Is Residential Care the Best Option for A Sick, Aged Parent?

Is Residential Care the Best Option for A Sick, Aged Parent?
Is Residential Care the Best Option for A Sick, Aged Parent?


Your parents won’t have the same stamina 20 years down the road. It pays to discuss these things like residential care among family members. This is if you want every one of you to be prepared come the day or your parents’ retirement. Unfortunately, preparation for a living parent’s old age is something that is usually put on hold by many. In fact, a study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave found out that 75% of adults surveyed haven’t had any serious discussion with their parents about living arrangements or funeral wishes. Additionally, about one-third of

Additionally, about one-third of surveyed couples aged 50 and up admitted to not wanting to discuss dealing with old age. So, it basically is not just the adult children who are either hesitant or afraid to face the issue of old age care ahead but even the parents themselves. Don’t you just think it’s about time to change this scenario and begin acting proactively for everyone’s convenience when that much-avoided time arrives?

Preparation Helps You Make the Right Decision on Residential Care

Caring for your sick, aged parent(s) is a role reversal that many adult children find quite difficult. This is mostly true to parents who are used to being independent all their lives and suddenly have to rely on their children for care and even financial support. The primary carer, likewise, finds himself trapped in between his personal life and coming into terms with taking care of ill and old parent(s). To avoid this stressful situation, preparing ahead must be done.

First, you have to know about government services and charitable private facilities that provide residential care for sick and/or elderly Australians. The corresponding policies and fees are other things to look into as well.

Next, you can arrange a discussion with:

  • Your parent’s doctor
  • Alzheimer’s Australia
  • Your other family members and carers
  • Your parent’s local Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT)

You can get information and advice from The Commonwealth Carers Resource Centre. They can discuss with you their caring role and other relevant carer entitlements and services. Feel free to contact them at 1800 242 636.

Different Types of Residential Facilities

The long-term residential facilities are primarily grouped into 2: low-level care and high-level care.

  • Low-Level Care Residential Facilities

These accommodations are funded by the Australian government, which is suitable for elderly people who are still mobile and may only need a little care assistance. These include assistance with hygiene care, cooking, laundry, shopping, or taking their medications. These offer bed-sitting lodgings with private or shared bathrooms.

  • High-Level Care Residential Facilities

All high-level care residential facilities in the country are also funded by the Australian government. These, on the other hand, are more appropriate for those who are in later stages of dementia and who require round-the-clock assistance. These are staffed with nurses, assistants, and/or personal care assistants providing 24-hour services to their residents.

In addition to these two main types of residential facilities, there are also dementia-specific care units. These can be classified either as low-care residential facilities or high-care residential facilities depending on the kind of care given to its residents. However, not all elderly people with dementia are required to enter this type of care facility. Dementia-specific units are only ideal for elders with dementia who may not be safely housed in general residential units.

Getting your Sick, Aged Parent Assessed for Residential Care

If your aged parent is suffering from dementia you have to start doing regular visits to a number of residential care facilities until you are able to choose the best one. You must work with ACAT so they can evaluate the needs of your parent and recommend appropriate types of residential care facilities. Don’t hesitate to discuss with the team any issues or concerns that you may have so you can get honest answers. It’s hard to dive into something you are unsure of so might as well ask everything you can think of.

To successfully pick the best residential care facility for your parent, it is recommended that you keep a list of those you want to visit. Tag a family member or a friend each time you visit one and jot down notes. When deciding on where to put your sick, aged parent, discuss all your options with other members of the family and always trust your intuition.

Decision-Making Checklist for Residential Care

Having varied options can make the decision-making process even harder. So, to help you come up with the smartest choice, try to answer all these questions as honestly as you can.

  • Does it have a friendly, welcoming atmosphere
  • How do you find the attitude of the residential care management and staff? Do they care about what you have to say?
  • Is there a private seating area?
  • Can your parent have his own doctor?
  • Will you be allowed to feed or help your parent take a shower when you’re available?
  • Are there extra costs you have to pay?
  • Also, are there fire exits and evacuation plan in case of fire?
  • Is the structure built in high-quality?
  • Does the room feel comfortable including the bed?
  • What are the visiting hours and rules?
  • Will it be possible to arrange overnight stays with other family members once in a while?
  • Do other old residents look very well cared for?
  • Is the entire facility clean?
  • What type of foods do they serve?
  • How often will you be updated with regards to your parent’s welfare?

These are just some of the questions that can help you decide on which residential care unit to choose for your elderly parent. If you can think of other questions that are not on the list, all the better. At the end of it all, if you yourself feel comfortable staying there even for just a few minutes, then your sick, aged parent will more likely feel the same long-term.

Making the Big Move 

It can be hard to let go of a parent who’s been with you for a long time. This is why having confidence in the residential care facility that you have chosen is important. You can rest assured that your parent will be in good hands even without your presence. Just don’t forget to check on the residential care facility once in a while because a parent will always be happy seeing you, even if old age takes away his or her memory completely.

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