Family Dilemma: What’s Grandma’s Best Option?

Many families across the nation are asking themselves this question:

What is the best living option for Grandma (or Grandpa)?

As our senior loved ones age, they often experience a functional decline.  Sometimes they have more trouble staying steady when they walk, resulting in frequent falls.

Some of our loved ones have trouble taking care of things in their home like their laundry, driving, shopping or cooking.  Daily activities can become even more difficult.

Then tragedy strikes!

Something happens that requires Grandma to be hospitalized.  Perhaps it is a stroke, a hip fracture or one of any number of other medical problems, such as pneumonia or COPD, resulting in difficulty in breathing.  Maybe she had a heart attack.  These events lead to the need for a hospital stay which could be short or long followed by the need for short term rehab placement to recover and regain her strength.

We as caregivers and family members can handle all the above and put our trust in healthcare providers who get Grandma through the worst of her illness and back on her feet again. However, what happens next is not very easy to deal with for many families.

The problem which causes our family dilemma is now apparent.  It is time for Grandma to leave the rehab facility or hospital but she is not able to go back to living alone or even to our homes without 24 hour supervision for her health and safety.

Grandma is not to the point where she needs a nursing home and the family can’t afford an assisted living facility or round the clock professional care.  She is eligible for some in home care but the aides can only come a few hours a day for a few days each week, leaving many more hours without anyone to watch our loved one.

Most adult family caregivers work outside the home and are not available to be at home all day long to care for our senior loved ones.  For many, especially in these economic times, quitting their jobs to care for Grandma is not a viable option.

This is a major dilemma that you and your family are not alone in facing.   Unfortunately, there are not as many options as we would like.

A few suggestions we have for you are:

  • seek out support from all parts of your family and divide up caregiving in time slots throughtout the week so that Grandma gets all the care she needs;
  • find paid caregivers and spread the cost out among family members so none shoulders the cost alone;
  • ask family friends or church members to help out when needed;
  • find an adult day care center near you that will transport Grandma to the center that offers activities, socialization and a meal;
  • investigate possible long term care insurance coverage your senior may have that you were unaware of that will cover some of these costs;
  • be sure to take advantage of all benefits that are available to your senior loved one, including VA benefits or other government program; or,
  • find a live-in companion senior who is capable of providing some caregiving in exchange for a place to live.

No family member wants to put their Grandma in a long term care facility too early and many facilities will not accept a senior who is high functioning if they are not able to pay the bill, so being creative and keeping the lines of communication open among all family members will be key to facing this dilemma.

The most important thing is to be sure Granny is safe and sound!

We would love to hear what your family solution was to your dilemma!  We look forward to hearing from you!

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