Primary Caregiving Decisions
One of the most frustrating aspects of care giving is watching someone you care for make irrational decisions and refuse needed services. It can be a very personal moment when you discover you may not be the right person to be providing primary care and have no plan in place. Here are a few healthy care giving tips that can help you start sorting things out for making decisions when the time comes.
What Is The Right To Folly
- No one can force someone else to move to a nursing home facility, institution or be removed from their personal home unless that person has been declared legally incompetent by the court of law or has formally signed over decision-making authority.
- A person’s freedom to make bad personal choices is commonly called “the right to folly.” People can choose to do as they please, as long as it does not pose a real danger to themselves or others.
- Should they move into an institution, a person has the right to leave against all medical advice and reason.
- Don’t fall into the trap of cajoling, begging, threatening and pleading. This approach is a losing proposition loaded with stress and can often look like bullying.
- If you truly believe someone can no longer live safely at home and they will not comply with your suggestions, you may have no choice but to initiate arduous, legal proceedings to establish a conservatorship or guardianship. This can be emotionally heart wrecking to all participating parties, especially if there has been little or no preparation which is common in most cases.
- It is far better to develop skills in the art of compromise and communication to resolve the situation without having to go the legal route.
Primary Care Giving Tips
Be aware that all parties have an enormous stake in making this decision. You don’t necessarily have to address and respond to every complicated feeling, but recognize it exists. Be alert to how the mix of emotions can quickly lead to tempers and raised voices and make a personal commitment to remain calm no matter what ensues.
Give Seniors A Chance To Express Their Reaction To The Move
Do not try to talk them out of their feelings. Listen with patience, empathy and understanding. Allow them to grieve about the loss of independence and the fear of what the changes will mean. Imagine how you would feel if someone you knew wanted to remove you from your life and home.
Plan Ahead For The Talk
Have a script mentally prepared. Review in your mind what you would like to say Keep your message clear and simple. Planning ahead for this conversation will allow you to deal with your own complex emotions.
Determining A Healthy Outcome
Focus all your energy on being supportive and responsive to the person facing the move. Explain in practical rather than emotional terms why the move is necessary. For example, tell them you simply don’t have enough time anymore to make sure they are safe and comfortable at home.
Do not say that the current situation is ruining your life or making you and the rest of the family miserable.
Don’t Make Promises You Cannot Keep
Caregivers sometimes coax seniors into moving with an offer to return home if they don’t like the facility. Resist this urge; it could come back to haunt you. Assure them instead that you will remain involved in their life and will always keep their best interests, as well as your own, at heart.
Inclusion Is A Healthy Remedy For Change
Leave room for the senior to make some decisions. Even if home care is no longer a viable option, offer them some level of choice about how to make the move. You might line up two or three different facilities and let them choose between them. Encourage them to take along favorite personal items like photographs, books and trinkets. Some facilities allow residents to bring their own furniture or personalize their rooms in other ways, such as repainting or selecting new curtains.
It May Not Be Time
You may have to step back and seek help should there be no resolve. It may be premature, meaning what is best for you and your family may not always work out. Assisted help may be required to provide care for the elder until it is time to move. Don’t force the move to fit your plan, it has to work for all parties involved.