For one family, it started when mom broke her hip. She showed signs of memory loss, but her husband and other family caregivers had things mostly under control. When a late-night fall sent her to the hospital and then rehab, it seemed to increase her confusion. She was weak, at risk for another fall, and more forgetful than ever. Her family was concerned about dad’s ability to continue caring for her and worried about the toll caregiver duties were taking on him. That’s when the family got a dialog rolling about long term care for mom. Of course, every situation and every family are different. But usually, warning bells begin when family members realize mom needs more supervision than they can offer.
What Are Some of The Signs Mom Needs Long Term Care?
Dementia and cognitive decline are among the main reasons families choose long term care. According to the Elder Care Alliance, some of the signs that mom may need memory care include:
- Aggressive behaviors
- Becoming disoriented or getting lost
- Regularly repeating stories or questions
- Problems speaking or struggling to find the right words
- An Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis
In some cases, mom may need long-term care because of physical limitations or chronic illness. Her physical health may prevent her from caring for herself and create a burden for family caregivers. Some factors include:
- Loss of mobility and increased fall risk
- An injury that causes immobilization for an extended period. An injury like a broken hip can lead to a decline in overall health without adequate rehabilitation and supervision.
- COPD, congestive heart failure, or other chronic illness that dramatically reduce the ability to perform day-to-day tasks
- Long term loss of function following a stroke
Mom may show signs of behavioral changes related to cognitive decline or mental health challenges. Here are a few problems to look out for:
- Hygiene issues and neglecting bathing and essential grooming
- Weight loss/ forgetting or declining to eat
- Forgetting or forgoing needed medications
- Neglecting household tasks or becoming overwhelmed by cleaning and maintenance
- Social isolation and loss of interest in favorite activities
What Are The Benefits of Long Term Care?
Making the shift to long term care can be a tough decision for families. Sometimes the senior who needs care is resistant. Sometimes a caregiving spouse may feel guilt or be reluctant to let go. But once the decision is made, families often feel a tremendous sense of relief, knowing mom will be safe and well cared for. Here are some of the benefits families appreciate most:
- Supervision: knowing mom is in good hands with a professional team creates needed peace of mind. Knowing that mom’s meals and medications are supervised and that she isn’t putting herself or others in danger lifts a considerable weight for family members.
- Safety: Safety is always a priority in a high-quality long term care facility. Staff members observe and monitor to help keep residents safe. Mom gets help with bathing and other potentially risky activities. And many of the home hazards like stovetops and other appliances are no longer in play.
- Socialization: A long term care setting makes interaction with other residents effortless and provides mom with low-pressure opportunities to connect with others.
- Activity: Skilled staff members provide physical and occupational therapy and exercise opportunities that match mom’s fitness level and needs.
- Relief for caregivers. So many family caregivers give it their all, leaving them drained and exhausted. At a certain point, especially with elderly spouses, it just becomes too much. A long term care setting gives spouses and family members the security of knowing mom is in good hands.
Have Questions About Long Term Care? We’re Here to Help
At Evergreen Health & Rehab, we have decades of experience providing high-quality long term care, including a special memory care unit devoted to patients with dementia. If you have concerns about your loved one, we’re ready to start the conversation. We’ll go over your needs and figure out which setting works best for you. We understand that choosing long term care means a significant shift for both residents and family members. But the sense of disruption usually disappears once we establish a sense of trust. There’s nothing like the peace of mind you’ll get from knowing mom is in good hands.