If nothing else, aging is about learning, and understanding how to deal with transitions. As elderly people navigate frequent changes in health, emotional states, appearance, finances, and more, they deserve compassionate care and support from loved ones, as well as professional caregivers and institutions. Among the countless changes that seniors move through, one of the more difficult ones is transitioning to and/or from a nursing home.
Regardless of our age, moving is stressful. And even though the additional issues associated with aging make moving even more complicated, it’s nothing that can’t be handled with dignity and care. Consider the usual questions an elderly person has when contemplating the transition from nursing home to community: where will I live? Will my home be a secure and stable accommodation? Will I be physically safe living at home? Will I have access to healthcare? Will I be alone? How will I connect with people? Help from the Community Living Fund
Many of these questions take time, and thorough research, to answer — and are impossible to resolve alone. Feelings of fear and anxiety are common during the transition, while limited incomes can, unfortunately, create extra obstacles. Friends, family, and caregivers can provide help, but only to an extent; for larger issues, we need to connect with professionals, like the staff at Institute on Aging. While obstacles abound during the transition from nursing facilities back into the community, they are usually nothing that a team of supportive professionals can’t resolve compassionately.
In fact, it’s for this very purpose that the Community Living Fund exists. The Community Living Fund (CLF) also helps individuals who are currently living in the community, but are at risk for institutionalization. Designed to support seniors living with limited incomes in making a healthy shift from a nursing facility back into their local communities, CLF also helps individuals who are currently living in the community, but are at risk for institutionalization. This can be difficult for elderly people who prefer to continue living at home — but whose physical or emotional conditions might require them to move into a nursing home.
Elaine’s story: re-discovering independence
A good example is the story of Elaine, an elderly woman who had already experienced falling down the stairs in her home. Her family agreed that it had gotten to the point where it didn’t seem safe for Elaine to continue living at home — even though she dearly wanted to remain there. Her family had been struggling with watching her constantly, and fearing for her safety. But when the Community Living Fund stepped in, Elaine’s life changed for the better — with a solution that gave her back her independence, and renewed her spirit. Elaine explains how she felt when she was unsafe living in her own home of thirty years: “Not being able to go down the stairs was very scary. I was kind of frozen at the top of the stairs, not being able to reassure myself that I wasn’t going to pitch forward or fall backwards. It just never felt safe.”
A staff member from the IOA explains that they were “able to step in and evaluate that a stairlift was the most appropriate way to keep Elaine safe at home.” Getting a new stairlift not only enabled Elaine to continue living at home, but helped her family relax, and empower her as a senior at home. She shares, “when the stairlift came, it was like a miracle. It took the fear away instantly, it couldn’t be more perfect. It gives me a lot of self control. I have independence because of this.”
Professional services and compassionate support
And CLF’s services extend far beyond cases like Elaine’s; CLF also ensures “that individuals are connected to all available community resources, stable housing, and appropriate healthcare services to support their ability to live at home safely.” If you know an older adult or elderly person who might benefit from connecting with CLF, but are unsure as to whether they’re eligible for the service, please get in touch with Department of Aging and Adult Services at 415.355.6700, where compassionate staff are waiting to answer your questions. Finding the necessary support for navigating the many issues that seniors face when transitioning from a nursing home, or living at home, is key — having compassionate professionals to help along the way can make all the difference.
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one with a critical transition, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make decisions and gain the best in senior care. Contact us to find out more.