Home care for parents: Assessing the situation! (Part two)

Yesterday we discussed the warning signs of knowing when it’s time to get help at home for Mom or Dad. Today, we’ll dive into what to assess and the next step.

Once you know that there is a problem and you start seeing the warning signs, how do you know if home care is even right for your parent?

Definition of Home Care:

Home care is usually defined as non-medical support services delivered at the home of the senior. The aim of home care is to allow seniors to remain at home longer rather than enter an assisted living community, nursing home or other type of senior care. Home care may be appropriate if a senior prefers to stay at home but needs minor assistance with activities of daily living.

Experts tell us that one of the most frightening prospects for seniors is leaving home and in certain instances it cannot be avoided especially if Mom or Dad are wandering or have cognitive issues. In contrast, there are times when home care is a perfect scenario.

Now, I know you are asking me, “What services can we expect to get from home care?”  Home care agencies help with any activities and needs that a person requires throughout the day which can include: 

  • Companionship and conversation
  • Grocery shopping
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Diet monitoring
  • Hygiene assistance, including bathing and dressing
  • Light housekeeping
  • Walking assistance
  • Errands and transportation
  • Laundry, ironing and vacuuming
  • Change linens and bed making
  • Help with bills and mail
  • Supervise home maintenance and repairs
  • Organize closets and pantries
  • Medication reminders
  • Help with correspondence
  • Wash dishes
  • Appointment reminders
  • Coordinate home services
  • Pick-up prescriptions
  • General shopping
  • Review phone messages
  • Watch movies and play games

How Do I Even Start A Conversation About Home care?

If you’ve noticed the warning signs, the time to start talking with your parent is NOW before you find yourself in crisis mode. But how do you bring up sensitive subjects related to aging, such as the need for home care? The experts recommend conversation starters that might assist you in overcoming the awkwardness.

Approach your parents with a conversation. Discuss what you’ve observed and ask your parents what they think is going on. If your parents acknowledge the situation, ask what they think would be good solutions. If your parents don’t recognize a problem, use concrete examples to support your case.

We must remember we are talking to an adult, not a child. Patronizing speech or baby talk will put older adults on the defensive and convey a lack of respect for them and we would never want to do that. I suggest putting yourself in their shoes and think of how you would want to be addressed in the situation.

Remember also, if your parent is a Veteran or the spouse of a Veteran he/she might be eligible for home care benefits through the War Time Veterans Benefits Program. For more information on this go to: http://www.aginginfousa.com/veterans and our experts will walk you through the process and answer any questions you might have in regard to this benefit.

We all would love to pretend that these issues don’t exist and try to remove them from our lives, yet they linger in the balance and being proactive instead reactive is much more beneficial.

Resources:

Home care Non Medical in Chicagoland area: http://www.aginginfousa.com/home_health_care_non_medical

Home Care Medical in Chicago and Suburbs: http://www.aginginfousa.com/home_health_care_medical

National Association of Home Care: http://www.nahc.org/

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About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked in the geriatric healthcare field for over 25 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes" (http://www.AlongComesGrandpa.com). As a Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and enthusiasm to assist corporations in finding solutions to work/life balance challenges and pro-actively educate and empower their employees.
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