My Parent Needs Care. What Do I Do First?

Author: Maine Veterans' Homes
Posted: February 07, 2017
Category: Long Term Care

“My dad fell and injured himself badly. He wants to go home, I realize that, but he really can’t live alone. And I can’t be there all day. I have no idea what to do.”

This call for help and support is common. As your parent’s child, you’re worried and scared while also feeling overwhelmed and maybe even guilty. It’s difficult to be a caregiver and even more difficult to make caregiving decisions in a crisis situation.

How to Find Care for Your Parent

These are the six steps that we advise most children to take when aligning care for their parent.

  1. Assess functional need. Ask a professional to help you assess exactly what your parent needs, whether that is nursing home care and/or rehabilitative care. Your doctor or a healthcare professional at a care facility, such as Maine Veterans’ Home, can provide recommendations. Our assessments can be done in the hospital, at your home or in our office.
  2. Complete a to-do list. Getting organized will help you feel less stressed and overwhelmed. Get the necessary paperwork in order and work your way down the list. Again, do not be afraid to ask professionals for assistance. Part of their job is helping your parent and the family through the transition.
  3. Check into financing. You will need to know what benefits and financial resources your parent has so the best decision can be made based on need, comfort and affordability. If he is a veteran, he may be eligible for veteran’s benefits for long-term care and other healthcare assistance.
  4. Evaluate facility capabilities. Create a list of care facilities that meet the needs and affordability of your parent. Begin an initial search online and through social media to get a feel for the environment, expertise and nursing care services offered.
  5. Tour facilities and meet the staff. Narrow your list down to your top choices and schedule a tour. Take time to talk with staff and get your questions answered. Visit the therapy rooms, living quarters, dining and activity areas. Talk to and observe other residents to see if it is an environment where your parent would feel at home.
  6. Develop a temporary plan to bridge any gap. Sometimes, after a medical emergency, there is a gap in the timeframe from hospital discharge to moving into a long-term care facility or nursing home. Put a temporary plan in place while you finalize the details and any gaps in aligning your parent’s permanent residency and care.

Why Be Proactive in Long-Term Care

Just like in most any situation, it’s better to be prepared and proactive rather than rushed and reactive.

It may be difficult for your parent to hear he needs assistance on a daily basis or to even consider moving from his home. However, when his health and safety are a concern, you don’t want to wait until an accident or crisis happens.

It is always best to be proactive and start the conversation with your parent early. Broaching the subject of long-term care before it’s needed can make a transition smoother and less stressful if the time comes.

Also, when you wait until a traumatic experience comes into play –  whether an illness, fall or stroke – this can force a decision within hours. That can leave little time to evaluate your options in care.

The more time you have, the more opportunity you have to fully compare nursing homes to find the right fit for your parent’s need, comfort, lifestyle and affordability.

Maine Veterans’ Homes is an independent nonprofit organization with six locations throughout Maine, each welcoming our honored veterans. Whether your loved one is in need of rehabilitative care, therapy services, long-term care or dementia care, we work with you to provide the exceptional care, compassion and support you are looking for.

We encourage families and veterans to visit any or all of our locations and get to know us. Contact Maine Veterans’ Homes online or call us at 800-278-9494.