When a senior begins to develop symptoms of aging, it signals a change in the relationship between the senior and younger, able-bodied members of the family. Roles reverse as family members assume the role of caregiver. The change in responsibilities initially creates a bit of awkwardness between family members. Over time, seniors and their family caregivers adapt and adjust to this new season of life.
Making use of as many in-home and community-based services as possible can help ease the transition into full-time nursing care. When those services are not enough and the transition to skilled nursing care becomes eminent, several things can help families make the physical and emotional adjustment.
Having confidence in the quality of care in a particular facility goes a long way towards easing the transition to nursing care for the family member and the senior. A skilled nursing facility coordinates care between the resident’s doctors and other services. Nursing facilities are also helpful with dietary counseling and meal preparation, medication management, personal care, and adult supervision.
Family members who want to be proactive in caring for the beloved senior in an out-of-home placement will want to avail themselves of all the federal, state, and private resources that exist for San Jose seniors.
Nursing Home Compare is a website service of Medicare.gov that enables family members to search their city for nursing homes that accept federal Medicaid payments for nursing home care. Performing a search for San Jose nursing homes currently yields 61 nursing home facilities.
The California Department of Aging (CDA) administers funds that are allocated from the federal Older Americans Act, the Older Californians Act, and through the Medi-Cal program for San Jose’s aging citizens. CDA is a state agency that works with the network of the Area Agencies on Aging, an agency that directly manages a wide array of federal and state-funded services for seniors to help them live independently in the community for as long as possible.
Federal and state agencies provide many of the services that aging seniors need in San Jose. There are also private agencies, networks, and programs that seniors and their caregiving families can add to their list of potential resources. SeniorAdvisor.com is one such private service that is wholly committed to educating and informing seniors and their family members about senior care, assisted living, and nursing homes. SeniorAdvisor.com allows their accountholders to read about 5 San Jose area nursing home facilities including services, amenities, location, contact information, costs, ratings, and verified consumer reviews.
Change is hard for everyone and initial visits to a loved one in a nursing home can be awkward at first. Multiple visits over a period of time will lessen any uncomfortable feelings for the senior and the family caregivers.
Seniors living with Alzheimer's disease or other symptoms of dementia may not recognize visitors at times. Visitors should be aware that while their family member may not recognize them, the senior may have some awareness of their care and concern.
The sense of touch can be a powerful communicator of compassion. Send a message from the heart by holding their hands and showing other signs of caring and affection. Think about bringing a small token of something you know they’d like, such as a large-print magazine, a plant, a favorite lotion, or even a greeting card.
It may be helpful to bring some photographs from extended family members to use as a conversation starter. The senior may appreciate learning about what the rest of the family is doing.
Most of all, be observant during your visit. Notice your senior’s appearance, health, fit of dentures and glasses, and other signs of well-being. If something seems amiss, report it to the appropriate staff and follow up.
It’s important for family caregivers to pay attention to their own health and well-being when transitioning a loved one into a nursing home. Be cognizant that you are doing the best that you can and resist the temptation to give in to feelings of guilt.
Start by getting restful sleep every night. Remember that loved one is in the caring hands of professionals. Pay attention to your own healthy eating habits. Give your body the fuel that it needs to continue your regular daily activities and responding to your senior’s needs. Get out and get some exercise. If your senior is able to get out for walks, enjoy some fresh air and sunshine together. Consider taking up a sport that you enjoy or join a fitness class. Catch up on your own medical and dental appointments.
If you’re still struggling with the emotional issues surrounding placing an aging adult into a nursing care facility, it can be helpful to join a caregiver support group. A group will allow you to share your experiences with understanding group members who are facing the same issues.
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