August 17th, 2019

Aging with Grace…

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When you are the primary caregiver for a loved one, it is always a good idea to plan for future care situations. Some of these situations include caregiver burnout, caregiver incapacitation and/or the need for more advanced care for your loved one. It is never too early to “shop around” so to speak and start developing your plan for the future.

Dear Grace,
I am the primary caregiver for my husband and I want to plan for his care if something should happen to me. Where do I start? He is in the mid stages of Alzheimer’s and really can’t be home alone.

Dear Sherry,
You are wise to plan for the possibility that at some point in the future you will need help. There are a few options available for you to explore, including at home care and residential care. A good information resource is the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org. Your local health agency (CVHHH), Council on Aging and your husband’s healthcare team should also be able to provide information. It is hard to go into great detail as each situation is different based on your loved one’s needs, family members and financial situation.

Dear Grace,
Do you have any suggestions for finding a good long term care facility, or something like that, for my mother? She’s 89 years old and lives with me now but I wonder if she might have a better quality of life somewhere else.

Dear Linda,
Since I don’t know your mom’s health status, I’ll give you some general suggestions for options you can explore. Please email me if you want to discuss specifics.

-Senior Housing is an option for those folks who are able to live on their own but want to be involved with others and have a social life. Your local Housing Authority and Council on Aging are good resources to help for this.

-Residential Care/Assisted Living is for individuals who can no longer live independently. The individual has their own living space; housekeeping services and meals are provided, as well as medication administration, some medical oversight, assistance with daily hygiene and some social activities.

-Long Term Care/Nursing Home provides a higher level of skilled nursing care with round the clock coverage. They can help with short term respite and long term residency, based on your Mother’s health needs.

There are many websites that can provide additional information on the above topics. If you have a nursing home facility in mind and want to see how they’re rated for the services they provide you can check that out on www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare.

If you have questions or are looking for information related to caring for an elder loved one or other individual with disabilities or health issues, please email me, deargrace@pibarre.giffordhealthcare.org or write to Dear Grace, c/o Project Independence, 81 N. Main St. – Ste. 1, Barre, VT 05641-4283

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