As Dylan’s father, Griffin, gradually turned 65 years old, he found it increasingly difficult to be independent. Dylan had heard that Griffin struggled with daily activities such as eating and bathing. As a long-distance caregiver, Dylan was very concerned about his father’s condition. He was looking for home care services and some guidance on care services. Now, many unanswered questions still linger in his mind:
Does Griffin even need home care services?
What kind of services should home care professionals provide to Griffin?
Who should I hire?
When should we start the home care process?
How can I prepare a senior-friendly home for Griffin?
If you have similar questions, you’ve come to the right place! You know what? You can find all the answers here!
A Brief Introduction to Home Care
Home care is a bridge that can keep your loved one home for as long as possible. Home care provides health care services in the comfort of your home. Once a contract is signed, home caregivers will visit your home on a set schedule. Home care is a general term representing a wide range of services, from supporting daily activities to providing in-home healthcare services to individuals with an ongoing chronic condition like dementia. Therefore, home care professionals and the provided services include:
Registered nurses (RNs) provide skilled medical care to our loved ones. They can give medication, monitor vital signs, dress wounds, and use and teach patients’ family members how to use complicated equipment at home.
Therapists specialize in helping our aging loved ones restore or maintain their motor, speech, and cognitive skills.
Home care aides provide high-quality personal services to our loved ones, such as preparing meals, feeding, bathing, dressing, toileting, house cleaning, and transporting to medical appointments.
So, when is a good time to start arranging for home care services? What kinds of services should home care professionals prepare? You will find all the answers in this blog post! For more information on home care, please read our blog on all you need to know about home care.
When To Start the Process of Home Care
It is difficult to predict when our loved ones might need home care services. However, several factors might increase the probability of needing home care. Use these factors as a guide only. If your parents are in line with most factors mentioned below, please make an appointment with your doctor for further discussion!
Although there is no specific time that your aging loved one probably needs home care services, analysis shows that 65 is a critical age. Seniors over 65 have a nearly 70% chance of needing care services for their remaining years, including home care and long-term care. If our loved ones are about to turn 65, be prepared to arrange care services in advance! Choosing home care services is a good starting point since they will be more receptive to care from their own home.
Overall, seniors who live alone are more likely to need care from paid caregivers than elderly adults who live with their spouses or children. Suppose your parents or grandparents live by themselves. In that case, it’s a good idea to arrange a home caregiver for them to support their daily activities and care for their overall physical, mental and social wellness.
Family History of Health
A family history of health also contributes to the need for care services in seniors’ later years. Conditions that require special attention are physical disabilities, sensory disabilities, cognitive disabilities, and other chronic diseases. As their children, we should be aware of common symptoms of aging disorders and inherited or acquired disabling conditions. We should also check their health conditions regularly and prepare for care services!
In addition, some signs require special attention, for instance, a decrease or increase in appetite, drastic unexplained weight gain or loss, changes in appearance or dress (become sloppy), and memory loss, especially when they cannot recall recent events or retrieve short-term memory. If our parents and grandparents have experienced several of these signs that lasted for more than two weeks, it’s time for us to seek further assistance and talk with our doctor.
How to Start the Process of In-Home Care
The decision to find home care services for our aging loved ones can be difficult. There are various reasons for choosing in-home care. Needs are divergent, so we need a comprehensive assessment before preparing our loved ones for home care.
Is Home Care needed For My Family?
Here’s a pop-quiz for you to see whether or not your loved ones need home care.
Q1: Does your loved one often forget things, such as forgetting where to put the keys, whether they have cleaned the house or not, and whether or not they have turned off the appliances?
Q2: Does your loved one fall frequently or have difficulty walking without help?
Q3: Does your loved one have difficulty eating or bathing on their own?
If your answer is “Yes” to any of those questions, your loved one probably needs to receive home care. However, they may be resistant to receiving in-home senior care since they have to give up some aspects of independence and freedom. We should talk with our loved ones about this by using appropriate communication strategies as family members. Want to learn how? Take a look at our blog post on effective communication with seniors. Remember, we have to make a trade-off between respecting our loved ones’ wishes and protecting their overall wellness.
What Services Are Needed?
After you have concluded that your loved one needs home care, the next step is to identify their care needs and determine the care services you would want home caregivers to provide. We have a checklist to help you with this difficult process. Feel free to download it and use it as a reference guide: Home Care Needs Self-Assessment
Who To Hire?
When it comes to this stage, there are several options available:
designate a family member to provide care for your loved one,
hire a registered nurse directly, or
hire a home caregiver through an agency.
All options have their pros and cons. For instance, Option A is indeed cost-effective. However, family members may not be as professional as registered nurses or certified caregivers. Both Option B and Option C can provide professional care. However, it will be costly.
Moreover, if you want to hire a registered nurse by yourself, it takes more time, and you have to do all the background checks. If you would like to learn more about the pros and cons of home care agencies vs private caregivers, please check out our blog on how to choose a home care service. Whatever you decide, make sure to give your loved one some input on the decision and respect their wants.
Guide to Prepare Senior-Friendly Homes for a Loved One
Develop a Plan
Once you decide to use home care services, it’s crucial to know who to hire and what kind of services your loved one would receive. Make good use of the checklist provided above to define the tasks that need to be done by home caregivers and to determine exactly which type of home care is best for your situation. In addition, consider the cost, determine your budget for these services and choose the most appropriate home care assistance.
Make Modifications To The Home
In some cases, your loved one may need a walker, wheelchair, or even a cane, so make sure the house can accommodate the use of these devices. Sometimes, we may have to make major renovations for them. For instance, creating barrier-free entryways that help seniors maneuver a wheelchair in and out of the home is a good start.
In some cases, our loved ones can use standard products to accommodate their needs. For example, providing bath seats for showering or grabbing rails for support is also a great idea. You should also remove any clutter that could be a tripping hazard and hire a contractor specializing in aging-in-place modifications to come into the home and create a plan.
Prepare A Home Medical Alert System
Medical alert systems are a simple yet effective method to ensure that our seniors communicate with us and their home care professionals 24/7 when they need assistance and can’t get to other communication devices. Normally, a medical alert system can be worn at all times, so it’s easily accessible and can allow us peace of mind when our loved ones might be home alone.
Invest In Technology That Facilitate Communication
Smooth communication is always the basis of providing and receiving high-quality care services. If our home care professionals can know our loved ones better, they can easily deliver empathy and prepare more tailored care for them. If you are looking for a technological solution to facilitate communication, please check us out! We at CareStory are here to bridge the gap between aging populations, families, and caregivers. A quick fact page, personalized music, life stories, and video messages can greatly facilitate caregivers’ daily jobs. Check here to see how CareStory works, and don’t hesitate to get in touch!