At Beaumont Care, we often receive comments from hassled and stressed families who have found themselves having to make urgent decisions about where their loved older person should live to receive the most appropriate and best care possible. Families have usually experienced a crisis with their loved, older person and are forced to make ‘off the cuff’ decisions about services, care and accommodation so that Hospital beds are made available for more urgent cases.
A preferable situation would be for families and their loved ones to have developed a ‘what if’ plan to be ready for the times when they may be forced to make difficult decisions.
Some suggestions to prepare for the ‘what if’ scenarios:
- Have a conversation with your loved ones before real issues arise. Whilst this is not an easy topic to broach with the older person who is likely to be fiercely independent, he/she should be assured that planning ahead will give him/her greater control over future decisions, choices and plans.
- Work with your loved ones to identify what they need now and what they think they will need and want in the future. Do they need help with cleaning, ironing meals or laundry; showering; transport to appointments and outings; or does the partner need ‘time out’? Reinforce to them that getting some help at the right time will often assist them to maintain their independence and to live longer in their own Home.
- Recognize that having a ‘stranger’ come into their Home may create concern about their lack of privacy, feelings of insecurity and suspicion. It is recommended that a family member be present for part of the first few visits to help allay these concerns. Another option is to have the staff member visit for a few morning or afternoon teas so that your loved ones get used to their presence and are comfortable having them in their Home. Involving staff in helping your loved one to wash up the tea cups is an excellent ‘introduction’ strategy.
- Research the options available for support. Does your loved one need home-based care or residential care, or a combination of both? Combination care is extremely supportive for the partner who can access Day Respite and Overnight/Week long Respite in an aged care Home so that he/she gets a well-deserved break, while knowing that the loved one is safe and in good hands.
Choosing a Provider
- Check out the providers in person or over the phone. Look at their Websites. What do their customers have to say? What is their reputation in the local area?
- Check how flexible the services are. Will they change the service whenever needed and adjust to your loved ones’ changing needs and circumstances
- Choose providers who answer your questions, who really listen and are genuinely interested in your situation and your loved ones, and in providing you with solutions which suit your circumstances.
- Make sure that you feel you are in control and can ask for what you want, whenever you want it.
Choosing a suitable Staff Member
- Enquire as to how staff are selected? Why should you trust them? Ask to trial the staff to make sure that the staff member chosen ‘clicks’ with your loved one; that your loved one will be safe and that you will be happy for them to take charge when you are not present.
- Understand the costs associated with the services. Question your loved one’s eligibility for government support.
- Realize that services which are tailor-made to your loved ones’ circumstances and needs will cost. This is one time when you will truly ‘get what you pay for’.
- Introduce services slowly so that your loved ones get used to having and paying for assistance while still feeling independent.
- You will be able to identify a good provider. They will be passionate about helping you and your loved ones to find the services which are ‘just right’.
- For further information and/or assistance from someone who is passionate about ensuring that the right support is offered to you:
- Contact Colleen on 0499 779 877