ARTICLE: Transitioning Care of a Loved One

Transitioning Care of a Loved One

Have you been thinking about transitioning your parent to a care facility or a nursing home?  Many of us have gone through this process and we know it is not an easy matter, no matter how badly it is needed.  Often your parent does not want to leave the home he has lived in for so many years, especially when the move means a new, unfamiliar environment, and a loss of independence.

So, how can you help someone transition to a care facility?  Read on for some tips:

  1. Gather the family for the conversation.  Historically, families cared for their elders at home, but things are different now and many families cannot provide in-home care.  Still, caregiving should be a family decision when at all possible.  Coming together to make a family decision about the safety, wellbeing, and care of your parent will help ease the transition.  Then, when having the conversation with him, be careful to not make him feel like you are taking away his decision-making or independence.  Try to present the options with a focus on love, safety, and a concern for his preferences.
  2. Frame the conversation with the benefits.  Moving into an independent living, assisted living or long-term care facility can come with some great benefits.  Tiresome tasks like cooking, cleaning and laundry are usually provided!  Landscaping and lawn maintenance is gone forever!  Neighbors are much closer.  Entertainment is scheduled and provided.  There may also be drivers who will take residents around town to complete their errands so driving in traffic is a thing of the past.
  3. Get a professional assessment.  First, your parent’s doctor might be the initial person to assess the amount of care he needs but also there are great companies in the area with nurses who can help you determine the level of care.  Elder Law attorneys are immersed in the senior community and they can make a recommendation to either a social worker, counselor, facility, or assessment service.
  4. Visit facilities.  The world is different during a pandemic.  Most nursing homes were completely closed to the public and to families for many months this year.  However, things are starting to change, and facilities are adopting new procedures to keep everyone safe.  Visiting a facility is crucial to your decision.  You will want to see the space, watch the caregivers, and see for yourself if the residents are happy.  Keep in mind, newer is not always better.  Many of our clients have been very happy with their stay at an older, less glamorous nursing home!  It is all about the caregiving and the service.
  5. Fill the space with treasures.  Moving from a multi-bedroom home to a care facility can be a major change in space.  Obviously, much of your parent’s furniture will not make the move but it is crucial to transition the most loved items and fill the space with his favorite things so it feels more like home.
  6. Stay in touch.  Moving to a new city is rough for anyone, and this change for your parent will be similar.  His world will likely get much smaller and he will need your support more than ever.  Continue to visit and call frequently.  Be involved in his care as much as you can.  Make sure the facility knows you and that you are always available if there is a problem.  Be his advocate and speak up if he has an issue.  Make sure he has everything he needs to be happy and thrive in his new space.

At Oklahoma Senior Law, we see families who are concerned about someone who is already in long-term care but also families who are considering a move for mom or dad and are worrying about the transition.   We help with the legal side by helping a senior get a power of attorney, creating a will or trust when appropriate, or qualifying for Medicaid benefits to pay for the cost of long-term care.  We also discuss the best ways to transition to long-term care and the resources available for Oklahoma families.

If you have concerns about a parent or loved one needing long-term care or Medicaid benefits available for them, contact us! 918-901-7777

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