As our parents age, we face a variety of new situations and challenges. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the number and complexity of decisions and daily tasks to be completed.
We may also face limitations in our ability to care for our parents in their home, whether these be physical challenges, financial pressures, work obligations, or the needs of our own children.
The decision to hire professional caregivers can be difficult, particularly if your parents don’t think they need help, or feel that their independence is being taken away. However, there are ways to make this transition easier and to help loved ones look forward to the many benefits of in-home care.
Know what kind of care is needed
When first setting up home care, it is important to determine what sort of help is needed. Does Mom need help with personal care such as bathing, dressing, eating, and using the bathroom? How about household chores, transportation, cooking, and caring for her pets? Will this care include medication reminders or nursing services? Having assessed the kind of assistance your parent needs will help determine what insurance may cover and which caregivers are the best fit.
Involve your parent in the process
No one likes to feel that others are making decisions for them. Give your parent the opportunity to be heard and make as many choices as possible. This may vary depending on his or her abilities and may take some creativity and thought. Remember, everyone has the right to be included in their own care decisions.
Clarify roles and keep communicating
Even after hiring a caregiver, your involvement will remain central to ensuring good communication and the best possible care for your parent. During the transition to in-home care, schedule a conversation with your parent and agency about roles and expectations. Who is part of your Mom’s care network and who is the primary decision maker? Are there tasks that you would like to continue doing? These conversations are not one-time occurrences, and it may be helpful to schedule regular check ins with caregivers over the phone or in person.
Start early and slow
Senior care services offer many benefits throughout the aging process, and the earlier you access them the easier the transition can be. Starting the conversation when a parent first has challenges with any aspect of living at home enables him or her to be actively involved in choices and decision making. It can be helpful to start in-home care gradually, in order to let your parent and caregiver get to know each other and begin to build a relationship. Starting with a few hours the first week and then increasing over time is a common strategy. During the first visit, you may want the new caregiver to observe your current routines and strategies. However, be sure to allow time for your parent and new caregiver to be alone together during the first few weeks. The relationship between them will be unique and needs time and space to develop.
Share what is most important to your family
When developing a relationship with a home care professional or team, you are getting to know each other’s needs and strengths. A conversation about the things that are most important to your parent can help caregivers understand and care for your loved one in the best way possible. Is your mom fiercely independent? Then your caregiver will know that encouraging choices is critical. Are grandchildren the highlight of your dad’s life? Then scheduling care around their visits, or helping him Skype with them may be an important role for your caregiver.
Home care can be helpful in so many ways when you or a loved one need it.
Schedule a free Care Consultation. During your Care Consult, we get to know you and your familyʼs needs. We work with you to develop a personalized Care Plan. Leave us your information, and we’ll contact you. Need to speak with someone right now? Call 941-746-8400