Helping Seniors Settle in Aged Care

9 Effective Tips to Help Seniors Settle in Aged Care Easily

Seniors moving from independent living to an aged care residence is a bit challenging at first. Likewise, the entire family going through such might find it hard to adjust to changes. For old people, most of all, adjusting to a new environment and dealing with strangers may become distressing.

But because such times eventually come for most families, preparation is key.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2016, there is about 1 out of every 3 seniors who have already gone through aged care; whether permanent residential care or respite care. It is inevitable for many.

Although it is emotionally upsetting to let your elderly parents move out of the house, you can do a few things to make this transition from home living to aged care an exciting experience for the entire family.

 

  • COMMUNICATE CLEARLY

 

Your ageing parents may become emotionally invested in their own home. Thinking about leaving it, may make them feel apprehensive and morose. So, before anything else, you have to make sure that they are prepared emotionally. Let them have their time to grieve.

However, you must clarify why they have to go through changes and why they are moving. This will help them understand where you are coming from. Since moving out from their own home is perceived as a loss of control, you can let them take part in the process of planning their transfer.

 

  • CREATE AN EFFECTIVE PLAN

 

Speaking of planning, you can provide them a visual of what to expect. If possible, show them possible aged care facilities and the potential rooms for them. To be creative, you can create a graphic plan of their residence by cutting pieces of paper to represent furniture and having elderly loved ones help in arranging them. In this manner, they will have an idea of what they are getting into, making them feel excited about moving out.

 

  • ENLIST THE HELP OF RELATIVES

 

This should not be a solo job. If possible, you can gather family members to help you out with the planning. Encourage your siblings and other close relatives to take days off from work and even let young children participate. Surrounding your elderly relatives with their loved ones will make them feel inspired and courageous, thus easing out the emotional stress they are going through.  

 

  • ORGANISE AND SORT STUFF

 

Since your ageing parents are moving out of their home, downsizing is sure to follow. Go through your family’s possessions and see which stuff needs to go and which needs to stay. Categorise each item and label accordingly.

However, you must not do all the deciding and allow your parents to take charge and see which objects will go with them and which will be passed on to other members of the family. This might cause them to be too emotional. So just check if they will be bringing too much stuff with them to the nursing home.

 

  • ENCOURAGE POSITIVITY

 

Moving your loved one to an aged care facility is, in itself, an emotional phase in life. However, you must remember to keep a positive outlook during this transition even if your elderly parents do not. You have to be their emotional support during this time. Never complain and bicker as doing these may only make matters worse.

 

  • CREATE A HOMELY AMBIANCE

 

Remember the plan you did earlier? Now is the time to execute that plan. Once you have brought in all the furniture and stuff, you can start making the room homely. Add aesthetic appeal if possible and make it feel similar to a senior’s old home or bedroom. Bring in the same decorations they had and make sure that the entire space is very comfortable for them to move around.

 

  • DROP BY OFTEN

 

Feeling abandoned is probably the most common feeling seniors get when in aged care facilities. So it is extremely vital to visit them once in a while if your schedule permits. Just spend at least a few moments to catch up with them. These moments can do wonders for them.

 

  • ADDRESS ANY COMPLAINTS WITH STAFF

 

Your visits, be it weekly or monthly, are also opportunities to check-in with the staff. Hear out any complaints from your ageing parents and see if these are reasonable. Whenever they have complaints, make sure that you politely bring this to the attention of the staff. Similarly, you can ask what activities are done daily or ask for any special requests. Just remember that the entire management and the staff are only there to make sure that all residents are comfortable and happy with their services.  

 

  • INITIATE OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES ONCE IN A WHILE

 

If you think your elderly loved one can manage, you can take them out for afternoon walks or meals in nearby restaurants. You can come up with fun activities and bring along with you other members of the family to join in. By having friends and family over to spend time with seniors, living in aged care will be a bit easier.

 

Helping an elderly family member or a friend transition into aged care facilities or nursing homes may draw out a lot of emotions. By following these simple tips, the move will become less painful for everyone.

Make sure to choose the right aged care home on the first try so future transfers are avoided. Seek financial and legal advice today.

Call Signpost Aged Care Services on 1800 744 676.  

Until next time

Sara and Margaret

When do you know that your elderly parents need help?

When will you know when your elderly parents need help? One thing is certain: your parents won’t be the ones who tell you they need help!

 Seniors have a strong desire to remain independent and in control of their own lives for as long as possible. In their place, wouldn’t you feel the same way? The last thing they want is to become a burden to their children or loved ones. Typically, the aging senior will experience a traumatic event or “wake-up call” precipitating the realization that they need assistance. For example, they may suffer a stroke or had a fall; or cognitive decline, such as the onset of dementia may result in a danger to themselves or others, like leaving the stove on.

Because you, the adult child, are unable to anticipate your parents’ need for assistance until this traumatic event takes place, the emotional distress and the work/life crisis can hit you like a runaway train, making it very painful and difficult to make educated decisions you can become comfortable with. One way to avoid this is to start monitoring your parents’ physical and mental abilities today, and research your care options should your parents begin to show signs of needing assistance.

So, what are some of the common indicators that your parents may need some form of assistance or care? Here are some of the telltale signs.

Your parents have difficulty with or are incapable of performing routine activities of daily living (ADLs) such as:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing and grooming
  • Toileting
  • Transferring or moving from place to place (e.g., moving from the bed to a chair)
  • Walking
  • Eating

Changes in their physical appearance may indicate they need assistance:

  • Noticeable weight loss (difficulty cooking, eating, shopping for food, etc.)
  • Sloppy appearance/poor hygiene (difficulty bathing, dressing, and grooming)
  • Black-and-blue marks on the body could indicate they have had a fall
  • Noticeable burns on the skin could indicate they’ve experienced problems cooking

Warning Signs That Your Ageing Parent Needs Help

Certain physical clues around your parents’ home may be a red flag:

  • The yard has not been maintained as it normally has (difficulty completing regular tasks)
  • The house interior has not been maintained as it normally has (difficulty completing regular tasks)
  • Automobile dents and scratches could indicate impaired driving ability
  • Carpet stains, perhaps caused by dropping and spilling things
  • Urine odor in house (signs of incontinence)
  • Pots and pans with noticeable burn marks could indicate they forgot about food on the stove and left it burning
  • Unopened mail/unpaid bills may indicate difficulty completing regular tasks
  • Unfilled prescriptions (difficulty completing regular tasks)
  • Low food supply (difficulty completing regular tasks)

You may observe some unusual behavior by your parent:

  • Lack of drive or motivation
  • Failure to return your phone calls
  • Verbally or physically abusive

You may notice some of the warning signs that your parent may have dementia or some other cognitive impairment:

  • Consistent memory lapses
  • Confusion
  • Loss of reasoning skills
  • Difficulty performing familiar tasks
  • Frequently misplaces things
  • Frequently gets lost walking or driving
  • Repetitive speech
  • Unable to complete a sentence
  • Rapid mood swings or changes in behavior
  • Changes in personality
  • Wears the same clothes over and over
  • Cannot recall names of familiar people or objects
  • Loss of initiative

If you believe your parents are experiencing one or more of the above indicators, then the next step is to talk with them about their care needs in such a way that they themselves identify the problem and come up with the solutions.

It’s very important that your parents are the ones making the decision to seek help and decide which option best meets their care and assistance needs. Tough decisions such as selling their home and moving elsewhere should be their own and not yours or their doctor’s or some other interested parties. Put yourself in their shoes. The decision to move out of their home where they’ve created a very comfortable, secure environment for themselves over the years is a very traumatic change and must be handled with extreme care and sensitivity.  You might consider getting some help in for them in their own home.

If you need help working out how to support your parents, we can assist so give us a call on 1800 744 676.

Until next time

Sara and Margaret

www.signpostlms.com.au

Signpost Aged Care Services Hawthorn VIC 3122

Looking to find Signpost ACS in Hawthorn VIC?

Use the Google Map above, share it to your mobile phone and you won’t get lost when traveling to our Signpost consultants.

What areas do we offer aged care advice to in Australia?

Obviously we currently have customers from the suburbs listed at the bottom of our main page.

Those suburbs in Victoria are: Hawthorn, Hawthorn East, Balwyn, North Balwyn, Mont Albert, Toorak, Melbourne, Camberwell, Ashburton, Malvern, Malvern East, St Kilda, Elwood, Brighton, Kew, Kew East.

If you read our testimonial page you will see that we have been successful assisting people from other states in Australia and also from overseas.

Please contact us on 1800 744 676 to book an appointment with one of our consultants and ask that burning question about aged care in Australia and find out how we can assist you.

Are you too busy throughout the day to call us? Perhaps you would like to make use of the videos on the Signpost Aged Care Services YouTube channel, such as this video on the difference between retirement villages and nursing homes.

Best wishes and we hope this information will be of assistance to you.

Margaret Harrison and Sara Cook

Can I change nursing homes?

An aged care residential facility is not a prison! If you or your loved on his unhappy where they are, they can always move.  And it is not that hard to move.

The first thing  to do is to check any Agreement that the resident has signed in relation to his or her accommodation at the facility.  There will usually be a clause setting out how much notice is required before a person can leave and it is usually around 7 days.

Then, you can start looking at alternatives – you can do an internet search to see what else is available in the chosen area or go to the ‘Find a Service’ tab on myagedcare.gov.au website which is the official government website listing aged care residential facilities.  Once you have narrowed down the options to facilities you think might suit, call the facility and see if they have any vacancies or a short waiting list. If they do, we recommend taking a tour of the facility.  If possible, taking the resident with you so that can see whether or not they they feel they might like it better than their current home.

Then it is a matter of negotiating the terms with the new facility – they may or may not be willing to match the terms of the current home so you might need to work out whether and how any difference can be afforded.

If you need help with moving aged care facilities, call us now on 1800 744 676.

Until next time,

Sara and Margaret.

 

A view on retirement villages

An independent view on retirement villages

Over the past few weeks, articles about retirement villages have received a lot of press and most of it was unfavourable.  As independent advisers, we have been asked on numerous occasions whether we think the articles have been fair.  So here is what we think.

Social isolation is the single biggest issue for our ageing population.   Retirement villages go a long way towards solving that issue for its residents.  The residents are part of a community, they probably get some supports (like general maintenance of the common areas and some social activities) and they feel safe.  The residents are also able to continue to live independently.  These things are priceless and can make for a happy old age.

Independent living

Retirement villages are usually independent living, so stories about how a person was left in their unit after a medical event and not found for several days can happen because the resident chose to remain independent.  Whilst many retirement villages are equipped with emergency all buttons, sometimes things happen which mean that button cannot be activated.  Some retirement villages are using technology to detect these events without the need to activate a call button.

It does become confusing because some retirement villages offer care services which the resident generally has to agree to and pay for additionally.  In that case, if the resident had agreed to those care services and they had not been delivered,  it would wrong for a person to be left undetected for a period of time.

Retirement Villages can be very expensive

Retirement village agreements are contract based so the residents get what the contract says they will get and the resident pays what the contract says they will pay.  Most retirement village contracts do require payment of a deferred management fee and other costs when the resident leaves and it is not unusual in our experience for a resident to pay around 40% to 50% of the amount the the unit sells for and often the resident is paying outgoings and monthly fees for quite a while after they have left the village.  In our experience, retirement village units are generally less expensive to acquire than a similar freehold property in the same geographic location but, in our experience, do not appreciate as rapidly as other property.  There is no doubt they are not a sound financial investment.   They are a lifestyle investment.

Understand what you are buying

In terms of the resident entitlements, residents should look closely at the agreement (and get legal advice) about what exactly they are entitled to under the contract.  The contract may specify social events or services and it is important to understand what exactly the village is agreeing to provide.  The resident is not entitled to anything other than what is in the agreement (so, for example, if the resident is told there are free drinks for residents every Friday night, that might not be in the contract and, if it does say that in the contract, there is probably another clause that says that can change). Contracts will not say you will have a fabulous time in our village because of course that cannot be guaranteed. As residents usually go to a village for the community, it is really important that potential residents ensure they will fit in with the community before they move in.  It will not work if everyone else in the village speaks Swahili and you do not.  Most villages will give you an opportunity to meet other residents before signing up and we think that is one of the most important things to do before committing.  This can be a risk if the unit is being sold off the plan.

So, in summary, living in a retirement village can be great and might be the right choice for you.  They are expensive and you need to understand what you are getting and what you will be paying.  You should get legal advice before you sign the contract.  If you would like expert legal advice, call us on 1800 744 676.

Until next time

Sara and Margaret