Providing Compassionate Elder Care in New Jersey Call Today: 856-780-4000
Sunlight Home | Learning Center < back

The Right Way to Find Home Care for a Senior

The Right Way to Find Home Care for a SeniorAn adult child who is caring for an aging parent may suddenly find that the job of caregiving is too much to handle. The senior parent, who is living at home, may abruptly need someone with them during longer periods of the day and night, or the senior may require skilled personnel. In this situation, the adult child often seeks a person to provide home health care assistance.

Assessing the type of home care a senior parent needs To determine the kind of home care that is essential for the senior, the adult child can first observe the senior parent. Watch how the senior handles routine Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as bathing and dressing. Also, note any housekeeping or errands that are difficult for the senior to accomplish. Make a list of all of the areas that the senior requires help, or if the senior had assistance, where their life would be better.

    The Family Caregiver Alliance offers these guidelines for assessing the home care needs of a senior and for indicating where the caregiver needs support:
  • Personal Care: bathing, eating, dressing, toileting
  • Household Care: cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping
  • Health Care: medication management, physician's appointments, physical therapy
  • Emotional Care: companionship, meaningful activities, conversation

By assessing each area, the adult child can begin to align support for each need. For example, a friend or neighbor may be able to cover some of the areas of need, or community services, such as Meals on Wheels, can offer aid with other care requirements. If the senior parent has medical needs or requires constant supervision, hiring a home care worker is a viable alternative.

    Sure-fire warning signs that a senior needs more help Some signs to look for are:
  • Spoiled food that doesn't get thrown away
  • Missing important appointments
  • Difficulty with walking, balance and mobility
  • Uncertainty and confusion when performing once-familiar tasks
  • Forgetfulness
  • Unpleasant body odor or noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care
  • Dirty house, extreme clutter and dirty laundry piling up
  • Stacks of unopened mail or an overflowing mailbox
  • Late payment notices, bounced checks and calls from bill collectors
  • Poor diet or weight loss
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
  • Forgetting to take medications -- or taking more than the prescribed dosage
  • Diagnosis of dementia or early onset Alzheimer's
  • Unexplained dents and scratches on a car

Whether you're planning to enlist the help of a home care services agency or hire a personal home health aide, knowing what questions to ask is key to receiving quality assistance.

Understanding what services are offered Home health care workers provide in-home medically necessary services, such as administering medicine, while home care workers provide in-home, non-medical services such as preparing meals, assisting with hygiene and housekeeping. Either an agency or an independent provider can supply these kinds of services in a senior's home.

A good assessment by the adult child or caregiver will help align appropriate services, and by not paying for aid that isn't needed, this assessment can also help keep costs down.

Starting a conversation with a senior parent about home health care Before approaching a senior parent to discuss bringing in a home health care worker, put yourself in that senior's shoes. Think about what that senior is most frustrated about and be empathetic. Understanding the situation is extremely important in relating to the senior's emotions, and timing is crucial in setting the stage. Choose a time when tensions are low and there is plenty of time for a discussion.

To make the conversation the most productive, focus on the senior's safety and helping them maintain independence. Concentrate on why and how an in-home health care worker can actually make life easier and safer.

Get started. Start observing the senior loved one and gather information carefully and thoughtfully. Don't reach a conclusion from a single observation and decide unilaterally on the best solution. Base the conversation on multiple observations that are gathered with an open mind.

  • Talk it out. Approach the senior parent with a conversation. Discuss your observations and ask the senior for their opinion about what is going on. If the senior parent acknowledges the situation, ask for their opinion about what would be good solutions. If the senior parent doesn't recognize a problem, use concrete examples to support the case.
  • Sooner is better. Talk sooner rather than later when a crisis has occurred. If the senior has poor eyesight or has trouble driving at night, begin to address those issues before a problem arises.
  • Maximize independence. Always try to move toward solutions that provide the maximum amount of independence for the older person. Look for answers that optimize strengths and compensate for problems. For instance, if your loved one needs assistance at home, look for tools that can help them maintain their strengths.

Recognize the senior's right to make their own life choices, especially if a home care worker is coming to the house. The senior is likely to be more agreeable if their concerns or wishes are respected during the decision-making process. The sooner you begin conversations with an aging parent about how they can remain safe and maintain independence by using home care, the easier it will be to approach the topic over the long-term, before any major safety concerns are presented.

505 S. Lenola Rd, Suite 111
Moorestown, NJ 08057
856-780-4000
Site Design By: www.emaxed.com