10.30.10

Choosing a Caregiver

Posted in Adult Day Care at 11:39 pm by admin

In a perfect world, our loved ones would not need elderly care. Every senior could stay at home and “age in place.” Our moms and dads would have no need for any other person to be in their lives to help them dress, to help them bathe, or to simply sit down in a chair.

But this is not a perfect world.

Many seniors and their families will find it beneficial to locate an assisted living center or full time nursing care. But many seniors have no desire to leave their homes. Unless you or your family members are able to care for them personally, you are left with one choice: let them live by themselves, where they cannot fully take care of themselves, or hire a caregiver.

Caregiving is becoming a popular career, not only for registered nurses and elder care staff, but for people with basic credentials, and a desire to help. There are national and local search databases, including the one at the top of this page, where you can find home care. But how do you sort out who is the right fit for your loved one? Here are a few things to consider:

Four Quick Tips to Choosing a Caregiver

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1) Background checks are available and essential. You wouldn’t leave your children with a babysitter you don’t know anything about would you? Neither should you leave your parents with a stranger. Thankfully, caregiving referral services take this seriously. You should too. Make sure you know who you are dealing with. If your prospect does not come from an agency, make sure your get plenty of references, and you have a background check done.

2) There are plenty of people who will be “qualified,” so make sure the one you choose is also a good fit for your parent. What does that mean? That means personality. It means caring. Your parent’s caregiver ought to be someone who can “mesh” well with your parent. No, they don’t have to share favorite movies (although that would help, wouldn’t it?). They will be from different generations, so the chances that they will be best friends are slim. But they need to be at least relationally compatible. So as you interview prospects, and you find your dad saying “I don’t like him,” do not be too quick to discount that reaction. Yes, he might just be acting stubborn about the process, but it could also be a bad omen.

3) If your parent has Alzheimers (or even if they don’t) make sure the caregiver shows some interest in them personally. Watch for the little things. Do they seem at all uncomfortable with the things that come with the disease, or do they seem understanding? Make sure you see some indication in their references about their level of patience. This may be the most important character trait in this case.

4) Spell things out. In other words, make it all clear. Your expectations can not afford to be foggy. If your parent needs help with bathing and toileting, be sure to say so. If there are going to be odd hours, tell them on the outset. And if they seem unable to be flexible, that might be a good “red flag” to tell you they might not be a good fit. But the point is, eveyone’s life will be much, much easier if they are on the same page.

Can any person take care of your parent as well as you? Maybe not. But there are many people who can do a wonderful job, and who will become a trusted friend of your parent’s if given the opportunity. So take your time. Watch for the little things. And make sure there is some rapport between them. Do those things, and you should be on your way.

10.08.10

The Benefits of Adult Day Care

Posted in Adult Day Care, Assisted Living, care at home, Caregiver, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Home Health Care, Nursing home at 11:21 am by admin

In the last article, we talked about the feelings of guilt and fear that come with choosing a nursing home for our parents. It is a tough decision to put your loved one in a full time elder care facility, not just because of the things we think could happen (neglect, abuse, etc.), but because we can’t shake that feeling that we ought to be the ones caring for them. After all, they took care of us, didn’t they?

The problem is not a lack of love in most cases. The problem is that, while many of us really would like to care for our parents at home, we have full time jobs. We have kids that need to be shuttled to basketball practice. We are constantly on the go. And if your parents need supervision because of medical problems, you realize that you cannot offer that. Not full time anyway. Your parents might be retired, but you, on the other hand, are swamped.
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I want to present another option to you that you maybe have not thought about before, although we have written on it in the past: adult day care. Now, adult day care is a pretty new phenomenon in the elder care industry, but you can bet it will be growing in the coming years. Here’s how it works: Suppose your mother lives with you in your house. You can help her with her medications at night. You can cook for her, do her laundry, help her stay active. The grandkids can spend time with her and lift her spirits… And then you can go to bed. In the morning, as you are packing up the kids for school, packing your bag for the gym, and sorting out the grocery list, you can bring your mom with you.

After you drop the kids off, you can take your mom to her other caregivers: the adult day care center staff. These care centers are sometimes attached to full time nursing homes or assisted living facilities, but not always. They are often next to parks, or else they have open outdoor leisure spaces, and they will have nurses right there on staff, should you need them.

The staff of the adult day care will make sure your mom is cared for. They will feed her, hang out with her, let her spend time with other seniors who are in the same position as she is. And they will make sure she doesn’t wander off (an important fact for those dealing with Alzheimer’s especially.)

The benefits of adult day care are vast:

  1. It’s cheaper! Because your mom is not living there, she does not need a bedroom. Which means she does not need a bathroom. Which means she does not need to pay rent. She is living at your house, remember? And that is alot cheaper than paying out massive checks every month to a full time Nursing Home or Assisted Living facility.
  2. She still gets to be a part of your life
  3. The Grandkids can spend time with her
  4. You don’t have to worry about her being lonely
  5. Your life does not have to end
  6. You have other caregivers that you can compare notes with, including nurses
  7. Your mom can socialize with people her age every day
  8. She feels valued!

If you love your parent, and if you desire to care for her, but cannot do it full time, you should look into the prospect of adult day care. I have a feeling you will all be glad you did.