Page 29 - Senior Times South Central Michigan October 2020 - 27-10
P. 29

Senior Times - October 2020
Page 29
By: Donald A. Haney, Administrator, Thornapple Manor
After you have carefully researched your options, the cost, and various care settings, you are ready to move your elder into their new home. What can and should you expect in the first few days and weeks and thereafter?
Regardless of the time and care you used when making your decision this move will
be an adjustment for you, the elder, and the new staff that will provide day-to-day care; as much as 30 days for everyone to adjust and get to know each other.
Having cared for them with around-the-clock attention from one or a few family members to adjusting to a much larger team of non-family caregivers can be a tough transition. The first realization is that the elder’s new care team will not know them as deeply as you do and that it will take some time for the caregivers and the elder to develop their relationships. They and the elder will need some time to get to know each other. This is further hindered because they are not with them 24 hours a day but rather shift
Over time the staff will get to know the elder. Sometimes better than the family caregiver does at that point. As elders progress they, particularly those with dementia, can experience significant changes in personality and communication. These changes the family does not always understand or see during their visits. This means that building
a strong relationship with the facility caregivers will help the family understand what the elder
is experiencing as the disease progresses. It also helps the facility caregivers to understand the elder better as well. The facility caregivers often develop the ability to communicate with the
elder a bit easier and read their body language
for needs as they get to know them through these
  changes. Happy residents can become aggres- sive and angry. Others can use salty language they never would have used before. Some may become more affectionate. It can be difficult to accept and understand these changes but again, regular communication and attending care confer- ences with the facility caregivers is important to help understand and stay connected to the elder as they live in their new home.
  You may also expect that in this new setting caregivers will be just as attentive and responsive to the elder as you were at home. I firmly believe that those working within this industry do so because they care and have a passion for serving elders. However, they will not have just one elder to care for but many. From a few to 10 or more depending on the care setting and facility chosen. This means staff may be attending to one elder when another has a need to be addressed as well. So it may not be addressed as quickly as you may have at home.
a good and healthy way to maintain their range of motion, improving, or at least maintaining their quality of life. While the facility caregivers would absolutely love to prevent all accidents it is sim- ply not realistic.
 by shift. So it will take about 30 days or so for everyone to adjust and get to know each other.
After the adjustment period you should expect that the elder is cared for according to their care plan. The family and specifically their health- care advocate should be included in regular care conferences at least quarterly. Significant chang- es in condition, medications, incidents, weight changes, etc. should be communicated in a timely manner. And most importantly, you should feel comfortable asking questions about care and any concerns you may have. You are an important part of the elder’s care team and in many instanc- es their care advocate.
Staff work in teams and when one staff mem- ber is busy another can step in. But frequently all of the caregivers can be busy. Some elders may require two caregivers for care depending on their individual needs. Other staff may be busy with other residents or on break. This means a call light might take a few minutes to be answered. This is a frequent source of frustration for fami- lies not understanding why their elder had to wait for assistance to use the restroom or have another need met. It is rarely due to a lack of caring or effort by the staff. But it is the reality of spread- ing the cost of caregivers across many elders versus the very expensive cost of one-on-one care delivery.
Facilities use standards of care and manage- ment reports to monitor their systems to ensure care is delivered. For example they regularly monitor their call light systems and reports to determine the cause of unanswered call lights and ensure response is timely.
Unfortunately one thing no one can stop is accidents. Falls and other accidents will happen. Facilities work very hard to balance the safety of those in their care with their rights and abilities. Keeping them physically active, using muscles is
Ultimately wonderful thing can happen. Time family is able to spend together at the care facil- ity can be less about the everyday physical care aspects and more about quality time together. It can be about making new memories, reliving old life stories and sharing a time less stressful and more fulfilling together.
“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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