When the Realization Hits

There comes a time in the life of a caregiver when it is painfully clear things can’t go on as they are.

This is where I found myself after several years of utilizing senior centers and even adult day care outlived their usefulness.

In my husband’s regular cancer followup, his specialist took several looks at me, the caregiver, and after discussing blood work and his general condition turned her focus on me.

She said, “You’re in trouble here; you need to find an Assisted Living place close to where you live.”

She knew I had been a 24/7 caregiver for 13 years.

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She had also followed his case for about 7 years, so she felt confident in her observations about “caregiver wear-out” and the increasing challenges presented by his condition.

Then and there, she spoke to him about the need for more help and he listened but gave no further response, probably hoping it would all go away.

As a caregiver, I had just gone through the process of realizing that placement is the right thing for my loved one.

After doing research and seeking professional counsel, it was time to embark on the road of making it a positive experience for the patient.

Caregiver Concerns

When I reached that point I was worried that my husband would feel rejected or displaced, so I devised a series of steps to lead him gently into acceptance of Assisted Living.

Being a retired teacher, this successive approximations approach made sense to me.

First, I weepingly told him over several days when he fell that I could not keep it up and that I was wearing out and losing my health.

This was right after three EMTs pulled him out of the bathtub—not once, but several times.

This event was becoming a habit. I spoke till I knew he was understanding.

Then I went to do some work and let him process that.

A Process to Introduce the Idea of Placement

A week later I prearranged with a good friend of ours to sit by him as we ate lunch after church.

I was strategically placed at the other end of the table.

I knew he respected her, so she asked him if he’d noticed that his wife was wearing out.

He was rather noncommittal but he did hear her and seemed to be processing that information.

To support this coordinated effort of enlisting help from friends and family I used the weekdays in between these social events to put out one clear message to him.

I focused on how I needed his help rather than his weaknesses. The message involved my need to regain and retain my health since it was getting too hard for me.

The next week I scheduled him to drop by and see our minister before services.

As they chatted she brought up the problem, saying his wife was in over her head.

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He became concerned. (Even though his life sphere had grown smaller, he did have a deep love and caring for his wife.)

The reverend said she’d heard his Doctor recommended a great Assisted Living place not far from home so I as his wife could visit more often.

The minister allowed him to express his concerns that he would miss his wife.

Then at our usual after church lunch, his male buddies got him to talk about it and voiced their approval and support of the idea.

When my hubby said, “My wife is kicking me out” his good friend looked him right in the eye and countered with, “No! She’s taking care of you.”

Staying with One Clear Message

 

That day in the car on the way home we discussed the matter.

I, as his spouse and caregiver, had to stay strong and point out the positive to be gained from placement.

I reiterated to him that my doctors were telling me I must start taking care of myself.

Also, I reminded him that this was what his own doctors recommended.

He then expressed sadness and empathy that I was having health issues.

That gave me the opening to tell him how his allowing others to do some of the caregiving would help me.

He seemed to be okay with that.

The next week we went for a meeting at Williamsburg Landing, the assisted living place I had chosen after much research and many site visits.

The wonderful director was most helpful and took him on a tour, introducing him to people as we walked around the facility.

Value of Planning Ahead if Placement May Be Down the Road

There is no doubt that long-term care insurance has made a momentous difference in our lives.

We had spent down most of our retirement funds for copays and other medical expenses, and when it was time to utilize the long-term care insurance it was truly a godsend.

If you are in a position to make that decision to start or continue a long-term care insurance policy, think long and hard before you say no since it’s worth its weight in gold.

I faithfully paid my long-term care premiums even when I had to cut back on groceries because watching Suze Orman had convinced me of its importance.

Now my first-hand experience verifies the value of having somewhere to turn when things become too challenging for you to handle at home.

Also, long-term care insurance can help with continuing care at home to allow living at home for as long as possible.banner-papa-blogs

If that isn’t an option schedule a meeting with a qualified placement counselor or social worker and consider places close to you so visitation will occur more often.

In conclusion, caregivers are usually mentally and physically exhausted when they reach the point to finally decide to explore placement, so a multi-step plan could make the process much easier.

At that time they are confronted with the need to turn it into a good experience for all. Above are some of the ideas which worked for my husband.

It was worth all the effort to ensure that he had a positive transition into assisted living.

The good people at joinpapa.com can pitch in to help in the transition, providing respite, companionship, etc while the caregiver visits various facilities or seeks consultation.

A Papa Pal could make this journey of change a bit easier for you. And they can even drop by the assisted living center to provide companionship and other services for you there.

Placement may be a hard choice, but when it is necessary, you can find your way through it and come out happy with the result.

 

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