~~~ “When adult children send their aging parents to a senior home.” ~~~
As we grow older, so would our parents. Modern day life is fast paced, hectic, sometimes brutally fast, in the brink of an eye, our parents become frail, weak, sometimes incoherent in their speeches, sometimes they seem confused, depressed, or simply retreat in their thoughts and into their shells.
In the heart of our hearts, we said to our selves, “Perhaps it is time to find a home for them to live out their twilight years, because it is no longer safe for them to live on their own.” But how?
It becomes a dilemma ! How to tell our parents that it is time to settle into another chapter of their lives which inevitably will lead to live in a senior home? How to tell them that they need to say good bye to the world they used to know?
It is gut wrenching, hard to comprehend, as in my case, my mother’s physical decline happens slowly, in 2013, she started slowing down a fair bit, and started shuffling her feet when walking, I notice that sort of movement is typical in seniors, for subconsciously they are afraid of falling, so they walk in a way to ensure that their feet are in constant contacts with the ground that they are standing on.
Then it comes the falling, the bruising on their wrists, faces, or legs when they inadvertently hit some hard surface, the non verbal stares when we speak with them. Then the final diagnostic outcome from the family GP that they might have a mild form of dementia, the very beginning of the “long good bye”.
The very first steps the family GP would do for seniors is to engage the attention and service of the “Community Health Care” service. They will come pay an assessment visit, assign the parent (or parents) a Case Manager”. This person will visit the senior at either a six months schedule or as required, depends on the severity the deterioration of our parents are. Initially the changes can be hardly noticeable, differently between individual and individual.
Then the falling down or shakiness of the limbs become more pronoun. In my mother’s case, it was her third fall within two years that really hits home. I was just returning home from work when her home care provider Wendy called, mom has fallen and was too weak getting up to answer the door. Ambulance was called, one of the paramedics in attendance told me that she would be recommending mom be placed in a care home once she is discharged from the hospital which she stays for observation. The rest is history.
She is now in a Care Home run by competent, caring health care professionals. I am lucky because her new Home is located close by, she is extremely fortunate that she is able to receive the 24/7 continuous care that she needs, for her physical safety, and daily meals that she is no longer capable of preparing them herself.
Indeed there will be huge adjustments, and all the things she was familiar with. All her worldly belongings got reduced to a single bed, a bed side table, a small cloth closet, in extreme case the resident (the senior who lives in Care Home are so termed ) will travel from the bed to the bath room or the commo, being wheel chaired to and from the dinning hall.
It is a daunting task for anyone to put up a brave face under this circumstances.
I feel deeply for my mother, and I don’t want to see her spending her twilight years alone in a care home that she might loathe. I am sure many adult children who visit their parents feeling guilt and sadness after visits. But what are our choices?