Your role as a carer does not necessarily end if the person you’re looking after moves to an aged care home. Even after moving them into a care facility, you might still spend a lot of time there, providing care and giving them company.
However, even when moving into an aged care facility may be considered the best option for your loved one, you may encounter some uncomfortable concerns.
Your daily schedule and way of life will change. You might also feel guilty or become uncertain about your decision. You might also miss being with your loved one while simultaneously feeling relieved to have others share in your role as a carer.
To quell your doubts and help you feel more confident in the choice you’ve made, here’s some vital information about caring for someone in an aged care home.
Signs your loved one will benefit from living in an aged care home
Moving a loved one into an aged care home can be a stressful, emotional, and ambivalent experience — both for the person making the move and their family, friends, and carers.
If you’re unsure whether a move to an aged care home will benefit your loved one, the following are indicators that they might be better off relocating to an assisted living facility:
- Considerable mobility challenges
- Severe incontinence issues
- Problematic behaviour (e.g., wandering away or getting lost)
- Serious communication concerns
- Problems with planning, remembering, and thinking
Though every person’s circumstances are unique, it’s perfectly acceptable for you to experience doubts and wonder:
- Will my loved one be getting the attention they need?
- Will people assume I abandoned my loved one?
- Have I done all I could to prevent this?
- Does my decision make me a failure?
- When I’m not as busy, what am I supposed to do?
Though it may be challenging, it’s crucial to be realistic and decide based on what’s best for everyone, including your loved one and yourself.
The decision of whether the burden of care is too much for you to handle must be made by you. To help you cope with feelings of regret, guilt, sadness and fear:
- Speak to someone who will listen well.
- Get help with managing your emotions.
- Think about getting counselling for carers.
Stay involved in your loved one’s care
Once the person you’ve been caring for moves into an aged care home, you can continue to support and care for them.
Most likely, you’ll be providing care in collaboration with medical experts. This could occasionally be challenging, especially if you haven’t worked with health professionals before.
You may also want to adopt a mindset that you’re an essential member of a team of carers. Along with the patient’s doctor and other medical professionals, your carer team may also comprise nurses and social workers.
Remember, you’re an essential team member, and you play a crucial role in the total care of your loved one. To stay in the loop, consider these tips:
- Familiarise yourself with the names of and get essential details about the other members of your loved one’s care team.
- Take detailed notes about any discussions or concerns about your loved one, or bring someone along to lend an ear.
- Speak up and ask questions.
- Keep a list of your loved one’s health concerns and share these with the other carers.
- Clarify information (including diagnoses or medications) and have it documented for accuracy.
Remember, you can stay involved in the care of your loved one for as long as possible.
So, give yourself a pat on the back and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.