Is it time for Home Care?
Updated: Sep 9
How do you determine when it is the right time to introduce a Companion or a Caregiver?
Needing extra care can be loaded with stigmas and everyone has their own opinion on it. Mom and/or Dad may feel like asking for extra help is a sign of weakness and it can be a blow to one's ego. Think about it, for decades they've been independent... they changed your diapers and took care of you. They are "supposed" to be your hero. So when they start to have difficulty with tasks that used to be easy, they may find it degrading to ask for help.
Ironically, kids often have similar emotions. They will feel powerless and guilty; possibly even ashamed that they can't do more. With busy lives, it is nearly impossible in this day and age to take care of elderly parents the way it was done 20 or 30 years ago. Plus, with better health care, people are living longer which is creating a world like we have never seen before. Point is, whatever the emotions are that come to the surface, the main thing to realize is it's okay. It is completely normal to have these feelings, but you also need to recognize that these negative feelings don't serve anyone. Giving into the negative feelings doesn't make life easier for you or mom and dad. Having the support of a visiting nurse or caregiver does.
How do you know it is time to get a caregiver?
Try having a conversation with your loved one that is open and loving and supportive. Some signs are obvious, like seeing pain on mom or dad's face when they lift something heavy or walk for extended periods of time; complaints about joint pain may lead to less physical activity which could lead to more pain and stiffness. There are also some less obvious signs that a loved one might need assistance, such as: prescriptions not needing to be filled at the usual time, forgetfulness, mismanaging of money or responsibilities, weight loss, decrease in personal appearance, the house is less kept up than it used to be, less food is being purchased or what is in the fridge is expired or bad. As mentioned before, admitting that there is a need may be difficult so it might be beneficial to contact a home care agency for a care assessment and observation. I'm Here Homecare does consultations free of charge and can help identify the areas where a little extra help will make the most difference.
The first big step is observation. You must observe and collect data - like a scientist. Some families can do this on their own by spending more time with mom or dad and observing what things they are able to do easily and which things are a challenge. Some families don't have the luxury of this time and depending on whether mom and dad are in denial, they could hide a lot. For this reason, some families will begin with Companion care. This is a trained individual who helps engage with mom and dad. It's someone who keeps an eye on things while also interacts socially and mentally.
A Companion is a good starting point when you don't think that personal care services are needed. Companions can attend medical appointments with your loved one and take notes. It is very common for our senior loved ones to downplay the severity of their health issues and if you don't have a background in medicine, you might not know that it is being downplayed.
A good Companion will look for patterns and report on areas of deficit so that any declines in physical or mental ability can be avoided or rehabilitated. Good Companion care will often lead to improved physical and mental health. I'm Here Homecare always keeps a care binder in the home to document the observations and this record keeping allows them to create baseline statistics which can then be used to create assisted care activities designed to improve mom and dad's daily life and well-being.
If you already know that mom or dad require some personal care assistance with health related tasks, then you should start with a Caregiver. A caregiver will help with everything from social and mental activities to hygiene care and assistance with doctor or PT prescribed home care plans.
Whether you know where to start or are just gathering information, I'm Here Homecare is able to talk you through the journey and be a trusted partner in whatever care planning you require.