Long Term Care For The Elderly

Written by Tara Peris
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The decision to pursue long-term care for the elderly is one that should be made after careful consideration and an in-depth family discussion. The transition from independent living to assisted care in a nursing home can be difficult for all parties involved and should be the outgrowth of ongoing discussion. The only way to ease the process is to keep the lines of communication open and to make decisions with the elderly person's best interests in mind.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when making decisions about long-term care is safety. It is important to begin by thinking carefully about the elder individual's ability to function independently and safely, as these factors govern most decisions to move to a nursing home. In cases where safety is called into question in any way whatsoever, it is time to consider long-term care.

Making the Decision

When considering safety issues, it often helps to break down the daily routine into segments. Begin by considering whether the person in question can navigate household stairs and can remember basic safety practices such as turning off the stove and protecting electrical outlets. You may also want to consider the individual's level of alertness as well as his or her memory skills, as individuals with Dementia and Alzheimer's often lose their ability to keep track of their environments.

If these fundamental precautions are in place, you may want to think about broader lifestyle considerations. For example, can the elderly person drive or clean his home? Can he cook for himself and shower independently? These are factors that should also play a role in the decision to pursue long-term care. Family discussion of these variables as well as consultation with a geriatric care specialist should help you to make the best decision for your loved one.

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