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Sometimes You Need to Let Go…For Your Loved One’s Sake and Yours

No one ever likes the idea of placing their loved one in a senior living community. But sometimes an observation from a non-family member and unbiased third party like ADSLA can bring another perspective into light.

My client was a child of elderly parents in their very late 80s and mid-90s, respectively. One parent had issues with dementia and needed serious help with toileting and bathing, including lifting. The more independent spouse, who had health issues too, insisted upon completing these tasks for reasons that I have heard many times before: e.g., “We don’t want in-home care because we do not want anyone in our house.” Or “I don’t want my spouse placed in a senior living community when I can do this.” And “Money is an issue.” While sympathetic to such common reasons and the spirit of love and commitment behind them, I observed that the caregiving spouse was very small in stature and looked tired and frail. I had no idea how they were completing the caregiving tasks without getting hurt. Needless to say, something needed to be done for both parents’ well-being.

My client had arranged for me to meet the couple via a Zoom call. When I observed the senior with dementia, I found that by engaging them in conversation that they loved to talk about their hobbies and seemed to be thrilled to have someone to talk to. The senior was very talkative and social. In contrast, the person doing the caregiving looked very fatigued and frail. In addition, I learned there was another adult child living with the couple who supposedly sat with the person with dementia (PWD) but wasn’t engaging in any of the caregiving. When I suggested that it might be a good idea to hire a caregiver who could engage in conversations with the PWD about their beloved hobbies, I received pushback from the resident child who said, “I can do that.” I also pointed out that a hired caregiver could provide an opportunity for the caregiving spouse to take time for respite and freely do whatever they wanted to do for several hours each day. Again, the caregiving spouse objected, claiming “I really don’t need that.”

In a subsequent conversation with the child who hired me, I shared my personal and professional opinion that the parent with dementia would be better off in a Memory Care unit where structured activities could be provided to engage the person and draw out the joy and sociability I had observed. At that point my client agreed with me and confessed that both the caregiving spouse and the resident sibling had sometimes threatened to move out – such was the stress of the situation.

I quickly researched and compiled a comparison between what the costs of non-medical licensed in-home care would be versus placement in a community. It turned out that placement would be less expensive than hiring a live-in caregiver. And I discovered that the community that I suggested, which fit the couple’s religious preferences, was one they really liked.

In this case, members of a family were striving to care for the senior with dementia at home for as long as possible. While this was an admirable goal, it was beginning to pose increasing non-monetary costs, not only upon the elderly caregiver who was tiny and frail, but also upon the senior with dementia, who clearly “lit up” at the opportunity to talk about hobbies and other enjoyable topics. Finally, having “seen the light” so to speak, this family was able to implement a brighter plan for everyone with ADSLA’s expert help.

The moral of the story? You don’t have to go it alone. ADSLA’s informed, independent, third-party analyses can help you and your family to identify your best options.

Do you need a second opinion? Let Andrea Donovan Senior Living Advisors help. Call us at (708) 415-2934 or email us. Please visit our website. Please watch my video to learn how the process works and learn what some clients have to say.