Leaving home: how do we address this issue with our aging loved ones?
Over time, a loved one who is aging or has a neurocognitive disorder (NCD) may, for their health or safety, have to leave their home to be accommodated in a residence or in a CHSLD. This decision is often a deep heartbreak as well as a source of anxiety and many bereavements for the senior who loses his autonomy. The latter must also leave the place that secures him the most: his house, his nest, his landmark, his memories.
Forgetting dishes on the stove, injuring yourself by falling several times, going out in the street and getting lost are all behaviors that can represent a danger for a loved one who is elderly or has NCD. Such a situation turns out to be extremely complex for the family and caregivers who are concerned about the safety of the senior and who are trying to come to terms with the risks that an aging loved one runs, while wanting to respect his wish to remain at home. home as long as possible. Although the majority of seniors want to stay in their homes – often thanks to the unwavering support of caregivers and home care services -, health or safety issues may arise, in the primary interest of the elder, an elderly person moving to a residence or a CHSLD.
Maintaining the dialogue
How, then, to approach this delicate question with our parents or grandparents in loss of autonomy? First of all, we must engage in conversation with openness, empathy and benevolence, recognizing the point of view of the loved one with a loss of autonomy, while trying to explain to him and communicate to him the risks that the fact now represents. to stay at home. It is all the more important to talk to the elder about his needs, his aspirations and his concerns: you could imagine, for example, that your father is adamant about staying at home, whereas on the contrary he is very tired of taking care of the maintenance of his house or his land, for example.
Guilt, stress and anxiety
Despite all the benevolence shown by everyone, we often find ourselves in a situation where the senior does not have the same perception as those close to him regarding his loss of autonomy. This perception, which often seems less realistic to us, can be attributed to various factors, whether it be the loss of certain brain faculties, or even the fact that this loss of autonomy is largely compensated by the caregiver, who devotes himself body and soul in order to meet the needs of the loved one.
When a common decision leads the elderly person to leave their home, the caregiver, who was involved in home support, is almost always confronted with a strong feeling of guilt, all in addition to having to mourn this that his parent or spouse was. This transition also brings its share of grief, stress and anxiety. It is important to remind caregivers that to take care of others, you must first take care of yourself. You might be surprised to see the positive changes that moving to a residence or a CHSLD will bring in the medium term, in the quality of the relationship and in the security of the person that you can now fully cherish, while avoiding exhaustion, by taking care of your own health.
To properly accompany a loved one who is settling in their new place of residence, it must be remembered here that the regular presence of loved ones remains a essential factor of protection of the person, even if this one no longer recognizes us.
In addition to our regular presence, we can also make comforting gestures, such as bringing him furniture or significant objects that are dear and familiar to him, such as a painting, a blanket or an armchair, for example, and which he can include in their new place of living.
Caring and the elderly
The caring approach of relatives and caregivers to towards the person with a loss of autonomy is essential to promote a more harmonious transition when the time comes for the elderly person to leave their home. Launched this week, the “Au fil du temps” initiative aims precisely to better understand the aging of the brain and to promote benevolence among seniors.
In addition to a host of informative texts, this website includes video capsules and podcasts, including one entitled Leaving Your Home. To discover this new web platform, go to aufildutemps.quebec.
By better understanding what seniors are going through, we become better allies for them and can thus better help them.