Dad's Not Coming Home From Rehab
My father broke his hip in a fall and was hospitalized last month. After surgery, he went to a rehabilitation unit. We have just been informed that he is finished with rehabilitation, but dad is clearly not capable of caring for himself. He is 89 and has been getting weaker over the last year. He is not independently using the bathroom, and preparing food is out of the question. So much for rehabilitation! What do we do?
I am assuming that your father is capable of making decisions, as you did not mention any mental disability. In that case, I recommend you have a conversation with him to discuss his choices. Rest assured that he is already thinking about his options, so this conversation will likely come as no surprise to him.
If your father wants to go home and has the financial resources to hire the care needed, going home is a viable option. Review assets with him, as long-term care can be expensive. He needs to project care for the rest of his life.
I recommend exploring all available options. First, have a conference with the rehabilitation staff. What are they projecting for his future? Do they believe he has reached his full potential? If yes, then your father must plan for assistance with daily living activities for the rest of his projected life. If family members are not available to provide such assistance, he will need to be aware of all his options. Information and brochures from home health agencies and assisted living organizations are a good place to start. Your father may ask you to interview and visit with representatives from several organizations. I would recommend that you do this and bring your father along for any tours, if possible.
Do your best to make this next stage of life as enjoyable as you can for your father. Plan outings, lunches, Sunday football games, or whatever you have been doing together before he fell.
Quality of life is top priority.
Dad's care needs and living arrangements are important, but it is important not to forget the human element. Quality time with family is what really matters to all of us. So please, help him plan for his care needs, but keep the family and fun coming.
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