Founder and Co-CEO of Group Homes Australia, Tamar Krebs, shares her thoughts on understanding the right time to move into care, and some tips to plan for an ageing journey with your loved one.
When is the right time to move into care?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. The ‘right’ time will be different for everyone. It is a critical question that children or care partners find themselves asking often in a point of crisis. However, there is a right time to have a conversation with the person living with dementia, around planning. When the time comes for care it is too late to start the conversation at that point. Whereas years before, when care was not needed, and it was a hypothetical discussion, information can be gathered, and options could be discussed. Here are a few tips for actively planning for an ageing journey and allowing the person living with dementia to be involved in the decisions surrounding their care environment and timing.
Start the conversation early
Start the conversation early about growing older and planning for later years with your family. Find out the wishes of your loved ones in their 50s and 60s, even though this may seem young and it may be a difficult conversation to have. Ageing is not a very “sexy” topic of discussion it also may be perceived as depressing, and so we push off having the difficult conversation until sometimes it’s too late, and a decision gets made for the person without their involvement, both around timing and care environment.
Start with the big questions
What’s important to you?
What are the things that you want to make sure you keep doing?
What are the things you want to make sure that you never have to do?
What are the environments you want to live in?
What should the family do if they can’t offer enough support?
What matters to you in the end?
Know the whole person
If you can’t involve your loved one in the entirety of the decision-making process – if there is a sudden change in their circumstances or health – try to involve them in any aspect of the decision making process, where possible. Call on everything you know about the person and what is important to them and try to make decisions that reflect this.
What I have learned over my years of experience, is that every person’s dementia journey will be different. It will progress differently and present differently, and therefore the response and introduction of care will be individual for each person.
The two main things to consider when making this decision are the right care environment for the person living with dementia, and whether it is the right time for both the person living with dementia and their care partner. Often, early admissions to care environments is due to a care partner crisis, where the care partner is experiencing fatigue and is no longer able to care for the person living with dementia. Sometimes, better planning can prevent that carer fatigue.
For some it might be when a person is at risk of getting lost, or for others it may be that they can no longer care for themselves. If a person is to move to a care environment, choosing the right care environment is more important than when is the right time. There is no one size fits all answer to the ‘right time’.
If we can assist with answering any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Resident Relations Manager for support on 1300 015 406 or email Group Homes Australia Home Support Office. The Group Homes Australia (GHA) care model is firmly built on the belief that people living with dementia thrive in a home environment. GHA homes are ordinary homes, on ordinary suburban streets, where 6 to 10 residents live together. Residents have 24-hour care, provided by a team of staff that we call ‘Homemakers’.