As the baby boomer population continues to age, more and more families are embracing 24-hour home care as an attractive option that allows seniors to age in place, rather than having to move to assisted living facilities or nursing homes. In addition, 24-hour home care is seen as a more cost effective option that results in being happier and healthier. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that in the coming decades, home health care will become an increasingly popular choice for patients and family members.
Why 24-Hour Home Care
Often, individuals start with home care on an as-needed basis. This may mean that your loved one receives physical therapy in their home following a surgery, or it may mean assistance with self-care, such as bathing and meals. This limited home care may be extremely effective for many seniors. However, as a disease or condition progresses, so will the need for more assistance to make remaining in the home a safe and realistic option, which leads us to 24-hour care.
Adjusting to 24-Hour Home Care: For Families and Seniors
Even though 24-hour home care is an amazing choice for seniors wanting to age in place, it can also be met with some resistance, anxiety, and uncertainty. It’s normal for family members and seniors to have these questions:
- How will I tell mom and/or dad that they now require around the clock care?
- How can ensure that my loved one retains their dignity?
- What does this service entail exactly?
- What adjustments do I need to make to ensure that the caregiver is also comfortable?
- What if the caregiver isn’t a good “fit” for my loved one?
The best way to lessen the resistance and uncertainty regarding 24-hour home care is to become informed. Therefore, we’ve come up with a few ways that you can use to strategically prepare for and adjust to 24-hour home care services.
The Caregiver Is There to Help
The first thing you’ll want to establish is that the caregiver is simply there to help. Having a very clear understanding of what the home care provider will or will not do before they even begin almost immediately brings a sense of relief. Home care providers can assist with everything from medication reminders and medical procedures to housekeeping and food preparation. Sometimes it’s as simple as companionship.
However, no matter what their duties entail, it helps to know beforehand so expectations can be set.
Also, remember that you’re doing this for a reason: to provide your loved one with good, quality care. Having an around-the-clock caregiver can limit the possibility of wandering, medication neglect, and loneliness. Let your loved one know that you’re doing what’s best for them and what’s been recommended by a medical professional.
Listen To Their Concerns
If your loved one has concerns about 24 hour-home care, then allow them to express their feelings. They’ll feel better knowing that their opinion has been heard. Plus, understanding their fears will allow you to ask the right questions and find the best fit.
Finding The Right Fit
Sharing a living space with anyone can be challenging, especially if your loved one has lived on their own for decades. Therefore, it is important that when hiring a home health care worker, you not only look for someone who is extremely well-qualified from a medical perspective but also for a person whose personality meshes with your loved one. Working with a home care agency can make this part of the process a lot easier.
A home care agency will review the caregivers qualifications, run a thorough background check, and handle the details regarding employment laws and taxes. In addition, they’ll present to you caregivers that are the best fit for your situation.
Lastly, you’ll likely have an opportunity to meet with the caregivers before they begin helping in the home. Having the opportunity to meet someone beforehand will bring ease to not only you, but you’re loved one too.
The Transition Takes Time To Get Used To
Like most things in life, adjusting to change can take a little getting used to. The same applies to around-the-clock caregiving. Understand that it can take several months to adjust to someone being constantly in the home, but communication and transparency go a long way. Start slowly. Consider beginning with part-time care to ease the transition.
Getting the Home Ready
If you plan to have a live-in caregiver, then there are some federal regulations that have to be adhered to. For example, a live-in caregiver must be provided with their own room. Therefore, you or your family members may have to make renovations or rearrangements to the home to make it comfortable for multiple people. In addition, live-in caregivers are allowed an 8 hour sleeping break.
If scheduled caregivers come in for 8 to 12 hour shifts, then the home health aide is expected to remain awake throughout the shift and sleeping arrangements do not have to be made.
In either situation, you’ll want to make sure it’s easy to navigate the home and find items the aide may need for your loved one.
Scheduling Changes May Occur
As they say, it’s much better to be proactive than reactive.This couldn’t be more true with scheduling. In the event that your loved ones assigned caregiver requires time off, then a temporary aide will be assigned. Let your loved one know that this could occur. In addition, consider having a log that includes helpful information about your loved one for caregivers. Information like their favorite foods, topics to avoid, and more could make transitions go over more smoothly.
Home care can be an important service that allows your loved one to successfully age in place rather than having to transition to facilities that can be financially costly and emotionally challenging. 24-hour home care is extremely beneficial, but the process isn’t without hiccups. Often, going from living independently to having full-time home care can have its fair share of challenges, some of them emotional in nature. However, none of these challenges are insurmountable. With careful communication and planning, you and your loved one can embark on this journey prepared and informed.
If you have a special senior in your life that needs companionship, we at Community Home Health Care can help. Our staff of highly trained in-home caregivers includes home health aides, personal care aides, and registered nurses. We are here to provide personal and medical assistance, but most importantly—friendship. Please visit our website, call us at (845) 425-6555, or drop by our facility and we will be happy to answer any of your questions.