At some point, all of us are likely to have to make a choice on how we meet the needs of our aging parents. Since only a few of us are able to set aside the time and energy needed to provide full-time care in our own home, we are most likely to look at finding a place for them in a care facility, more commonly referred to as a nursing home. However, it’s important to make sure that we still keep in contact with them for a variety of reasons.
The real danger of isolation
The first and best reason to make frequent visits a part of your routine is simply to make sure that you are still involved in your loved one’s life and they are still part of yours. Isolation is a very prevalent and growing problem in the older population, and those who live in care facilities tend to experience it even more. Isolation can lead to increased feelings of stress and depression but has also been shown to have a link to an increased risk of developing certain types of dementia. As such, it is essential that your loved ones still feel a connection to the community and their family. Aside from simply making contact yourself, you can help encourage them to get involved with group activities in the facility if they’re taking a while to adjust.
Ensuring their safety
Of course, we have all heard, at one point or another, some new stories or anecdotes about the kinds of neglect and abuse that can happen at the hands of carers. Most care providers work hard to ensure the safety of their residents and clients, but that doesn’t mean we should be in dark about the risk until it’s too late to do anything to stop it. You can take measures to identify nursing home neglect. Signs of unexplained physical injury, bedsores and withdrawal (such as lack of communication, easier agitation, and unusual behaviors) can be signs of severe abuse or neglect that you should act on as soon as possible.
Adjusting their care
Even if your loved one is safe and relatively happy within their new environment, they may still need you to occasionally act in their interests. You may find it a lot easier to advocate for them than they would. Talk to your loved ones about the kind of help that they might feel that they need. It could be that there are some aspects of life in the nursing home that they would rather change but haven’t spoken up about it themselves. Of course, if you find that the facility isn’t able to provide the kind of care that they want or need, you might want to consider whether you should change care providers move them into a place that is better suited to their needs.
If you want to make sure that your elderly loved one is being treated with the care and compassion they deserve, it’s important to continue making the effort to check on them.