Q: My elderly mother lives alone and is now finding it difficult to manage on her own. I work full time and there is no-one else who can help her. I feel very guilty thinking of nursing homes. Can you help me in any way?
A: There are a number of factors to consider and questions to ask. The answers to these will determine your choices and options. There may be in-home services available, provided by the government, that may make it possible for your mother to remain in her home. There are also facilities offering differing levels of care that may be suitable. These can range from individual apartments with some daily assistance to total nursing and personal care. Some of these services may be provided at minimal cost and some are only available to those who are able to pay a daily rate of approximately $150.00/day and up. My involvement with discharge planning at a local hospital, keeps me informed regarding these matters. Helping you know what is available and the implications of each decision, may be a way that I could be of assistance to you.
In some cases, people have asked me to attend doctor appointments with them, regarding their elderly spouse or parent. They often feel that they do not fully understand what the doctor is telling them, and as a result, do not ask enough or the right questions. They feel that they get better results and make better decisions when they have an objective third party present.
The other concern that I may be able to help you with is the guilt that you are obviously feeling. It is easy to understand why you may have feelings of guilt while making these decisions but, in most cases, there is no true justification. Talking to an unbiased, objective third party can often help you know what is best for you and for your loved one.
It is not easy trying to meet the needs of your own family and your elderly parent’s. It will emotionally and physically take a toll on you. You are being pulled in two directions and your own requirements are being ignored. Doing whatever you can to make this time easier for you is imperative, so that you can stay well and know that you made the best decisions possible.