Monday, November 22nd, 2010
By Mike Daly
Former CEO, Baystate Health System
Caring for members of your family who can no longer care for themselves is an undertaking that many underestimate and some never prepare for until the situation is right in front of them.
Recently my family and I discovered some of the hardships involved with transitioning a family member into a long-term care facility, and it is an experience I will never forget for many reasons.
For those who need to enter a care facility, letting go is difficult and can be very traumatic. They struggle with their loss of independence and having to give up certain privileges, including something many take for granted such as driving. In my situation it was a challenge to even get our family member to agree to enter the long-term care facility. He refused to admit he needed this help and initially refused to go live in a place that he had never called home. It was quite an emotional battle for our entire family.
There are so many people in this country dealing with caring for their elderly parents and family members. There are so many important aspects to consider during this work, such as what type of facility will be the best fit? What options are out there? What are the hidden costs that you need to consider?
It was a real eye-opener to go through this experience and to realize that we had limited assistance from anyone within the healthcare arena. It would have been a tremendous relief to have help with some of these important questions. This is a time when families need help navigating their options and explaining to a loved one why this move is in their best interest.
There is a real need that appears to be falling through the cracks here, and with a booming elderly population, it is a problem that needs fixing.