Critter Corner: When Should I Hire Home Care for a Parent?

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Dear Angel,
My parents live in a condominium in a senior community, 100 miles away from me. My father had a stroke last year, and is having trouble getting around, bathing, and dressing. My mother has her own issues, having had both knee and hip surgery in the past couple of years. Yet, she is a caregiver for my father. They said they are managing alright, but I am not so sure. When should I consider hiring home care to help them out?
Thanks!
Hal Pinma-Enpa
Dear Hal,
For most seniors in situations similar to your parents, there’s probably going to come a time when home care is necessary to help them stay at home.
There are two kinds of home care: Personal and Medical Care.
Personal Care
Many seniors just need some help with personal care. This might include assistance with bathing, grooming, housekeeping, cooking, transportation to medical and other appointments; or even just companionship.
Personal care is provided by a home care aide and may be long-term, and it enables an older adult to live safely and independently at home for as long as possible. It also provides family caregivers with peace of mind that their loved one is getting the extra assistance he or she needs.
Medical Care
Other seniors require services involving skilled medical help, such as wound care, infusions, or physical therapy. This level of care is often needed during a critical illness or after hospitalization or rehab, and is provided by licensed, registered, and/or certified health care professionals. Skilled home care is usually provided for a shorter time period.
Indicators that your parents could benefit from home care
Below are some red flags that your parents may need assistance with caregiving in their home:
• If loved ones aren’t taking care of themselves;
• If their home is not kept up the way it had been;
• If they aren’t eating;
• If their mental status has changed; or
• If they are wandering.
A good first step to finding in-home care is getting a referral from a loved one’s physician for an in-home assessment. Be sure to check out the list of trusted referrals on our Website. Some physicians may also provide a list of local home care agencies that can do this evaluation.
Be sure to talk to friends who are using home care. You should also reach out to the local Area Agency on Aging, or search online at ElderCare Locator.
Hope this is helpful!
Purrs and Hugs,
Angel

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