As your parents reach their senior years, considering the type of care they will need is both important and easy to put off.
Moving your parents into a nursing home, or taking care of them yourself, are complicated subjects worthy of separate exploration. But the truth is that in America, 80% of seniors are now choosing in-home care. It’s much more flexible and much less likely to cause an argument with your family members.
The first step to getting the right care for you parents is to compile a list of areas they need help with on a day-to-day basis. This will include areas such as hygiene, medication, and mobility. Here is a simple list to get you started.
Not all in-home care for seniors is created equally. So how do you choose the best option for your parent or parents?
Agency or Individual?
When looking for caregivers, you may choose to hire an independent worker or a care agency. If you choose to do the search yourself, you can make use of online directories or free advertising services such as Craigslist. You can also contact government social service providers to find specific programs that may work for you and your parents.
Before deciding to hire an individual care giver, take into consideration that background checks and taxes will likely be your responsibility. It is also important to consider sick days, holidays, and other times where it may be difficult to find a replacement.
If these issues are a significant problem for you, then hiring an agency may be the way to go. Although using an agency can be costlier up-front, some services may be covered by government programs. Agencies also have the advantage of more variety and flexibility of care. With agencies, it is important to consider if your parent will be distressed by changes in caregivers.
What Kind of Care?
Home care services for seniors generally fall into five categories: personal care, health care, household care, emotional care and transportation services.
Personal care is mostly indicated for people who have trouble with bathing, toileting, dressing or eating on their own. Your family member may have dementia and require all these services. They may have suffered an injury in the home and simply require assistance in and out of a hot bath.
Emotional care involves companionship and cognitive activities. It has been shown to reduce the risk of dementia, depression and heart disease, to name just a few. Especially in families where children and grandchildren are scattered all over the globe, emotional care is something to think about.
Household care is a broad category that may involve meal preparation, shopping, and cleaning in various degrees. It is important to talk to your parents about which of these services they need and feel comfortable having help with. Transport services can also be important to consider early-on, especially if your family member suffers from conditions that worsen over time such as Macular Degeneration.
Health care usually needs to be provided by a registered nurse. This may include administering medications, physical therapy, and managing doctors’ appointments.
How to Choose
Once you have informed yourself about the types of care available in your area, the most vital step is approaching your family member about it. It all depends on them. Both the severity of their mental and physical disabilities; and their comfort level with caregivers.
It is vital you find a service, or combination of services that is going to suit both of your needs. Read as much as you can about home care services for seniors, talk to friends and most of all talk to your parents!