I am passionate about aging in place (or finding the next best option if aging in place is not possible) because I believe that the quality of life can be enhanced with appropriate systems and safety nets, even with the additional challenges that the elder population may face. We are living longer – therefore, sustaining quality of life is even more important than ever to look at and address for this extended period of “senior years.”
The reality regarding life at a nursing home (even a top-rated nursing home) is that there is no comparison in regard to the difference in setting and the amount of one-to-one attention one receives if one is able to remain at home with a private caregiver. It is true that there may be circumstances due to finances and amount of care needed which may make it necessary to consider nursing home placement, but with insight into what can happen in the future one would be best served by pre-planning for the future and looking and planning for the best case- worse case scenarios.
All nursing homes are not alike, and before a crisis occurs it would be best to select which nursing homes would benefit ones needs and then make sure that the individual has an application into their nursing homes of choice. This does not change the number one objective to remain at home successfully, if at all possible.
Although I feel home or an arrangement more “similar to home” is the best option, I do realize it is not always possible. It is for this reason that, although I facilitate services to allow individuals to remain at home, I always encourage nursing home applications to be submitted to the highest quality nursing homes in their vicinity or their adult children’s vicinity. I look at it as an insurance policy to the address what most of my clients feel is the worst case scenario which is nursing home placement. My ultimate goal is to insure the least restrictive setting and zoning in on what is important to the client and the family as they age. I am extremely passionate about this because I have seen what can result from putting in even small changes to adapt to the increased needs. I have seen my clients and their families feel so overwhelmed and helpless and with brief counseling, encouragement, support and guidance in regard to what systems need to be in place to best serve their needs; life improves and they realize that life does not have to change that drastically. Slowly making changes early on can insure a greater period of time with little to no crisis.
So many of our communities have tremendous services to offer as one ages; all too often the elder individual and their families are unaware of the resources available to them. Education is invaluable and very much part of how I try to assist with aging in place. As a geriatric care manager with many years of experience behind me, I feel there is always hope, there are always possibilities, and it is beyond rewarding to see the changes that can be made to improve quality of life even when the most difficult challenges are thrown one’s way.
For information on services available to seniors in Fairfield County - please request a copy of the Senior GO TO Guide from us. You can find my article about Geriatric Care Managers on page 20 of the Guide.