The Decision to Move your Elderly Relative into your Home.
Are you thinking about moving an elderly relative into your home? At Vermont Aged Care we know that, sometimes, the residents who come to join us have spent a number of years living with the family first. That is why we would like to share some helpful tips with you if you are considering entering into that arrangement.
The practicalities of the move.
There are a lot of things to consider and good planning will help the plan to result in success. For instance, the age of your loved one, their physical and mental condition and your present living conditions. If your elderly relative is still reasonably healthy and active it will be a much easier transition. However, if they are frail, unwell physically or mentally, a lot more preparation will need to be entered into.
The first step is to have an open and friendly chat. Whether you are initiating the move or they are, barriers will come down over good communication. You need to explain why you think they should move in with you. Conversely, they need to tell you why they would like to move in with you. Once this initial step is agreed upon, you can move on to discussing practicalities.
For instance, is your current home suitable to welcome not just another occupant but an elderly one? Can it be adapted to this end? Or, would it be better to sell your current home and buy a larger, or more suitable, one? Alterations would include things such as a bedroom that just needs remodelling. Otherwise, two of the children might consider sharing for the sake of granddad or grandma. Talking to the children and making sure they feel involved will avoid any upsets. An important point is that an elderly person should avoid staircases. Therefore a ground floor room would be the best choice.
Personal space is important.
Next, try to bring over as many of their personal possessions as you can. Their own bed maybe? How about their favourite chair. And of course, books and music, photographs and mementos will help them to settle in with hopefully a reduced sense of loss. Be prepared to surround them with lots of affection and signs of welcome to minimise sadness and shock. Keep everything very positive and upbeat until the settling in period is over. Install any hand rails, particularly in the bathroom and toilet, as necessary to keep them safe from falls. Make clear pathways between their bedroom and the bathroom and toilet. Leave lights on at night. Pay particular attention to medication and dietary needs. And last but not least, make sure everybody pitches in and helps. Make sure the elderly person knows they are welcome and the whole family is looking forward to their arrival.
Remember to organise transportation if there is a need. Otherwise, the child of the elderly relative could end up carrying too much of the load and the result could be burnout or carer fatigue.
Discuss finances before the move. Although some people might think this is an indelicate subject to bring up, it is a vital one. After all, daily living costs money. Everyone understands that. Otherwise, leaving that important discussion until later could result in embarrassment and discomfort. Also, remember to look at all important documents. For instance, their Will, their Living Will, Powers of Attorney if necessary, and any other legal or banking documents they might need help with. Reassure them that this is not a bother for you and you are happy to accompany them on important meetings.
The benefits to the family.
The benefits to the family should balance out with the extra work involved. For instance, this may be the only opportunity in today’s satellite family for the children to get to know their grandparent really well. Grandparents have so many memories of the family, and stories to tell, and the time to tell them! They might be well enough to babysit, giving mum and dad a bit of extra alone time. Encourage them to invite their friends over so that they don’t feel cut off from their old lives. Older relatives often have experience with gardening, sewing, crafts or cooking that can result in joyful family sessions. Grandma was often the one who knew how to make jam and how to knit.
Granddad will most likely be delighted to share boys’ stuff such as carpentry, chess and board games and sports talk. People often forget that this is how families used to live. And that it was not all about illness and inconvenience. The old tribal ways of the extended family were often a joy and not a burden. Television cannot replace family togetherness and sharing. Don’t they say that a burden shared is a burden halved? In today’s busy work model, these ancient values have sometimes been pushed out of the way. This is especially true of city living. If an elderly relative finds themselves alone and in need of assistance, who better to help out in the first instance. Later on, there may be a need for them to move into assisted care. That is why, the opportunity for some family together time is so precious.
1 ounce of preparation…
In conclusion, good communication, good planning and preparation are sure to lead to a successful result. With goodwill, love and everybody on board, this new situation need not be a difficult hurdle to overcome. After all, we mustn’t forget we will all be old one day. Moreover, the children will see a living example of how families help each other out. They will learn the meaning of adaptability and sacrifice, which is the glue that holds families together.
New and lovely memories can be created that will last for generations to come.
This blog is intended to provide helpful advice. Please speak with your family GP for personalised information or, for specialist advice & support in Melbourne Australia, please contact VERMONT AGED CARE: