Let's Support Nursing Home Caregivers

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Let's Support Nursing Home Caregivers

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Have you ever met anyone who said, "my ultimate goal when I get older is live out my last days in a nursing home?"  No - well, me either.  Yet, according to statistics from The National Caregiving Alliance, in 2012, there were 1.4 million people in nursing homes nationally or about 13% of us age 85 or older.

Placing a loved one in a nursing home is one of the most difficult decisions we as caregivers struggle with.  There is sooo much emotion and guilt behind it - "I promised mom I never would do this,"  "did I do enough for dad?" "am I taking the easy way out for my husband?" "What will my friends and family think about me now?" Every day I talk to caregivers who are facing this difficult decision and I can say without a doubt, in most cases it is the absolute best decision they can make for their own health and safety and for their loved one.

So - how do we navigate this stage in our life most of us dread and don't want to enter into? In my podcast this week we discuss this topic with my guest Lisa Marie Chiricho who created Nursinghomeology.com.

Lisa was the caregiver for her own dad for 15 years after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.  In the last 5 years of his life he lived in a nursing home. Lisa's passion now is helping other caregivers manage, monitor and organize the care their loved ones receive. Her major lesson learned - the responsibility of the family actually increases once their loved one moves into a skilled nursing facility.

I want to make crystal clear - I think most of the staff in nursing homes are working really hard under the most difficult circumstances.  This is an undervalued, underpaid job for people who are working with the most vulnerable population and there is bound to be problems.  In upcoming episodes, I want to explore what went wrong with this system and is there anything we can do to speak up and fix it.

Lisa is also involved in a wonderful cruise opportunity to Alaska specifically for caregivers and those with early stage dementia.  You can read all about it here - Connecting Circles of Care and Building Bridges of Hope.

I'd really love to hear from those of you with a loved one in a nursing home now, or who went through that journey because you are also the true experts:

-- What do you wish every caregiver facing the decision to place their loved one in a nursing home knew?

-- How did you walk that line between speaking up for your loved one vs. being labeled "difficult" by staff?

-- If you had a magic wand, how would you make the experience in nursing homes better for everyone?

Thanks so much friends - I really appreciate all of your support and advice!

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