The Road Less Traveled
Many of us struggle with the idea of living our day to day lives while a vast majority of us are currently dealing with the aging process. In our youth becoming elderly, or living to see forty, is rather hard to fathom; just getting through high school is a journey. Then we reach our young adult years, making the adjustment to working five days a week, paying bills, learning the responsibility of “adulting” and managing our finances, hoping to have a little extra to spend. It’s not until our late thirties, maybe early forties that we really start to contemplate mortality; after having a family of our own only to realize that our parents are already reaching their length of time here on earth.
At this stage is when we must make decisions that most of us don’t want to make; how to care for your elderly parents. Fortunately, there are many people who age well and can care for themselves, living in their own home, planting their gardens every spring and taking the grandchildren on summer vacations. Tragically, there are more who are unable to and need assistance either from family, a rehab facility, or long-term care facilities. Most of these retirees have either had a major injury that caused broken bones/fractures, families unable to care for them, or a chronic illness such as M.S. (Muscular Dystrophy), R.A. (Rheumatoid Arthritis), or brain deterioration which can cause dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
In skilled nursing facilities, people who are sixty-five years of age and older, sixty-four percent have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. This creates quite the dilemma when trying to decide on how to properly care for your loved one. Whether it be placement in your home, a rehab facility, or long term care facilities, making sure they receive all necessary treatments. Making the correct choice for you and your family can be a painful process, but one they will surely be grateful for.
Within the walls of the facility, whether it be a long term care facility in St. Louis or skilled nursing facility Kirkwood, they provide a variety of resources. Social Workers are on site, or on call, 24/7 and will assist you with finding the perfect space for your aging parent(s). Some contain Alzheimer’s unit which give plenty of walking space, private rooms, their own dining and lounging area, as well as locked doors for that unit so none are able to wander off and get lost. They also provide a rehab facility for the continuous treatment of “range of motion” so even though they may not be running a marathon on the weekends, your family member is still getting their exercise.
Also, along with the continuous nursing staff provided, they accommodate residents with daily activities, group projects, and social dining. For those who are still able to do for themselves, there is transportation provided regularly for your family member to journey off to town. They have programs for volunteers to step into their world and visit when you are unable to check on them and to listen when needing a lending ear. Multiple times a week, the rehab facility will have their Occupational Therapist visit and assess the residents for any new treatments that may need to be added to their plan of care.
Considering all the options available for your aging parent(s)/family member, each facility and location provide different options. Having the nursing staff, and social workers, accessible to you makes the process flow more smoothly. Understand your loved one’s needs, whether they need a rehab facility only or a long term skilled nursing facility that contains an Alzheimer’s unit for their protection, will aide in the proper care for your family. Be confident, ask plenty of questions, and speak up then your family member is unable to for themselves; they will appreciate the passion and concern in the odyssey.