Is fear stopping you getting the Aged Care help you need?
Fear of the unknown has been stopping human beings in their tracks for millennia. Sadly, this same fear is keeping older Australians from accessing Aged Care services that they sometimes desperately need. And it’s not just the fear of aging.
Many older people, our parents and grandparents, are worried about losing their independence. They’re worried about being put into an aged care facility, far from family and friends. They’re also worried about losing their beloved family home.
As an advocate for keeping you well at home for longer, I hope to dispel some common myths around Aged Care and help you understand what happens next.
Ann & Roger’s story
Ann and Roger are both 73 years old and have been married for 45 years. Ann was diagnosed with Parkinson’s over 20 years ago and Roger has always been her main carer. Over the last five or six years, Ann’s health has declined to the point where they need extra help. This extra help was in the form of some light, regular house cleaning. Just someone in every week to help keep things neat and tidy.
Parkinson’s now causes Ann to ‘freeze’ and she sometimes loses balance and falls. Despite using a walker most of the time, Ann’s been having more falls. With Roger recently suffering a mild heart attack, he can no longer help her off the floor and the ambulance is called.
Ann and Roger were very adept at keeping their real situation secret. When their cleaner came every week, she took care of the bigger, more obvious cleaning tasks. It was only when neighbours alerted family to the almost daily ambulance visits that they became aware of just how bad things had become.
When their adult children sat down with Ann and Roger, they realised they were both very scared of ‘going into the system’. They didn’t want to be separated and were terrified of losing their family home if Ann went into care. So they kept up the charade that ‘all was well’.
Adult children need to understand parent’s fears are genuine
Ann and Roger’s situation is sad but not uncommon. Adult children need to listen to their parents and acknowledge their fears and not dismiss or minimise them. They themselves may not have access to current information and are also unsure of what should happen as mum and dad age.
And sometimes the children don’t want to face the truth either. They may mean well so they ignore signs of diminishing health and wellbeing. They want to believe mum and dad are coping on their own. They don’t want to upset their parents and so they stay silent.
Ann and Roger, like many people their age, didn’t have access to the internet to search and find information they needed. They relied on word of mouth and the odd brochure from their doctor’s office. Who knows what they were being told!
They were also hiding their home situation so carefully by telling everyone they came into contact with what they needed to hear so they’d ‘leave them alone’.
You know you need help but not sure where to start
I’m just an email away and as I offer a free 15 minute phone consult, it’s a great place to start.
Not ready to connect just yet?
Why not have a read about the different types of home care services available. Maybe you just need some gardening done, a spot of cleaning or a hand getting to the shops.
Or what about my six best reasons to consider home care services before they’re needed.
Once you’re ready to get things started, you might want to check out accessing home-based care support from My Aged Care.
And remember, accessing Aged Care isn’t just about going into a residential care facility. There are lots of steps along the way, from connecting you socially within your community to looking at more long term care needs. It all depends on you and your situation.
Asking for help isn’t failing
Sadly, Ann and Roger ended up not having a choice. After a bad fall, Ann was taken to hospital and the medical team advised she couldn’t return home. As it turns out, Ann had been eligible for respite care and physiotherapy for a long time but their long-held fear of ‘the system’ meant they didn’t accept the offer.
In hindsight, respite care and physiotherapy would have offered Ann the early intervention she was denying herself and given Roger a much-needed break from being her carer.
Caring for an aging loved one is tough and asking for help isn’t failing. It’s accessing the system that’s in place to support you and there’s lots of help and services available.
Don’t leave it ‘til it’s too late.
Choose to access the help you need.
Choose to plan for the future.
Choose to take matters into your own hands while you can.
We all age, it’s just a fact of life but I'm dedicated to helping you keep well at home for longer.
Contact me today so we can get you and your parents on the right track.