Awkward conversations

Doesn’t life change quickly? I feel the older I am getting the quicker it’s passing. I have been dealing with people who as they are aging have not taken time or thought to plan for this process. I have had to engage in conversations that I wasn’t really prepared for nor were they invited by the recipients. But they have to be said, it has made me look at my life moving in the direction of getting older and starting to put things in place now.

There is so much for people to consider when they get into this time of their lives, living alone and being independent is great and thankfully we have services that enable people to be at home longer and more are in their own home. But I have been asked the question “the Dr says I can go home (from hospital) as soon as I am back being independent, what does that mean?” Not such a silly question if you have been unwell admitted to hospital having hurt a knee and then once over the acute stage find it difficult to walk unaided or unassisted. I explained by saying it is hard for Dr’s and nurses to let patients go home if they can not walk, can not shower without help or cook. “Well, I am a terrible cook, have a shower over the bath (70’s style) and I can’t walk, it’s a shit you know.” “yes it is, lets talk about getting you assessed for care then?”

This then leads into the nursing home talk, respite care, independent living opportunities and I do understand people want to die in their own homes so put things in place that enable you to do this. Ensure you have bathrooms big enough to get chairs in to sit on while bathing, or wheel chairs. Having been with another relative whilst they were being assessed in their own homes, bathrooms and toilets are the biggest obstacle next to front entrance steps or two stories homes that prevent people staying in their homes. The assessing people no longer advocate $30,000 bathroom renovations unless it’s done with forward selling in mind, this means that it is practical, usable and modern enough for people not to notice it was designed for wheel chairs and two people to come in and bathe the owner. They suggest putting false floors and ramps in shower cubicles to ‘cover the lip’ so the client does not trip, this can be removed after the clients leave.

Doing up a bathroom with a shower over the bath is not only a great idea but practical, but now we have to go down the track of determining if this is the right course of action or if it is time to sell the property and moved into an independent living unit, I am advocating for the later.  These are the conversations one has to have regardless of whether the recipient takes on anything you say or that they ignore you, they are must haves and they are exhausting. Once things get said then actions need to happen, so moving to this stage is also challenging.