Is it Too Soon to Transition to Skilled Care?

Timing a transition to skilled care before it becomes urgent provides big benefits. From minimizing transfer trauma to reinforcing senior autonomy and dignity, a well-timed move to a skilled nursing facility makes a difference for families and their loved ones.

Categories: Choosing Care General Life at Restoracy

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When is it time to move a loved one from living on their own (or with some support) to skilled care? There’s no bright line to be crossed, but families can explore a number of factors as part of the decision including: how well loved ones perform activities of daily living, manage responsibilities like home maintenance and bills, their overall health, and how caring for an aging loved one impacts them.

Factors to Consider When Deciding It’s Time For Senior Care

Activities of daily living relate to personal care and include toileting, bathing, transferring from sitting or lying down, and eating. The level of independence and ability to complete activities of daily living combined with medical care needs provides insight for timing the transition to skilled care. PBS provides a helpful guide for families to assess loved ones’ independence for these activities.

Occasionally forgetting an appointment, misplacing an item, or forgetting to pay a bill aren’t necessarily signs that it’s time for a move to skilled care. Everyone forgets things from time to time. Monitoring a loved one’s comfort level and ability to manage these tasks along with activities of daily living is useful to determine if a big shift in their abilities occurs.

Outside of managing day-to-day tasks and self-care, a loved one may be ready for skilled nursing care if their medical care needs change or become more complex, like recovering from a major health event. A new or changed diagnosis can feel overwhelming and require closer monitoring or more frequent treatment. Aging adults living on their own can be especially vulnerable to accidents if symptoms like dizziness or fatigue are side effects of new medications.

What to Know About Transfer Trauma And How to Reduce It

Moving to a new home is stressful at any age. From the initial decision that it’s time to move, to deciding on a new home, and the process of transferring and acclimating to new surroundings. For aging loved ones, it can be a difficult adjustment moving from the home they’re used to and into a facility that often doesn’t feel anything like home.

Transfer trauma happens when a sudden change leads to emotional, behavioral, or physical health changes. It often looks like sleep and eating disturbances, a decline in personal hygiene, anxiety, depression, confusion, restlessness, and more. It’s often associated with people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s, but anyone can experience the symptoms of transfer trauma. 

Times where the change is made suddenly after a major health event or when seniors feel their autonomy and wishes weren’t respected can increase the likelihood of transfer trauma. There are ways to reduce it and ease the symptoms. Start with clear communication and acknowledgment of the change and the emotions that come along with it. Often, seniors crave assurance that their loved ones won’t abandon them and that the facility will preserve their dignity. Providing opportunities to tour different facilities, ask questions, and have input on their new home eases the transition, too. 

Facility care teams should be open to discussing transfer trauma. While individuals experience it in different ways, the team you work with should be able to explain their process broadly and communicate your loved one’s specific plan when it’s created. A powerful tool for senior care facilities taps into people’s innate desire to belong and feel valued in a community. Engaging new residents in activities and helping them feel included and welcome makes a difference. Care teams should encourage seniors to bring comfort or sentimental items to their new home and for families to visit often.

You Deserve Care, Too

Many seniors express a desire to maintain independence and age in place. The comfort of staying in their own homes brings physical and mental health benefits. When the care considerations and tasks increase for family caregivers, moving to a trusted skilled care facility provides much-needed relief.

Families caring for aging loved ones feel the pressure. Often called the Sandwich Generation, adults who care for young children and aging parents are more likely to be women and more likely to experience financial, time, and mental health strains. Relieving some of this pressure with skilled care provides caregivers respite and allows them to be more present when visiting senior loved ones and prioritize joy and connection.

The Difference Between Skilled Care and Assisted Living

Seniors and caregivers deciding on the best transition plan often consider a variety of options, including assisted living and skilled nursing care. Assisted living supports activities of daily living like meal preparation, toileting, and housekeeping. The facilities range from apartment-style accommodations to bedrooms with shared living and dining areas. Skilled nursing care facilities provide all of the benefits of assisted living with the additional round-the-clock medical monitoring and care. Residents may have private or shared bedrooms as well as shared common and dining areas.

Families can find caring staff, engaging social opportunities, and a welcoming environment in both types of care settings. The key difference between the two types of care is the 24/7 professional medical care, including specialized therapies. When medical care is a factor influencing caregivers’ ability to support aging loved ones, skilled nursing care is the best long term option.

Skilled Care at The Restoracy

The Restoracy provides personalized and compassionate skilled care in a vibrant, small home community setting. With private rooms, 12 residents per home, meals prepared on-site, and expert medical care including on-site therapies and access to specialists, seniors benefit from the emphasis on autonomy, dignity, and overall well-being.

Freedom to choose activities, set schedules, and enjoy amenities are a few ways we’re restoring health, dignity, and familiarity to seniors at the Restoracy. There’s more to life at the Restoracy and we can’t wait to show you. Schedule your tour and bring your questions. We look forward to meeting you! 


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