Is it time for you to seek out long-term nursing care? It’s a difficult choice to make and to deal with. Read this for tips on how to cope with your decision.
Getting older is no cake walk, though it beats the alternative.
As we age often there are things we can’t do for ourselves anymore such as driving, easily getting around or even remembering why we walked into a room.
Sometimes it goes beyond the occasional need for assistance or bout of forgetfulness. For many there comes the time when it’s just not safe to go it alone and not have someone there to help out when needed.
Long-term nursing care is an option that most of us eventually have to consider for ourselves or a loved one.
It can be a difficult decision to come to terms with but it doesn’t have to be a frightening process.
Here are some tips to help you cope with the decision to seek long-term nursing care.
Assess Your Needs Honestly
We all get by with a little help from our friends. But sometimes no matter how loving and attentive family and friends are, you need more help than they can safely provide.
Some signs that long-term nursing care may be the right decision are:
Decline in Hygiene
Often as one’s ability and mobility decline so does their hygiene. This may be for physical or mental health reasons. There’s no shame in needing help and it’s important to get it when it comes to hygiene and activities of daily living.
Not being able to care for one’s self can lead to further health complications and conditions such as infections, illnesses, and depression.
A Decline in Mental Health
More than 2 million Americans over the age of 65 suffer from depression. While depression is rampant in the older generation 68% of them know very little or absolutely nothing about the condition.
Depression can often go unrecognized and untreated leaving the individual to spiral into a melancholy and sad isolation from the world and experience a diminished quality of life.
Long-term nursing care can provide socialization and provide medical and mental health support that may not be possible at home.
Physical and emotional needs can be monitored and met by the attentive staff there to help more consistently and professionally than family would be able to.
Memory and Organization Decline
We all occasionally forget an appointment or have a bill payment slip our minds. When these instances are interfering with daily life and creating problems on a regular basis you may benefit from long-term nursing care.
Safety can also become an issue with memory decline. Forgetting to turn off the stove or wandering the streets looking for something familiar can have devastating consequences.
Mobility issues can be dealt with through adapting your home if it’s just a question of stairs being difficult to climb or activities are a little more difficult to complete.
When activities of daily living become nearly impossible or a safety risk when performed alone, you may need long-term nursing care.
Knowledge is Power with Long-Term Nursing Care
Change is scary. It’s often the unknown that paralyzes us with fear. The more you know the better-informed decisions you can make and the less frightening the process will be.
Talk to friends, family, health professionals and trusted professionals about options they recommend.
Learn more about the various long-term nursing care facilities in your area. Go for a tour, ask questions and make a list of positive and negative points about each one.
The government has a tool to help compare care facilities across the country.
Gather as much information as you can about the facility, staff ratios, services and financial details to assist you in making the right choice for you.
After the Choice is Made
The right choice isn’t always the easiest and this is especially true when it involves your life changing in a major way like going into a long-term nursing care facility.
It can be quite a blow to one’s self-esteem to have to admit they can’t do the things they used to. There’s no shame in needing help but it can be a struggle to accept that you do.
There are some things you can do for your self-esteem and emotional health as you adjust to your new reality.
Remember What You Love and Do What You Can
You may have slowed down a bit but you are still you, you have tons to offer and lots of things you can still do.
Remember what you love, who you love, and why you do. Long-term nursing care can help you find joy in the journey again. Many have extensive recreation and occupational therapy programs to help you still do the things you love.
There are ways to stay connected to your hobbies and to your loved ones. Many facilities have guest rooms where out of town loved ones can come and dine with you or stay overnight to visit.
Share Your Talents and Find New Ones
Ensure you let staff know what your hobbies and favorites activities are. They can help you find ways to still enjoy many of the things you love to do.
Music, art, games, and crafts are activities many facilities will offer in a group and individual settings.
Participate, share your talents with other residents and find a purpose and joy in each day.
Don’t assume you’re done doing the things you love. In fact, you may have a chance to take up hobbies you haven’t been able to enjoy for years at home.
You’ll have the opportunity to try new activities and hobbies you’ve never thought of delving into before.
Join in activities that are offered, get to know the other residents and expand your horizons by trying new things and finding new ways to enjoy favorite pastimes from years gone by.
Find the Joy in Each Day and Take It One Day at a Time
Change is scary and if you focus on the negatives of what you are leaving behind it can seem overwhelming. Try to focus on the joys of each day by giving yourself positive things to look forward to.
It takes time to adjust. Take the changes one day at a time and talk about your feelings when they come up. Long-term nursing care can be the best decision you ever made for your emotional and physical health.
For more articles on taking care of your physical and emotional health check out our blog.