For seniors and their caregivers, finding the right approach to in home care is crucial for those caregivers who do not want their loved ones to be admitted to a nursing home.
For many of these caregivers, the correct decision in their eyes is for their aging parents to come and live with them, but there are obviously positives and negatives that come with this decision.
So what I am going to do is approach the topic of in home care for seniors from two perspectives. First, you make the decision that your loved one is going to come and live with you while you serve as the primary caregiver.
Secondly, from the perspective that you are going to hire an in home care agency, where I will take you through your payment options as well as how to check out such an agency to make sure you are making the right choice for your loved one.
Here Is A Video For How To Check Out A Home
Health Care Agency Online
You As The Primary In Home Caregiver
Many of us make the decision that the best thing for our loved one is to come and live with us. A variety of factors influence this decision:
- Economic – Your loved one cannot afford a skilled nursing facility or does not qualify for Medicaid.
- Guilt – you feel badly ‘putting them away’
- Health-your loved one does not need the constant 24/7 medical attention that would be required in a facility.
This could become a good thing. If you have always gotten along with your loved one, and if the level of care is not critical, you will probably benefit from then moving in with you. Your loved one will have a sense of security being in familiar surroundings and you will have the peace-of-mind of knowing they are safe and well (and might even have a built-in babysitter).
But that rosy scenario may not apply to you. This means that regardless of the reasons, your life as an in home caregiver is about to get turned upside down.
The first thing you will need to do is get your home ready for the loved one. And here, I am not talking about moving your kid’s bedrooms around. What I am referring to is ‘senior proofing’ your home much in the way you ‘child-proofed’ your house when your first child became a toddler and started walking.
Depending upon the strength, physical condition and any illnesses your loved one may be suffering from, what you will need to set up in regards to this ‘senior-proofing’ will vary.
However, for this list I am going to deal with seniors with mobility issues and the support devices you will need for them to be safe, and for you to have peace-of-mind.
This will be your single biggest concern. And while a medic alert system will summon help if they fall, the key is to prevent them from doing so. So here are some tips and advice for each room in the house and how to limit the possibility of your loved one falling:
- Install grab bars around the tub, shower and toilet.
- Place a rubber anti-slip mat in the shower or tub he or she will be using.
- Place a commode on the toilet so they will be better able to get on and off it.
- Install a shower bench, so they can slide into the shower without having to lift his/her legs over the tub.
- Make sure the room is well lit.
- Leave a night light on at night.
- Have a bedside light that is reachable.
- Make sure the carpets, especially area rugs, are skid-proof and tacked to the floor.
- Consider a lift chair in the living room or bedroom, which will raise your loved one up and lower them from a sitting position so they can get up from a chair on their own.
- Avoid cluttering the hallways as they are narrow enough for your loved one.
- Keep cords out of the walking path.
- Install a night light here as well, especially if your senior will be passing that way to go to the bathroom at night.
In addition, you should advise them to:
- Not walk in socks or floppy slippers.
- Wear a low heel or no heel at all.
And as we move on from fall prevention, one last point needs to be addressed: his or her mobility around the house.
Is A Wheelchair or A Walker Being Used?
If so, it will help prevent falls but he/she may not have access to the entire house as a result. A wheelchair may be too wide to fit through a door, requiring you to remove a door from the hinges and remove the framing around the wall to add a few more inches of width to allow access.
Will They Need To Go Up or Down Stairs?
This may not be advisable if mobility is an issue. Therefore, you may need to consider a stair lift, which is a chair on a railing that goes up and down the stairs, moving your senior from one level of your home to another safely.
Now that your home is ready for your loved one, as part of the in home care plan here are things for you to consider once they are living in your home:
Medic Alert System -You will not be able to stay by their side forever. And when you go out and about your daily life and your loved one is alone, a medic alert system will give you the peace of mind to know that he or she is safe and secure. If something should happen, he/she can immediately summon help.
A simple cell phone this is very easy to use. Today’s modern technology can sometimes baffle seniors. And with cell phones becoming more and more complex, seniors need a simple solution to meet their communication needs.
An iPhone may be great for the younger generation, but seniors want simplicity: a phone with big buttons that can be seen by failing eyes and loud enough that he/she can hear the ring. Most of all a cell phone that is inexpensive or even a free cell phone for seniors.
In Home Care Provided By A Home
Health Care Agency
Now that we have discussed in home care from the perspective of you as the primary caregiver, let’s take a look at bringing in help.
Typically a home health care agency is called. At last count, there are about 10,000 Medicare-certified agencies throughout the country, and this number will in all likelihood grow as our population ages.
If your senior has Medicare Part A and B, then a Medicare-certified home health care agency will be paid at least partially by Medicare for their services. However, it is vital that you check with the agency and find out what services your loved one will qualify for and what percentage Medicare will pay out.
Also, community Medicaid may be a payment option for some very-low income seniors to have health care come to them.
In addition, there is a great resource from Medicare.gov to aid you in your search for a home health care agency. Medicare and Home Health Care is a report from Medicare detailing who is eligible and what services are covered by home health care agencies.
(NOTE: From my own personal experience, if you find the right home health care agency it will be a tremendous relief for you as an in home caregiver. The agency I came across for my mother (before her heart attack) found a local doctor to make house calls, has physical therapists come to her house to aid her in walking as well as helping her get in-and-out of the shower. It certainly is a load off my mind.)
If your loved one doesn’t qualify for government help and you have to pay for it out-of-pocket, the first determination is the level of help your loved one will require. That will determine whether you need to pay privately for a home health care agency for an in-depth level of service, or whether you can hire an independent person to handle chores and be a companion.
If you are looking for a private-pay companion, someone to handle chores and help when needed, the concern is to make sure that this person is reliable, has been screened and is well-reviewed by previous care givers.
Another option would be your reliable Office of the Aging. Contact them, explain the situation and see if they have any senior day care programs or companions that would be available for your senior.
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