If you’ve already moved a senior loved one into assisted living, the prospect of shifting them again probably sounds taxing. However, mounting health problems and life-limiting symptoms may demand professional hospice support services. Many assisted living facilities offer this option; nevertheless, hospice or palliative care support services are distinct from daily elder care in that they serve patients with terminal conditions. This option helps patients and their families prepare to say goodbye.
Fairfax, VA, residents looking for comprehensive and sensitive senior care can turn to Tysons Woods Assisted Living. Our small community—composed of two facilities—provides a supportive and safe environment for elders with fresh-cooked meals, free-living lifestyles, and more. To learn more about our senior services and pre-admission assessment, call (703) 846-0395 or visit our website today.
Below, we discuss navigating the transition into end-of-life care:
What is Hospice Care?
Although one facility may offer both options, assisted living and hospice care services are distinct in critical ways. The former is intended for seniors in generally good health who require help with some daily activities (such as bathing, cooking, and exercising). Providers can often personalize such care for a patient’s needs. For instance, Tysons Woods offers medication management and a free-living lifestyle within our assisted living.
On the other hand, hospice care caters to seniors with a terminal diagnosis who have exhausted all medical treatment options. This treatment path does not seek to cure ailments but rather to make a patient comfortable in the final leg of their journey. Palliative care may also include counseling for the senior’s loved ones so they, too, can come to terms with the individual’s passing.
How Hospice Works Alongside Assisted Living
While hospice and assisted living serve distinct purposes, they can work hand-in-hand. For example, a senior living in an assisted living facility need not relocate premises if the facility also offers hospice services. Providers may move that senior to a different ward, but doing so involves much less work than a shift from private residence to assisted living.
Moreover, the medical staff of the assisted living facility will be familiar with any patients who have lived there before receiving hospice care. The staff can prepare for the needs of those patients—those with significant cognitive decline can receive the emotional support they need to feel safe, for example.
How to Prepare Your Senior for Hospice Care
Senior living facility staff can always handle a new hospice care patient—they have ample training and experience for just such instances. But how does one prepare a senior for end-of-life care? The process will look a bit different for every patient, but we suggest using the following strategies:
- Start a candid conversation
No matter the severity of their health struggles, some people will struggle with the idea of moving into hospice care. This conflict is just human nature and something loved ones should anticipate. But rather than fight a senior about the topic, you should speak rationally and try to dispel their concerns while explaining the benefits. In most cases, they simply need time to accept they are approaching the end.
- Learn about hospice care and teach your loved one
One way to overcome fears and misgivings about hospice care is to learn its details. The label “end-of-life care” is bound to provoke strong feelings, so get some facts on your side. Unpacking your senior’s misconceptions can help them overcome anxiety.
- Create a comfortable setting
When your senior begins transitioning into hospice care, creating a serene environment for them will help smooth the shift. Doing so involves the care team (including medical and spiritual helpers) that will interact with your senior daily. Yet you can also add soft lighting and music, pictures, and favorite belongings.
- Enjoy your quality time together
The time before a senior’s end is a unique one for making memories, so take as many opportunities as possible to be there with family. Do the things that you and your senior love, talk about your memories together, or just enjoy one another’s company. There’s no “right” way to spend quality time, so do what feels right to you.
Comprehensive Hospice Support Services Available for Fairfax, VA, Residents
Although we may not wish to imagine them, your senior’s last days can be comfortable and uplifting. Turn to Tysons Woods Assisted Living for hospice support services that ensure patients can face the end with dignity. Our team serves families throughout Fairfax, VA, and the surrounding community with assisted living options, medical services, and more. Call us at (703) 846-0395 or visit our website to see whether hospice services would suit your senior.