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Bringing Care Home: Exploring the Journey to In Home Senior Care

 

Volume II:

Talking About Private Home Care

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Recognizing the need for Private Home Care

In our last article we discussed eleven signs that may indicate that it’s time to look into private home care.   After reading that article, you may have noticed some of these signs when you were spending time with a loved one.  If that is the case, you may now be considering how to open up the dialogue about using a senior home care solution with your family, including the loved one who demonstrates the need.  Home care can be a challenging topic, which should be tackled as a collective group that includes family and close friends where applicable.  The group discussion approach will provide everyone with a vested interest in the decision to start home care with an opportunity to participate in the conversation.

 

What to Expect from the Family Discussion

Before beginning the conversation, there are some things to consider that will ensure a productive deliberation.

 Be Prepared: Plan ahead so that you know what you plan to discuss and are prepared for questions that others may have for you.  Here are two key things that you should understand before you mention the topic of getting in-home senior care:

  • What are the benefits of getting in home care?
  • What are some common fears that people who need care may have?  

 We’ll discuss both of these topics in detail in the next section of this article.

 Be Open-Minded: Always be mindful that this is meant to be a family discussion, and everyone in attendance should have the opportunity to clearly communicate his or her own thoughts and ideas on the subject.  This will likely require that someone perform the role of a moderator and that all of the participants will need to be reminded that they should spend most of their time listening to each other’s suggestions and take the time needed to talk through questions and concerns where needed.  It is especially important for the person who would be receiving care to express themselves if they are able to.  This decision directly affects them and it is meaningful that they are allowed to have their say.

 Be Patient: Don’t expect to cover everything question and or/concern and have a solution after a single conversation.  People may need time to digest all the information that was shared and may want to do some of their own research before making the decision.  Expect to walk away from the meeting with action items and a timeline for follow up.  In some cases it may take a series of meetings before a family is able to reach a final decision.   If the circumstances of your loved one is not an emergency situation, it is okay to take the time get informed and make sure that everyone is comfortable with moving forward.  Having as much family support as possible will set the stage for the best transition possible when your caregiver comes on board.

 Be Decisive:  It’s possible that the decision to start private home care may not be unanimous, particularly where the perspective of the senior in need of the care is concerned.  When this happens, it’s important for the family to acknowledge the point of view of the person in doubt but keep in mind that this dissention does not mean that moving forward with the care is the right action to take.  Be comfortable making the right call even when it may displease others.

 

Benefits of Home Care

How will your loved one benefit from enlisting help from a professional home health aide?

  • Convenience: There will be someone in the home with your relative to assist with their needs, they will no longer need to struggle to do tasks that they find difficult or have to wait for someone else to visit so that they can do it for them.
  • Comfort:  The caregiver will be coming to them in their home, this means that they remain in the environment that is most familiar and comforting to them.
  • Companionship:  If your loved one lives alone, they will have someone with them to pass the time doing activities that they enjoy.
  • Respite: If your loved one lives with a family caregiver, having a professional caregiver will provide the family caregiver the ability to take breaks and rest as needed. 
  • Security and Peace of Mind:  Having someone else in the home to provide safety supervision for clients that may be a fall risk or clients who suffer from cognitive disorders that may cause them to wander will give all family members peace of mind that their loved one will be safe at all times.
  • Personal Care: The caregiver working with your loved one will be able to assist them with common personal care tasks as well as providing assistance with ambulation and elimination as needed.
  • Health Care:  If your loved one needs assistance with medication reminders, medical equipment or activities to stimulate the brain for cognitive disorders, they will have a skilled worker to assist with those tasks.
  • Housekeeping:  Caregivers perform light housekeeping, which will take the pressure off of your loved ones to maintain the household themselves.
  • Flexible Schedules/Schedule Coverage: Caregivers can be with your loved ones full time or on an hourly basis depending on their needs of the client.  When working with an agency, coverage of a caregiver is guaranteed so that the client and/or their family will not have to worry about finding replacements if the need arises.
  • Training/Oversight:  If you get care through an agency, the agency employs the caregivers.  This means that they will handle all payroll, compliance, insurance and legal oversight, including ensuring that caregivers are appropriately trained and licensed to tend to your loved ones needs.
  • Affordable Senior Care Option:  Daily and hourly rates for senior in home care tends to be less expensive than the cost of moving into assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

Common Fears about Home Care

Now that you know the many benefits of private home care, what are some of the concerns that people often have about bringing someone into their home to care for them?

  • Loss of Independence/Privacy: Many people believe that caregivers will come into the home and take control of their routines, including making any and all decisions on their behalf. Experienced caregivers are able to determine the right balance between allowing their clients to maintain their freedom while making sure that the client receives the help they need where applicable.  Caregivers will also respect with the senior would like to have time to themselves and will give them the space they need.
  • Lack of Entertainment/Boredom: Many seniors fear that once a caregiver comes into the home, they will be responsible for keeping them entertained. They may also fear that having someone with them all the time may lead them to become less active or do the things they enjoy less often.  Caregivers will keep themselves busy caring for the senior’s needs by completing the tasks outlined for them in the client’s custom care plan.  Part of the care plan would be to participate in the activities that the patient enjoys with them.
  • Increased Rate of Aging: Some seniors are concerned that once they are no longer required to do as many things for themselves, they will age more rapidly and possibly get sicker in the process.  Caregivers will work with their clients to make sure that the patients perform activities that will keep both their mind and body sharp on a regular basis.
  • Loss of Connection with Family and Friends:  People may fear that relatives and friends will not come to see them as often once they have someone in-home to care for them.  In most cases, having a caregiver in the home does not impact how often a client has visitors as friends and family look forward to spending time with their loved one. 
  • Bringing a Stranger into the Home: People fear that when a stranger comes into their home they are at risk of being neglected or being in an unsafe environment.  Home care agencies screen their caregivers’ background and work history, and verify that they demonstrate their skills to provide quality care to patients.  This assures that when a caregiver is assigned to work with your loved one, you and your family can be assured that they will be safe and well cared for.
  • Cost: Seniors worry that they do not have enough funds to cover the cost of private home care.  Many home care agencies will accept long term care insurance that supplements the client’s use of personal savings and retirement funds to pay for service.

 

The Decision is Made

If your family decides to start private home care, the process of seeking the right agency will begin.  There are many things to consider when seeking the right senior in-home care agency for your loved one.  In next month’s article, we will touch on the key things you need to know and questions that you should ask when selecting a home care agency.  Check back next month to read more!

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