It is a common hope that one will be able to live out the remainder of their days living independently at home. The goal of most families to keep Mom home for as long as possible. In fact, most people do not even want to consider that staying home may not be an option or the best option for themselves or their loved ones.
However, the truth is that there are many reasons to stay home and many reasons why someone may want or need to move to an Assisted Living home. It may
be due to social isolation or loneliness, the need for assistance with medications or daily tasks, or because of safety concerns. Sadly, there may come a time when the walls of their home aren’t supporting their quality of life and they need people on hand to support them.
Unfortunately, most people do not want to consider that a move like this may have to happen, which is why they do not have a "Plan B" in place for when it does. In fact, a move of this nature often occurs due to an emergency such as a fall or hospitalization, the decision is rushed or done without taking into consideration the persons physical, mental, social, and emotional needs.
Instead we recommend putting a "Plan B" in place, just in case Grandma isn't safe living by herself or has a medical emergency that won't allow her to return home.
This is especially important if your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Unfortunately, those with dementia
will not recognize their need for assistance. This is why it is recommended that upon diagnosis or sooner, the person and their family formulate a Plan B for where their loved one might live, if their home situation is no longer a good fit.
The first step in creating a Plan B is to ensure that the person with memory loss has Healthcare and Financial Power of Attorney paperwork. This paperwork should name a primary and a secondary person that would assist in making decisions for the person when they cannot.
However, it is important to note that this paperwork does not take effect until two physicians or a physician and a psychologist medically determine the person to be incompetent or unable to make medical decisions for themselves.
If the Power of Attorney paperwork is not in place, it may result in a court proceeding to establish guardianship, which can be costly and take time.
The person diagnosed and Power of Attorney’s should be involved in creating the Plan B and visit Memory Care homes that would be able to assist now and in the future. Unfortunately, as most wait until an emergency to do this, the person is not able to fully provide their insights and the Power of Attorney is made to make the decision without them.
By taking a more proactive approach you are ensuring that if something happens, there is an approved Plan B in place that it meets the persons standards, fulfills their wishes, and that they will be OK.
If you begin to see signs of the below issues it’s time for Plan B.
The person is no longer safe at home –set off the fire alarm in Grandma’s home, if she doesn’t respond appropriately, she shouldn’t be living alone.
Family is unable to provide the necessary level of care – if caregivers become short tempered with a person or if lifting Mom could harm her or the caregiver; it’s time to seek assistance.
The current level of needs is too great for family or is too difficult to manage others to do – if Dad needs 24/7 care, its success depends on reliable people to be there all day, every day, without excuse, absence or delay.
Emergency and crisis situations have arisen – Grandpa falls, caregiver is ill or worse 63% of caregivers pass away before the person they are giving care to does! What will happen to them then?
Sadly, this final bullet point is the most common reason why a Plan B is enacted. Most families wait until a health crisis occurs to create a Plan
B and then wait until another crisis or myriad of concerns happen before enacting it.
Plan A is to keep Grandma at home, but remember the walls can’t hug or keep her safe. In that instance it is important to realize that the memories can come with her. The main thing is to ensure the person is safe, supported and smiling.