A Caregiver’s Guide to Making Decisions for a Loved One in Decline Without Feeling Guilty

A Caregiver's Guide to Making Decisions for a Loved One in Decline Without Feeling Guilty
© Matteo Vistocco

Caring ​for a loved one with declining health during a global crisis can present unique challenges. What steps do you need to take to make each day as peaceful and comfortable as possible for them? What decisions will you have to make sooner rather than later? What are the best long-term solutions for their situation? Here’s everything you need to know about making potentially difficult decisions on behalf of your loved one without the guilt.

Create a Positive Environment

If you provide care for a loved one whose health is declining, there are steps you can take to create a peaceful, nurturing environment in your home. Not only does this help them feel safer, but may even slow down and ease symptoms. Ensure their physical needs are adequately addressed and remove any environmental factors that may cause distress, such as noise or bright lights.

​Keep in mind that effective communication between you and a loved one in cognitive decline can become problematic. Speak at the individual’s eye level and use simple words and phrases. Behavioral issues like paranoia, aggression, and fixation on an idea or activity can cause frustration for the family and yourself as the caregiver. However, keep in mind that it’s the decline, not the individual, that causes these issues. So be patient and calm and maintain your sense of humor.

If your loved one’s symptoms are more complex and they need care beyond your capabilities, it may be high time to consider facilities where they will receive round-the-clock, compassionate support from professionals and, all in all, be so much safer and more comfortable.

Consider Comprehensive Care

Moving from one’s home of many years can be very scary and overwhelming, especially for seniors who have dementia or Alzheimer’s. However, these transitions are better handled when they clearly understand what to expect and are reassured that they will continue to get support from their family or friends.

In case of a debilitating chronic condition or a terminal illness requiring advanced medical care, you may find yourself in a stressful situation to find a facility, fast. However, being in a hurry can limit your options significantly. On the other hand, if your loved one moves by choice and can take part in the decision, you’ll likely have more options. In any case, you ideally want to find high-quality care, premier housing, and a comfortable living environment.

Cover Financial Concerns

The topic of finances will also come up during this transition. Does your loved one have enough money to cover the expenses of a nursing home? Do they have good medical coverage? Will they need to get the money from somewhere else to bear the costs? Do you need to get power of attorney?

If circumstances require, you may have to consider selling your loved one’s home to cover long-term care and ensure your loved one is comfortable, safe, and well-taken care of. Selling the home can also pay off the rest of the mortgage, as well as cover future medical expenses.

Make sure to research the local market to figure out how you can get the best possible ROI on the property. Better yet, use an online calculator to estimate the proceeds. A realtor can also handle the valuation and selling process if you need further help.

To conclude, it’s always tough to watch a loved one decline or even to consider the possibility of which in the future. Still, it’s essential to be prepared, ensure that you create a positive environment for them to live in, and discuss their best options for long-term care when the time comes.