Page 23 - Senior Times South Central Michigan August 2020 - 27-08
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Senior Times - August 2020 Page 23
By: Donald A Haney, Administrator, Thornapple Manor
We’ve all read in the news the alert for a missing dementia person. I have no doubt family thought they were still independent and doing fine and they don’t need a nurse to care for them. And that may be, but 24 hour monitoring and care was probably a bit over- do. Choosing a congregate care setting isn’t always about medical care and dispensing medicine but more about providing a warm, caring, and compassionate environment that will protect the elder from harm while allow- ing them to be the best version of their self they can be.
An additional consideration is assessing the caregiver’s needs and capabilities them- selves. I think it is easy to compare our gen- eration with previous generations. The new name for the baby boomers seems to be the sandwich generation. Responsible for caring for elderly parents while having kids and sometimes their grandkids under their care
as well, all while working full-time. Many
in these situations are not equipped emotion- ally to provide the best care possible for an elder but feel a strong sense of responsibility to keep them home and with them as their grandparents and great-grandparents have done. But the reality is that historically they didn’t have to care for ailing parents and grandparents for five or ten years. Our med- ical advances have been great for extending our life spans and keeping us healthier lon- ger. But it can also mean caring for elders
far longer than in previous generations. The stress and emotional toll for providing long term care will take a toll on any caregiver.
If frequent respite can be provided it may be manageable. However, without those breaks the quality of life for the entire household
is likely to decline as time goes by. The old saying is so true; you cannot care for others if you do not care for you too.
So, who can help with the decision-mak- ing? Is there a service for evaluating our elder and the local care settings and options and making a recommendation? I was recent- ly helping some extended family members wrestle with these very decisions. They asked me more than once is there a case manager to
  When I am asked about setting and care services for loved ones my message is simple. There is no right answer. All you need are the right questions to ask.
call who can walk us through this process. I had to explain that case managers are focused on the priorities of their own organization. And that is perfectly fine when those prior- ities and yours are in alignment. But when they are not, you need to be aware that they will make decisions based on their priorities, not necessarily yours.
  There are pros and cons to all care settings and care givers, so the right
So I recommend taking time well before the need arises to begin considering care options, benefits, and shortcomings. Once an acute condition happens you may have a few days or a few hours to decide what you need to do. Taking the time to know your options and identifying your preferred choices for each type of care setting will make that deci- sion much easier when the time comes.
choice is the choice that considers all of those options and most importantly the care needs of the elder.
There is no doubt that choosing a care set- ting outside the home is extremely difficult - one that many put off until the point well past when the decision should have been made or when an acute medical condition occurs.
Publisher’s Note: The need for long-term care is something that most adults hope to avoid but the likelihood for care increas-
es as longevity increases. The options are great, with a vast array of services available; choosing the right one for you or a loved one is made easier with a little investment of your time.
What are the most important consid- erations when choosing a care setting? Of course cost is important, but of greater importance is the care needs of the indi- vidual.
  Each setting can be the most cost effective decision given the care needs of that individ- ual. For example, the most costly care setting for an individual that requires around the clock setting would be staying home. Why? The cost of care is entirely the responsibility of one individual. Those needing around the clock supervision or care is most efficient when shared across several elders.
 The ultimate challenge is determining when 24-hour care is needed and that care
is not available in the current home. When living with other family members the need for 24-hour care may be very affordable, but when the elder is living alone a congregate living solution may be the most cost efficient. Even better, these settings can lead to an improvement in health. Why? Simple, social- ization.
The time to start looking for a long-term care solution is before you need or want
it. This will allow for the person ultimately needing care, as well as family members, to make decisions together. Making intention- al choices rather than ones that are limited by your options in a more urgent situation allows for the most practical adjustments and comfortable transition. The 2020 South Central Michigan Senior Housing Directory can help you get started but there is nothing like a visit to area facilities and home care agencies for a full picture of what options are available. Visit several locations, narrow your interests, and visit again. The Senior Housing Directory shares a checklist to help you design your long term care solution starting on page 28. You can view it online at Next click on the Housing Directory cover for the full publication. The directory also addresses the different levels of care, covering costs, legal issues, and pro- vides several listings based on care levels to get started.
Now that we’ve all had a small taste of being confined to home with just our loved ones we get a sense of an elder home alone with no human contact or activities.
  Many in these cases move into a congre- gate living setting and begin friendships, bridge clubs, going to the dining room, and other activities. This leads to more physical activity and a much healthier environment. It is not unusual at all to see elders improve over their first few months after such a change in living conditions.
So the most difficult decision to make is when is around the clock care required? And there really is no easy answer. The trick is to take a step back, remove emotion as much as possible, and see if the time is right.
“The admission’s gal helped me find the care I needed for my mom, and it wasn’t even with Thornapple Manor, yet! Thank you so much for helping me find the perfect place for my mom’s needs.” Specializing in short-term inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, 24-hour skilled memory and long-term care. 269-945-2407

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