for themselves.

Revisit the Plan as Health Changes

If the plan was set when they were 65 and in relatively good health, it may not apply at 85 with a broken hip. As health needs change, review the plan to see if it still applies. If they prefer a live-in carer or specific home, you will want to make sure that costs are not prohibitive. Talk to your loved one as their life needs change.

Carefully Consider the Options

Elderly adults do not like to be treated like children. They want their voices heard. Even if the final determination is that their wishes are impossible, let them know you are paying attention. Try to compromise when you can. If part-time care isn’t possible, seek a full-time carer that will enable independence. Ensure that when you meet with them, you emphasize your loved one’s wish for independent living.

Work as a Team

Talk to doctors, carers, and your loved one together. Do not make decisions based upon your wishes or carers’ reports. These things are unreliable because they are tied to perspective. You and your loved one’s carer are doing things to protect them, but sometimes our instinct is to be overprotective. Work together with the loved one to determine the best plan.

Write the Wishes Down

Write the wishes in a journal or notebook for incapacitation. If your loved one has a living will, you can make a note of where it is. Do not resuscitate orders are your loved one’s choice. We never want to lose our loved ones, but they should be allowed to choose how they live or die.

Final Thoughts

There are no easy ways to let your loved one have control over what happens as they age. Our instinct is to preserve them as long as possible. However, it is our duty to make sure they live their lives as they see fit. They have lived long enough to be in control.