Wednesday Workshop: Caregiver Conversations
“When is it Time to Consider Nursing Home Care?”
Elayne Forgie: Hi! This is Elayne Forgie with the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center and today I’m here with Becky, a caregiver, and we’re going to talk a little bit about a difficult topic for some, which is the decision to place your loved one in a nursing home.
Elayne Forgie: So Becky came in to talk with me and share with some of our viewers some of the challenges that you think people face when they’re going on this journey of caring for their loved one at home and then for whatever reason come to a fork in the road. So, why don’t we talk a little bit about what some of those challenges are?
Becky: Well, I personally am in that situation right now – where my mom, who is still in independent living, but she is struggling with dementia and we’re at a place now where she’s really not safe to be at home anymore or to live by herself. And what do I do with her? What are my choices? Who do I ask? Where do I go?
And then, the other part of that is feeling guilty! Guilty because we don’t take her in to live with us. But the challenges with having someone live with you full time and having to take care of them full time are so great that it’s just honestly something that we really can’t handle right now and I’m not even sure I want to and I feel bad because I don’t want to!
Elayne Forgie: well I think that’s one of the biggest challenges that caregivers face – not so much the decision to place their loved one in a nursing home but the emotions that accompany the decision and you just hit the biggest one right on the head – the guilt. You know what we find here at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center through our Coaching for Caregivers program is we help caregivers by helping you make good informed decisions.
So, part of that is working with us to go through the emotions that come with the nursing home decision. Oftentimes it’s helping you or helping caregivers deal with broken promises. Did your family make promises? How is that adding to the emotional burden that you’re facing as you’re contemplating the next best place for your mom to live?
Elayne Forgie: So, a lot of what we do at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center is coach caregivers through the nursing home decision, through the process and help you come to terms with your guilty feelings that you might have and other emotions. As well as, how it feels when you, in your in your mind, feel you’re breaking a promise to someone that you love.
Elayne Forgie: Talk to me a little bit about what your biggest struggle has been as you have begun to think about this next step.
Becky: Probably, really how to tell her and how to make her understand that for her own safety, and for better quality care and what she’s able to give herself or even though we could give her, is just how to explain to her even with her dementia so that she understands what we’re trying to do is the best thing for her and in for everyone in our family. That is an issue.
We probably waited too long. We should of had the discussion before she was this far along. But it’s really an issue at this point because she’s already so angry! She’s angry all the time and this is really honestly why we don’t want to bring her into our homes – my brother, my sister or I, because her moods are extreme and unpredictable. She’s in the moderate stages of dementia now and if she is this angry now it’s kind of like where she’s going to go from here. And for our safety and for her safety it seems like there should be a better place to put her. We just don’t know where to look or how to find the best place for her and how to explain to her why we’re doing this.
Elayne Forgie: At the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center, one of the things that we do is, we work with caregivers and the entire family from now through end of life care. We will coach you and guide you through this journey through this decision making process, help you make good informed decisions – which will, of course, always be yours and then help you place your loved one in their new home – which may be a nursing home or a skilled nursing facility and then guide you through that transition process and then how do you take the next step? You know once you place your loved, one part of this whole nursing home decision is what do I do next? How do I take my life back? You know, how do I go out and have dinner without my Mom? How do I have fun and laugh again?
You know, it’s a process this whole nursing home decision. It’s not an event – the date may feel like an event but actually there’s a pre-placement process, placement process and a post-placement process. And all of us here at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center are here to guide and support you and your family through this journey. We have a licensed clinical social worker that we work with. We have aging life care professionals who have many, many years of experience in this genre.
I invite you, as well as those watching, to please reach out to us at (855) 476-7600 or email us below. Thank you so much and we’ll see you next week!