Heading to Aged Care…

aged-careReverse the roles… this could be Mum visiting me in a Residential Aged Care Facility… (image from Google, not of my mother and I!)

Some time ago Kay Bransford asked me this question: “We recently had to force my parents into Assisted Living. Everyone around them tried to recommend changes to get them the assistance they needed and they refused to make changes. Have you considered how you want to be helped in the coming years and who will make the recommendation for needed changes?”

And then recently, I received a journal written by someone diagnosed with younger onset dementia aged 46, who like me, feels that going into a Residential Aged Care Facility (RACF) to live will be like being Locked in prison. Locked front doors, and secure dementia unit. I also wrote The human cattle yards for dementia and aged careabout this. In my experience people with dementia are often physically or pharmacologically restrained, depending on their ‘behaviour’.

There is simply not enough funding, not enough staff, and sometimes not enough willingness, to manage the symptoms of dementia in a more humane way.

So how do I feel about the prospect of going into a RACF? It is the currently the only place available for me in Australia, unless I can find a bed in a 12 room facility for younger people south of Sydney, far away from my family and friends! I’ve been accused of ageist for not saying I feel like residential aged care facilities are for me. I’ve been ‘told’ by many they are great places to live in, home-like and will be needed to reduce the load from my caring partner when the time comes. Of course, these same people have not lived in one! After admitting his father into aged low care, and then to high care, he says he will NEVER make me live in aged care.

My father in law also said many times he felt locked in prison, and in low care used to stand at the front door trying to escape. It seems, we are allowed to be our own masters, and are afforded human rights, until we become aged or diagnosed with dementia. I have told friends and family I’m ok about being admitted to a residential or respite facility if the need arises, and in fact have chosen a couple and told a couple of people they are to coerce my husband if they feel he is ‘killing’ himself looking after me. He was angry I had discussed it behind his back, and still maintains he will never ‘do it’ to me, as if it is not something good to ‘do’ to a person…

On a very positive note, I note that Kay Bransfords parents seem to have settled in to assisted living really well, and the removal of the pressure of coping on their own does appears to be making their days much easier. Such a Blessing. For now, and thankfully, they still have each other, and some level of independence; how they will cope when things change may differ greatly. I’ve been thinking about and working on this blog ever since Kay’s question, which I haven’t really answered yet; hopefully I’ll get to properly answering it for our other blog sometime soon!

For me, right now, I probably block out the prospect of ever having to live in a RACF, holding onto my husbands love and promise he will never send me to one.

9 thoughts on “Heading to Aged Care…

  1. This is a very interesting and debatable topic Kate-i have a few opinions on this by looking at your other blog followers comments. I agree with you-that age care does feel like a “guardhouse” and people feel like “they are trapped in a box, which they can’t get out of”, and yes, people do feel like they have loss there freedom and independence, especially more younger people. Aged care facilities do feel like prison, because you are not going home ever. The difference though, between aged care and prison is that, people are sentenced to prison because they have done something illegal, like muder, theft, and other criminal conviction, whereas being “sent” to age care, is because people are not well enough or have no one to look after them, in order for them to stay in there own home. I do agree with your other friends, though, that everyone’s situation is different-some people are very happy in age care, yet some aren’t. In my case-my Grandad hates going into respite care. I agree, with another comment on this particular blog, that age care is ideal for people who are unable to do chores around the house-i don’t think people are required to do tasks around age care-maybe i am wrong?

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  2. Personally, I think home and community care services are an ideal middle ground for many ageing people who need assistance but wish to remain in their own homes and still enjoy much of the lifestyle they’ve lived for years. I’m sure some of the people living in low care residential homes could conceivably still be living at home if they had some assistance daily or weekly with essential tasks like shopping, washing, hygiene etc

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  3. Pingback: Ita Buttrose on dementia and human rights | Creating life with words: Inspiration, love and truth

  4. Kate, I think it really depends on the person and the facility. At first mom did not like the facility I put them in. But within months she was thankful they were there and she no longer had to shop or cook. When mom went into the hospital she was so grateful they were in the assisted living facility so there was someone already there to care for dad.

    Now dad is alone in a different facility nearer my home. I ask him sometimes if he is happy there and he always says yes. He has dementia and memory problems. And they are NOT locked into the building. But he doesn’t want to go out except on the facility bus or with me.

    Other people may feel different but for my parents, it has been a good experience.

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  5. This sentence spells out quite clearly what is wrong with the modern day world!

    “I’ve been ‘told’ by many they are great places to live in, home-like and will be needed to reduce the load from my caring partner when the time comes.”

    There was no thought given in the old days of loved ones being a burden! Loved ones were loved ones and taking care of them is what we did and given with love unconditionally! Like everything else in our crazed world, we have been taught to believe certain things and if you follow those ways of thinking we are being taught, they all go back to $….It’s always about $…Separate us from families and tell us caring and loving are a burden and you will create a need for aged facilities…Just about everything is thought out and quite evil. Time to wake up and return to our senses! As I always tell you Kate, don’t waste energy fretting over this, the new world is upon us 🙂 Blessings and love…VK

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    • I had not thought about the impact of being told our loved ones are a burden… VERY valid issue, thank you for pointing it out! And no, I don’t waste energy on it, far more interesting things to do! With love and hope.

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