When a loved one grows elderly or ill and can no longer live independently, you may find yourself facing difficult decisions about his or her personal care. He or she may need long-term assistance with activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing and preparing meals, as well as ensuring the proper dosage and dispensation of their daily medication.
The National Institute on Aging notes that while most long-term care occurs at home, often provided by family members, you may want to consider several factors before making a final choice about your loved one’s long-term care needs.
The individual’s physical condition
As you make choices about your loved one’s long-term care needs, one of the most important factors is that person’s physical condition and how much assistance he or she may need. You can ask yourself a few questions, such as:
- Can my loved one walk unassisted?
- Is he or she at risk for falls?
- What type of medical equipment will my loved one need?
Considering the physical state of your loved one can help you make more informed choices, especially when you work in conjunction with his or her healthcare professionals.
Injury or illness
Your loved one may require long–term care because of a debilitating injury, such as a broken hip, or an illness, such as metastatic cancer. You may consider how these problems may affect long-term care, such as whether your family member can recover or may eventually need to enter a hospice facility for end-of-life palliative care.
Making choices about long-term care for a family member can feel challenging. However, making these choices with other loved ones, along with healthcare providers, can give you greater peace of mind. It is also helpful to have conversations with your loved ones as to their wishes for his or her continued care.