There are conversations we’d rather not have. Long-term care too often falls into that category. That’s especially true because we’re left with painful reminders of our loved ones’ decline and mortality, worries over their physical and emotional well-being, and concerns over how we’ll cope. NewAldaya Lifescapes has sixty years’ experience serving the Cedar Valley from our 17-acre campus in Cedar Falls, Iowa. That experience has given us some insight into handling a difficult time.
Start the Conversation Early
If long-term care has crossed you or your loved one’s mind, don’t wait to have the discussion about their needs and options. It’s a challenging conversation at the best of times and waiting until the last minute will only add to the feelings of stress for everyone involved.
Honor Each Other’s Emotions
This is not an event, it’s a process. Furthermore, it’s a process that’s going to stir up a wide range of emotions for everyone involved. Your loved one may be fearful and uncertain, wondering what this change in routine means for their identity and quality of life. Leaving behind their old home — with all its memories and sense of security — will be difficult. They may also worry that you won’t visit often enough.
You’ll have plenty to deal with as well, from concerns about the quality of care to — in many cases — pervasive and nagging guilt. You may second-guess every decision you make or have made, especially when one or the other of you has a bad day.
It’s important to let these concerns come to the surface and give them a place to be expressed and honored. In many cases, you will be able to address each other’s concerns and arrive at a place where you can find peace with your decisions.
Prepare for the Transition
A facility like NewAldaya Lifescapes offers many amenities and comforts of home. However, a bit of advanced planning can help you ensure that it feels especially homey for your loved one. If there are photos, books, knickknacks, mementos, or anything else that anchors someone to their life and their history, use those things to personalize the space.
Bring the family on move-in day so there are familiar faces present, and hold a “housewarming” in their new home. Most importantly, visit often! They’ll appreciate the company, and you’ll be able to see the quality of care they’re receiving firsthand.
Maintain Close Contact
A long-term care facility will update care plans on a regular basis to ensure the highest quality of care. Find out when these meetings are so you can attend or be kept appraised of their progress, but also raise any concerns you have in the meantime with staff.
Reach Out for Help
This may be the most important reminder we can give you: you’re not alone, nor should you be. Your loved one will need support and compassion during this transition and so will you. Be kind to yourself, and understand that there’s no shame in reaching out to your family and friends — or even enlisting the support of a pastor, therapist, caregiver support group, or respite care organization — when you need a helping hand. After all, caring for a loved one also means making sure that you’re at your best.
NewAldaya Lifescapes can help with these and other questions related to long-term care, assisted living, and a number of other services. We invite you to reach out to us as you consider your loved one’s next steps.