Respect & Sensitivity Necessary in Making a Senior Care Decision

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 03 August 2011

Be prepared for a potentially rough road when you/your family must make a decision about senior care, be it the first move or a transition into a different level of care.

Depending on how many are involved in the decision-making process (including those who are concerned for the individual making the transition), things can get tricky, as family members and friends typically have their own ideas about what’s best.

It may be impossible to avoid disagreements and differences of opinion, but there are basic principles that all parties involved should abide by in order to prevent major turmoil, hurtful blame, and other negative outcomes.

In a blog post for Emeritus Senior Living, Dr. Vicki Rackner, MD, offered readers 5 tips for banishing blame, a great piece for families to review before, during and after the transition process. Siblings often tend blame each other for a parent’s decline, particularly if the individual is in denial about the reality of a parent’s care needs.

When siblings and spouses disagree about next steps, the individual at the center of the decision is caught in the middle – or even worse, overlooked. Even though the quarreling members may have the best of intentions, it is absolutely crucial to remember who is making the move, to respect their opinion above all, and to be sensitive to/supportive through the major life change they are facing.

Read more about this topic here.

There are 4 Comments about this post

  1. Edward P. Budd says,

    The individual that is to be moved from his home (usually the house is the elder’s property) must know ahead of time the status of the residents. Are they able to walk and be moble enough to move about (cane, walker wheel chair is O K)? What is the food like? What is the final cost, rent, utilities,cable, phone etc? Is your elder going to take care of medications ? All of the little things should be explained before move, to make it more confortable.


    on 09 August 2011 / 4:01 PM

  2. Great points, Edward. These are all very important factors to consider before making the move. Thanks for sharing and for stopping by the blog!


    on 09 August 2011 / 4:12 PM

  3. A loving daughter says,

    My mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer. She is quite lucid except she has zero short term memory. My dad takes care of her in the home they’ve lived in for 40+ years. Dad is not particularly healthy himself (diabetes, pacemaker,high blood pressure). Mom REFUSES any sort of help in the house. She knows she has a memory problem but does not remember or acknowledge that it is alzheimer (she will say she doesn’t have alzheimer and isn’t ready for “the home”). Mom doesn’t remember things long enough to have a discussion that would involve discussing “what if” options (what if dad can’t be at home due to an accident). Dad is showing lots of caregiver stress and leaving the house is getting harder. He’s not willing to challenge mom’s veto on in house help, and mom doesn’t want to leave the house to live elsewhere (I think she knows that she functions on auto pilot knowing where things are). Your article says to consider her desires. I believe it’s both damaging to dad and not the best for her (stimulation, nutrition, safety). She won’t allow ANYONE in to help (no cleaners etc. ) and doesn’t acknowledge that she needs help (she sees it as an affront to her womanly role). The house is filthy.


    on 09 August 2011 / 5:52 PM

  4. You are not in an easy place by any means, and one that probably many Alzheimer’s caregivers can identify with. Of course it’s difficult in this situation to consider her desires given the stress on your Dad and her own safety/wellness. There are a few things I might recommend for resources/advice/professional help: 1. Call the Alzheimer’s Association Helpline – 800.272.3900 (toll free, 24-7), 2. Consider working with a geriatric care manager (http://www.caremanager.org/),
    and 3. check out our Alzheimer’s Resource Guide for an extensive directory of websites, caregiver forums, online services, and specific information on this difficult disease your family is battling right now: http://www.seniorsforliving.com/blog/2010/11/02/the-alzheimers-resource-guide/.


    on 09 August 2011 / 6:19 PM


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