What to Consider When a Loved One is No Longer Safe Alone.
Guest Post Submitted by Lindsay Johnson.
Caring for your loved one is essential. But when they start relying on you 24/7, that’s too much responsibility to handle alone. Once upon a time, your parents may have taken care of themselves independently. However, many seniors need help with basic tasks like cooking and cleaning — which means children need to step in and provide this care. Because they become like a child, they can’t take care of themselves at this age, and you need to place safety everywhere in the home, such as nonslip bath mats, some helpful kitchen accessories, and many other things that may save them from any trouble.
When an elderly loved one is no longer safe alone at home, what can you do? This difficult question often leaves families with many questions. How will the person’s care be more likely to be successful if they are not in their own home? What would a move to assisted living mean for their independence and mental health? Would it even be possible to move them without potentially worsening some of their existing medical conditions or requiring more extensive services than they currently need? Is supported living at home a possibility?
If these concerns sound familiar, your family may have already started considering the possibility of proactive transitioning into a senior living community where you know there will always be someone willing and able to help out when needed. These communities offer just about any care that may be required by residents, which provides the peace of mind that you can be there to help your loved ones when they need it most.
Elderly people who live alone are at risk, and home health services can help reduce that risk. Your elderly loved one may develop physical or mental impairments that could eventually require additional care and supervision with time. This makes it necessary to find a way to continue living in their own home and community safely and comfortably. Home health services allow this while providing peace of mind because they offer round-the-clock monitoring and assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, cooking meals, grocery shopping, etc., so you don’t have to worry about your loved one’s safety any longer.
What is available?
Finding an appropriate home health agency willing to provide the kind of care you need for your loved one can be tough, which is why it’s best to get in touch with your local Area Agency on Aging. They are the best people to tell you what home health services are available in your area. Meanwhile, here are some things to consider when searching for a senior care agency :
- Availability of trained nurses and healthcare professionals
- The number of employees assigned to the team assigned to your loved one
- Hours of operation and flexibility
- A physical location such as travel time from your home
- Acceptance of Medicare or other insurance plans
- Whether or not there is a financial assistance policy for those who need it
Skilled Nursing Services:
These include doctors’ appointments, care, medication management and injections, diagnostic testing, etc. This is not to be confused with the visiting nurse who only comes for a few hours to help your loved one bathe and dress.
The home health care professional provides full assistance and support around the clock throughout the week. Some agencies may also provide overnight and weekend care as well.
Adult Day Care:
For those whose impairment restricts them from living alone but aren’t able to receive 24-hour medical attention at home, this option might be suitable as it provides additional supervision during the daytime while giving family members some time off. At times, the patient’s condition requires constant supervision; you will need someone around the clock to prevent any potential; live-in services may be more suitable.
What you should know:
- These services are only available as long as they’re needed and paid for, which can be challenging if your loved one is on Medicare or Medicaid.
- Hourly rates depend on the agency and type of care provided; some agencies charge by the hour while others require a flat rate per day/week/month.
- Round-the-clock monitoring comes with an added cost because it requires additional hours from other skilled nurses and healthcare professionals who run the risk of burnout themselves.
- Besides home health agencies, other resources can help you find home care. The first place to look into is your local Area Agency on Aging, where you can get information about all the options available for elderly care in your area.
- Call an Area Agency on the Aging representative to explain what home health services are available in your area and find out how to choose a suitable agency.
Prepare Your Loved One Mentally for This Change
If your loved one doesn’t seem to realize that there’s a problem, you need to prepare them for this change. It would be best if you didn’t try to trick them into thinking that everything is OK because it can backfire, and they may never forgive you for lying about something so important and personal. However, it’s still important to prepare them mentally and emotionally. For example, if they’re proud, then let them know ahead of time that this decision should be respected and not questioned under any circumstances — even if you disagree with it yourself. Also, keep your words kind but firm during the discussion (because there won’t be another one).
When it comes down to an elderly family member’s safety and well-being, there isn’t a clear answer as to what they’re most likely to be satisfied with. It can ultimately depend on their doctor and their health limitations and abilities. However, whether you choose home health services or assisted living facilities, consider how your loved one would react to each option before deciding which one is the best choice for them now. There is no right or wrong answer — but it must be given consideration.