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You Can Return Home -- The Ruby Slippers

Aug 17, 2007
I recently received calls from a daughter caring for her mother and a man with no family in his nineties. Both older persons were in nursing homes and wanted to go home, but did not know how. Did you ever imagine getting to a place in your life where you did not know how to go home? This brings back memories of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz wanting to go home, but not realizing she had the power to do so simply by clicking the heels of her ruby slippers.

Both individuals are relatively able bodied and resolute in their desire to go home. There is no reason mentally or physically for them to remain in the nursing home, especially since they are at a point where they are paying privately for care to the tune of about $180 per day. Neither person realized that they can just go home, walk out the door, leave. Yes, both individuals will need some help at home to remain independent, but going home is not impossible.

People get lost in the medical system every day. Whether it is in a nursing home, a hospital, or some other system, it happens to all of us. Sometimes it is not knowing what we do not know that puts us on hold. Some form that we forgot to sign, a question we did not think to ask, the list goes on and on. Many of the systems are so frantically busy that they just do not have the time for one on one personalization.

This is what happened to this woman and man, both wanting just to go home. It did not occur them to know what questions to ask. No one at the nursing homes saw the fear in their eyes because they thought they were never going home; the fear in their eyes as they saw others in the nursing home becoming frailer and passing away. In the nursing home and many other systems, there simply just is not enough time to personalize. Individuals decline to the level of the highest functioning person in the nursing home because they have no aspirations or example to improve.

Nursing homes provide much needed care for very frail individuals. Many times, there is not time to just sit and talk with residents about their desires and fears. Many times, there is not time to help them get back home especially if no family exists. Family meeting occur without family and there is no one to help plan going home, so individuals remain where they are.

There are many home care service providers and geriatric care managers able to assist individuals in transitioning back home. By evaluating the needs, realities and costs of each individual situation a review of the situation can be made. Sometimes it is possible to go back home, sometimes it is not. Everyone should know that the option exists -- that they do have the power within themselves to click the ruby slippers and go back home.
About the Author
Pamela Dombrowski-Wilson is an author and owner of In Home and Family Services, Inc. a counseling and direct care company serving older adults and their family members. Visit http:// www.inhomeandfamily.com or http://www.pameladwilson.com for more informaion
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