By Chelsea Hensley, Certified Senior Concierge Care Advisor
Here’s the scenario: Your loved one signed over power of attorney to you, but made you promise to never put them in a home. You agreed; it didn’t seem like an unreasonable request, after all 90% of seniors are able to do so, seems like pretty good odds in your favor. You crossed your heart and signed the paperwork. Years pass and things are going great until one day they’re not. Now your loved one is needing around the clock care. Most of the care doesn’t require a medical degree, but it does require 16 or more hours a day of your attention.
If your loved one needs day in and day out assistance, I’m here to tell you they didn’t intend on that care to be managed by you and, as a result, the promise is void. That promise was more about providing your loved one with the dignity and respect they deserve and less about enslaving you to their end-of-life care.
Here’s the next steps: You’re going to have a heartfelt conversation with your loved one about what they like most about their home. Let it take as long as it takes to really learn how your loved one feels. Then call your Concierge Care Advisor. We have thousands of ideas on how to bring that cherished notion so your loved one can take it with them to their end-of-life care community.
One senior I assisted, let’s call her Betty, told her daughters she wasn’t leaving her home, but after a severe stroke, returning to the home wasn’t going to be an option. Her daughters learned that their mom was most concerned about the hundreds of pictures she had around her house. Pictures of distant relatives, kids growing up, loved ones long gone, family pets and so many others. The daughters spent the weekend at Kinko’s scanning every picture on the walls into a flash drive. They uploaded the flash drive onto a digital picture frame, rotating the image every minute or so, and mom kept it on her bed stand. Another gentleman, we’ll call him Robert, had the most astonishing view of the Budd Inlet I’d ever seen. His children took a picture of the water from dad’s recliner and mounted it in Robert’s new living room at the assisted living he moved to.
Let’s circle back to that dignity and respect that your loved one wanted when they asked to die in their own home. More often than not, the promise has little to do with the home and everything to do with being dropped off and forgotten. Every senior living community has visiting availability. Even in the peak of COVID outbreaks, communities had to get creative, but families were still allowed to visit with their loved ones. Every senior wants to be visited. Do you know what seniors talk about at senior living communities? They talk about you. So, if you find yourself having to renege on a promise of moving your loved one into a home, then make a new promise. Promise to visit often, call regularly and bring their favorite dessert on special occasions.