Coming to the decision to seek out in-home care with an elderly loved one is not easy. If you formerly held the role of caretaker, you may experience various emotions, including guilt and relief. In addition to your own feelings, you must consider those of your loved one. Will they cooperate or be resistant? Will they understand you or resent you? While they may be relieved that you aren’t suggesting moving them to a senior living community, they might not take kindly to you hiring a stranger to help take care of them. Moreover, they may even worry about the threat of elder abuse. Every person is different, but you can do a few things to ensure their comfort before finalizing the change. Keep reading to learn about the importance of communicating well, involving your loved one in the process, selecting the right program, and making home improvements that are conducive to this major transition.
The first step to making your loved one comfortable is communicating what you have in mind. Avoid springing the matter on them or simply deciding to seek out in-home care services without their knowledge. Even if their independence is diminishing, it’s vital that they feel they have a voice about important matters in their lives. Take the time to explain to them why you think in-home care is the best option for them. For instance, home care allows them to be taken care of in a familiar and comfortable space instead of having to move into a facility. Don’t feel like you have to do all of the talking. You can ask them questions to get their input on this life change. Most importantly, reassure them of your love. It may be difficult to get them to agree to such a change, but the conversation is necessary.
Taking communication into consideration is not just essential during the early stages of seeking out home care. It’s also important to think about communication after the transition, right now. Be sure to come up with a plan for how to maintain your relationship with your loved one. In hiring an in-home care aide, They may have concerns that you will abandon them or that your relationship will suffer. These are valid concerns. Instead of dismissing them, you and your loved one can determine how to address such matters. Find something that works for both of you depending on the home care program you are interested in.
Involve Your Loved One
Once you’ve broached the discussion around in-home care with your loved one, you want to ensure that you include them in the process. While you may have your own ideas of what you want out of home care services for them, it’s important that you at least ask your loved one what they want, too. Some questions you might ask include: What services are important to you? Would you like hired help daily? Or would they be more comfortable with a hybrid arrangement, where you help them some days and an in-home care aide helps on opposite days? Alternatively, they may want your help during a certain time of day, but enlist the help of a professional during other times. A home care program may not fulfill all of their desires, but getting an idea of what they want can help as you begin to search for the right program.
Another way that you can involve your loved one is by showing them pictures of what they can expect out of home care. If the company’s site does not have photos, their social media accounts usually do. Once you narrow down which programs are worth exploring further, if possible, include your loved ones in the interview process. This will allow them to meet prospective caregivers and get to know them a little. In addition, it can give you an idea of how well your relative will get along with the newcomer.
Select the Right Program
Selecting the right home care program may be just as challenging as discussing in-home care with your loved one. In addition to several kinds of home care services, there are also various types of care including: companion care, personal care, transitional care, and skilled nursing care. It’s important that you identify what kind of care best suits your loved one’s needs. Additionally, make sure you know the differences between the sorts of residential care offered, as in-home/home care differs from home health care, which involves medical care.
One of the biggest factors will likely be cost. Does your loved one have money to foot the bill or will you be responsible? The answer to this question may impact how you proceed with your program search. Your loved one may be eligible for some sort of senior care financial assistance. Others may need to use savings or take out a personal loan.
Some other factors you may need to consider as you choose the right program include the services offered and eligibility requirements. Once you’ve narrowed down your options based on the previously mentioned criteria, you can shorten your list even more by noting how professional the aides are, company reviews, and the quality of care.
Try to get down to a list of three programs that both you and your loved one agree on, and then discuss what you like and dislike about each one. Remember, to be realistic and have an open mind.
Consider Useful Home Improvements
Hiring help will surely take some responsibility off of your plate if you have been acting as a caretaker for your loved one. In addition to the three tips mentioned above, you may need to consider making some home improvements before bringing in a professional caregiver. Why? Well, the way we operate within our own living spaces may not be suitable or comfortable for outsiders to work in. For an in-home caretaker to provide the best care to your loved one, they need a conducive space.
Home improvements don’t necessarily have to be major. Depending on your circumstances, you may just need to work with your loved one to get rid of clutter. Some in-home care programs do offer housekeeping services. However, getting rid of extreme clutter involves more than simply tidying up. If your relative’s living space is excessively cluttered or dirty, that will typically go beyond the light housekeeping services that a home care program provides. Furthermore, a cluttered space can make it difficult for the employee and your loved one to move about the house without tripping, falling or injuring themselves. Things that you knew how to finagle or get around with ease when handling caregiving duties, may present problems for a professional caretaker and your relative, who previously relied on you for such unique problems.
Some other home modifications may be helpful in this transition to in-home care. You don’t need to renovate the whole house. After all, your loved one is going to have help. However, how often you plan to have a professional caretaker visit could impact what upgrades you make. For instance, if there will be gaps between when the professional caretaker’s shift ends and when you arrive to take over care, think about what aspects of the home could present challenges to your loved one when they are alone. Even if there won’t usually be any time gaps, you should anticipate mishaps. For instance, you might be running late, get stuck in traffic or have an emergency to take care of that interrupts the normal caregiving schedule.
What are some modifications you can make? Consider adding handles that are easy for your loved one to use, as dexterity issues can make using knobs difficult. In addition, if there are doors that are difficult to open, either due to weight or old hinges, you might want to replace them. Slipping and tripping hazards should also be taken into consideration. Not only for your loved one during brief times that might be alone, but also for hired help. Take a look at flooring in high-use areas of your relative’s living space, such as the kitchen and bathroom. Rugs are nice for decor, but could cause an accident. Also, some flooring materials are more likely to lead to slips and falls. Look into slip-resistant flooring options to combat this issue. Depending on personal circumstances and the overall condition of the home, these home improvements shouldn’t cost too much, but if necessary a home equity loan can be used to cover the expense. Alternatively, the aged relative’s financial standing may be eligible for the Older Adult Homes Modification Program.
Transitioning your loved one to an in-home care program is no easy feat. However, no matter what kind of services you’re in search of, it’s important that they feel comfortable before. By following the advice above, you will be well on your way to ensuring your loved one’s comfort well before this major change.