It’s not easy to care for a senior parent at home. Having basic information about professional home care is fundamental, not to mention that you must keep an eye on them all the time. As people age, their brain ages, too; this means that mental and physical abilities will sooner or later start to decline. When loved ones need home care, the process of persuading them to accept help often becomes challenging. The elderly prize their independence more than anything; they don’t want to depend on the kids and they certainly don’t want to become a burden to them. Following are the 8 factors experts say you should be aware of when selecting home care for your aging parent.
- Choose an experienced home care provider:
How do you choose a home care provider for your aging parent? Since you can’t put the life of a loved in the hands of any stranger, you are advised to search thoroughly before making a choice. Elder abuse exists – whether it’s financial, emotional, or physical. Before making the choice of hiring someone to care after your loved one, do some research. Make sure the company you’re going with is trustworthy, and perform a background check on the caregiver, too. We recommend Visiting Angels as a trusted source of home care. In addition, because you can't always be there, consider Penrose Senior Care Auditors to visit your loved one wherever they live. Penrose Senior Care Auditors conducts an on site, online observational 7-Factor Audit™, and immediately emails the written report to you . Senior care audits can improve the life of your senior, and provide peace of mind to you.
- Talk to parents and ward off resistance:
It’s natural for your aging parent to refuse help. Many are too proud to admit that they need assistance, so it’s up to you to convince them that they must value their general well being. Home health workers are skilled professionals with enough medical background to help the elderly have a harmonious, pleasant and stress-free lifestyle. Don’t forget to check credentials before hiring someone and interview candidates in person.
- Communicate with your parents:
One of the easiest ways of convincing parents that they need home care is to engage in a conversation with them. Talk about their general health and emphasize the importance of proper care at home. Don’t make them feel useless, though, and maintain the conversation casual and relaxed.
- Assisted living:
It’s not easy to talk with aging parents about relocating to assisted living facilities. But, it’s a subject you must approach sooner or later. At some point in life, the elderly won’t be able to live on their own anymore. They must accept that, and you - their child, are the sole person capable of putting some sense into their thoughts. Nursing homes are not what they used to be; today’s modern facilities look more like spas packed with all sorts of activities and extra amenities.
- Ask siblings to help out:
Just because your elderly parent needs professional home care, this doesn't mean you should do it all on your own. Your siblings should want to help, too. Have a family meeting to talk about this issue. Mention costs involved and discuss alternatives. The decisions that you make should be mutual, so don’t take all the responsibility and let them involved, too.
- Stay connected:
When aging parents start developing health issues, and can’t manage on their own anymore, the kids should stay more in touch. Call them often and ask about their well-being, pay them a visit and offer to do the grocery shopping, and last but not least, don’t make them feel helpless. By staying in touch, you show that you care and that they don’t have to go through the aging process alone.
- Be aware of the symptoms:
As terrifying as this can be, elderly parents may develop severe health conditions as they get older. Dementia is one of those conditions. If your loved one looks confused and doesn't remember basic things, it could be a sign of early manifestation of the disease. Make an appointment with a certified physician and have your parent tested.
- Have access to information:
Last but not least, having access to information is vital. Make sure your parent’s financials are properly organized. Ask them to give you access to their social security number, bills, medical prescriptions, bank accounts and other official documents. Keep everything organized, and always check to see that everything’s in order with their health insurance.
Home care for elderly parents is important. Whether you’ve decided to care for your loved ones at home by hiring a caregiver or it’s best to place them into assisted living facilities, it’s best to talk with them first. Consult with the rest of the family too, and make the decision together.
(This article by Edward Francis and ForestHC.com, originally appeared on the CareGiver Partnership Blog.)
About R.O.S Therapy Systems: R.O.S. Therapy Systems began as a backyard project in 2010. Scott Silknitter was searching for tools to help his mother care for his father, Roger Owen Silknitter, during a 25-year fight with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. That project became a personal mission to help all family caregivers. From family caregiver training and activity books to mobile apps to activity systems, R.O.S. has grown to become a single-source provider of informational “how to’s” and a growing provider of adaptive tools for the millions of husbands, wives, children, and family members that become caregivers.
Common sense advice and instruction based on proven principles of communication, engagement, and daily living are the heart of everything R.O.S. offers for family caregivers. Improving quality of life for caregivers is our mission, and designing everything for a family caregiver struggling with a loved one is the starting point. Whether it is dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s, ALS, stroke, visual impairment, developmental disabilities, or any other issue that forces someone to care for a loved one, R.O.S. and its Caregiving 101 program are here to help.