By Loida Casares
A few days ago I called my sister to chat and she was on the other line with my dad. She had just happened to call him and he told her he was locked out of the house. I asked her how that was possible considering he was the only one home and he had to lock the door behind him when he left. The problem was that there’s a trick to opening the door knob on our back door and he had forgotten. Once she reminded him he remembered how to get in.
When I got home I asked him how long he had been waiting outside and he answered “for about an hour.” These are the moments when I really struggle with the decision of whether or not to talk to him about going to an adult day care.
I feel like it would not only keep him safe and give me peace of mind, but it would also give him an opportunity to socialize with other people his age and to keep his mind active. I know that he doesn’t have the same opinion as me because he likes his freedom. I want him to have that freedom but I also want for him to be safe.
Another challenge that I have is traveling. A friend of mine keeps inviting me to her brother’s ranch house and another friend just recently bought a beach house in Galveston and she invited me to spend the night, not knowing my current dad situation. I can’t leave him overnight. The last time I went away for the weekend to Galveston my sister had to fly in from California to stay with him. Yes, it gave her the opportunity to visit with him but it was also a sacrifice.
With today’s growing senior population there are more options available to make our lives easier. I recently learned that senior living homes offer Respite Care. It’s almost like having your parent stay at a hotel with 24-hour room service and attention while you go out of town or simply just need a break. It can also serve as an introduction into senior living when your parent is still pretty active but you just need for someone to stay with him or her for the weekend.
My other concern is whether or not I should be leaving my dad alone during the day much longer. I did a search for Adult Day Care centers in Houston and at least seven came up on the first listing. There are also a few services that help you locate a center close to you. I found that there is one adult day care really close to me and they offer several activities.
Some of the activities listed include:
• Arts and Crafts
• Computer/Internet Access and Training
• Billiards / Ping Pong / Games
• Social and Holiday Functions
• Educational Programs / Speakers
I reached out to Paul Ragsdale to ask about Respite Care. He and his wife Sharon own Cypress Assisted Living, LLC and they have years of experience with their own parents as well as their business. They are not an adult day care but they do accept Respite Care guests if they have room. They cannot exceed the maximum number of licensed residents.
Paul Ragsdale said that three things are important when choosing, both an adult day care or respite care.
1. You need to ask for the caregiver to resident ratio.
2. You should also make sure that they are a licensed facility, ask for their license number and make sure they are in good standing with the state.
3. Finally, and probably the most important question, “Do they have a heart for helping elders?”
You don’t want to leave your loved one in the care of someone with a questionable reputation and risk mistreatment or abuse. You need to take the time to find a place where your parent will feel safe and secure.
This may be a really big step for both of you and you want to make your parent feels like their opinion still counts.
So take the time, visit a few places in person, take your parent with you to get a feel for the place, and ask the center or home all the right questions.
Choosing the right senior living home for Respite Care or an adult day care center may be the best decision that you ever made for you and your parent. Make sure you choose wisely.
Loida Casares is a native Houstonian who graduated from the University of Houston with a BA in Journalism and an MA in Communication. She works in advertising by day and is a writer and blogger at night. She has been blogging at ShoeGirlCorner.com for ten years. Loida also blogged for skirt.com, a national magazine for many years. She has read with Nuestra Palabra, Latinos Having Their Say several times and has appeared on their radio program on KTRU, Radio Pacifica.