Deciding to start the search for an aged care facility for your loved one shouldn’t be taken lightly. It can be an emotional and confronting time, and there are heaps of pros and cons to weigh up when finding a home that best suits their personal needs.
What are some signs that my loved one is ready to move into an aged care facility?
If your loved one ticks any (or all) of the following boxes, the time might be right. It’s also important to note, though, that there are also a range of in-home services you can opt for if aged care doesn’t feel like the right fit just yet. Trust your instincts, and follow what you feel is best for them (and for their loved ones).
They’re experiencing difficulty in maintaining personal care
If your loved one is struggling to complete personal daily care routines – like washing their hair, showering, washing their clothes, taking regular medication, or maintaining a clean home – then it might be time to start the hunt for an aged care facility.
Aged care facilities have incredible teams who are trained to help your loved one take care of themselves; they’ll also manage the administering of medications, laundry, and personal hygiene assistance.
Their mobility is decreasing
Finding it challenging to get around – whether by car or by foot – can be another way to identify when it’s time to find a facility for your loved one. Aged care homes are typically an all-inclusive hub, making it easier for your loved one to gain access to everything they need without travelling or moving around too much. The staff at these homes are also able to assist residents in getting around – even if they just need a little help making their way to the dining room for meal time.
They’re experiencing depression and/or isolation
Loneliness can be debilitating, especially as our loved ones age and struggle to get out and about on their own. Aged care facilities are a great way to combat loneliness and isolation by providing residents with the ability to interact with others, make new friends, and engage in activities they’re interested in.
When starting your search for an aged care facility for your loved one, we’d recommend asking the staff for a sample activities timetable. This will help you determine if their social events are of interest to your loved one, and if you think their engagement in them would improve their mental health and feelings of social isolation.
They’re being forgetful and/or confused
If your loved one is becoming forgetful about everyday tasks – like eating a meal, or not remembering what they ate for their last meal – then finding an aged care home could be a perfect option for them. Chances are, if they’re forgetting to eat (or shower, or call someone), they’re likely also forgetting other important tasks like taking their medication or attending a doctor’s appointment.
Aged care facilities will ensure your loved one’s meals are made and eaten, and they’ll likely keep a record of what they’ve eaten too, so you can make sure they truly are being cared for properly.
Encouraging them to move into a facility: How to start the conversation
This can be the most challenging part, especially if your loved one feels as though they’re managing fine on their own. Our recommendation is to approach the conversation gently, kindly and empathetically, as the conversation can be a confronting (and sometimes embarrassing) one for your loved one.
- Make sure you reassure them that you simply want to make a plan, and that making a plan doesn’t mean it has to be executed. It’ll just be a plan that’s there when/if they need it.
- Reassure them that moving into an aged care facility isn’t embarrassing or something to be ashamed of. It can be a lovely way to experience their golden years, and if they have friends (or a partner) who might like to move in with them, their experience can be made all that more easier and enjoyable.
- Have the conversation in private, and not while the entire extended family is around. Privacy and discretion are always the best policy, especially if you’ve never had a conversation around aged care with them before.
- Give your loved one the opportunity to express how they feel, and make sure you take their feelings into account. Afterall, you don’t want to force anyone to do anything they don’t want to – and assuring them you’re wanting to do what’s best for them is essential.
Once they’ve agreed to look into an aged care facility, what happens?
Well, that’s definitely something worth celebrating! Why? Because you’re now able to ensure your loved one is taken care of as they get older.
The first step is to start reaching out to local aged care facilities – ask them for pricing and an information pamphlet.
Next, shortlist the aged care homes you’ve received information from, and take note of their response times and process (this can tell you a lot about the home, its team, and how it operates).
Once you’ve created a shortlist (there’s no magic number for this), book a time to tour the facility with your loved one. Including them in the process if they’re willing and able to can be a really important part of the process, and allows them to feel a little more in control of their future.
Throughout the tour, make sure you ask as many questions as you need to! It can even be a good idea to create a list of questions to ask so you know exactly what information you’ll need when you visit the facility.
When your loved one (and you) have decided on a desired new home, it’s important to let their doctors, insurance providers, government authorities, legal representatives and allied health professionals know that they’ll be moving.
And then, finally, it’ll be time to start getting their affairs in order and pack up their home (which can be the most challenging and time-consuming job of all, but an important job nonetheless).
Moving into an aged care facility doesn’t have to feel upsetting for your loved one. It can be a really exciting time for them as they move into a new life stage; they’ll be able to meet new like-minded people, engage in activities they might not otherwise have had access to, and have their meals and laundry attended to. Their golden years don’t have to feel difficult, and aged care homes are here to help make these years an easier, more comfortable and enjoyable one for both your loved one, and you.
If you are helping your loved one move into the next stage of life, they might also like to consider putting a funeral plan in place. Prepaying their cremation means that everyone is on the same page when the time comes, and nobody is left to pay the bill. Speak with a dedicated funeral planner today on 1300 945 533.