One of the hardest things that an adult child caregiver has to deal with, is placement of a parent; specifically, a parent with advancing dementia. There is no roadmap and every situation is unique however there are common threads that we see on a daily basis. We know that if it was possible, that most of us would want to support their parent in their own home and not require them to move- especially to a retirement residence and certainly NOT to Long Term Care (LTC). Parents often want their children to promise to not place them. Unfortunately many times these are not promises that can easily be kept- either because of safety, expense or logistics. Many seniors don’t appreciate the difference between a retirement residence and Long Term Care; they just know it is not their long time home. In my day to day work, it comes down to safety and if the adult child is the attorney for personal care ( for a person living with dementia) than it is a decision that the attorney will likely have to make. Of course not making a decision, is making a decision and sometimes things have to reach a crisis before the decision to make a move, becomes obvious ie a fall, a getting lost incident etc and the system kicks in.
I want to share a happy story with you- of an adult child who did place their parent- before a crisis. I am so happy to share that their parent is flourishing. The person we knew all of her life as ‘Sunny’ has now become ‘Sonia’- her birth name, she has a new best friend, is eating 3 nutritious meals a day, is taking her medication as prescribed ( as it is now delivered to her) and truly is living well- by anyone’s standards. The relief by the adult child is tangible- she can return to the role of daughter rather than primary caregiver and she does not need to worry- every day and every night- as she did when her mom was living in her own condo. So for this Monday morning, I am sharing that I have worked with many many families and when that time is right, a move to a supported (dementia) specific setting can be a huge relief and the start of a new chapter.