What to expect and what to get for senior in-home care
As your loved ones age, there are many big decisions that you and your family may come across. Sometimes, seniors need a little more assistance in their home than the family can provide. An in-home senior care agency may be able to assist your loved one in their home when you are unable. This can range from simple companionship to full-time senior care. This is a huge decision for your loved one and your family.
To make the transition easier, we have gathered a few of our biggest tips for planning and preparing to have in-home care for your loved ones.
Plan for “What ifs”
It is best to start talking about the “what ifs” before issues arise. Making a plan will reduce anxiety and any family issues. Bringing in an Elder Care or Estate Planning attorney helps set expectations and plan for the future. Although most people have a will, it has not been updated in many years. They also may not have set a Power of Attorney for their medical or financial matters. If something happens, then the family and the senior are prepared and ready to take on anything that may come.
Call a Family Meeting
As you start to see that your loved one needs some help in the home, calling a family meeting is a good idea. All siblings and family members need to be aware of what is going on. Bring doctor’s notes showing decline, proof of cognitive issues, reports of falls, etc. This will help show others in the family or even loved one that they need help. Most physicians will type up a letter showing need even if it’s just meal preparation or help around the house. Try to keep the conversation calm and listen to what your loved one has to say. Remind them that this does not take away their independence, but allows them to stay in their home where they are comfortable. Implementing a caregiver into the home can keep them healthier, out of the hospital and provide companionship. Starting to bring in a caregiver slowly will acclimate the senior to having someone in their home and accepting the help. Bringing someone in to help can make seniors feel inferior or embarrassed at first, but with the right fit, they realize how beneficial it is for them.
Prepare The Home
Once everyone is on board with bringing in an in-home caregiver, it’s time to prepare the home. The home care agency will send out a nurse to do an assessment of the client as well as the home. The nurse will make suggestions of any assistive devices or home modifications that can help prevent falls and keep your loved one safe.
Here are some items that are frequently recommended:
- Pick up any throw rugs that could cause falls and purchase low profile mats that have non-slip material on the underside.
- Reduce clutter on the floor and make a clear path for walking through the home
- Throw away any old food in the refrigerator.
- Make sure there are several sets of linens and towels in case of accidents
- The caregiver will need access to antibacterial soap, paper towels. cleaning supplies and gloves
- Install cameras in the home (please see note below)
Minimize The Risk of Falling
For seniors that have frequent falls, several devices along with an in-home caregiver can prevent future injuries. Most falls occur in the bathroom. It’s a good idea to go ahead and install grab bars in the bathrooms. These need to be installed professionally so that they do not fall off if grabbed quickly. A shower chair and a handheld shower wand are helpful if your loved one gets tired or unsteady while showering. Organizing the drawers in the bathroom as well as the kitchen can also prevent falls by keeping things in easy reach. A big help with fall prevention are cameras. Some seniors have cognitive decline and aren’t able to relay the full story after a fall. If there are cameras present, the family may be able to see why they are falling and know if there hasn’t been motion due to a fall in another room.
Prepare to Adjust as Your Senior Loved One Needs Change
As the senior’s needs progress, there are many other assistive devices that can be beneficial. The home care agency and caregiver should be able to guide the family through this process and recommend items that will keep your loved one safe. The most important aspect of home care is to provide a calm environment for seniors to safely remain in their homes.
For more senior living tips check out our other blogs here!