Assisting Your Parents with Their Daily NeedsPublished: November 10, 2022
Have you ever wondered if a loved one is no longer safe living independently perhaps because of physical or mental challenges or maybe they just feel lonely? They may neglect important daily living activities that can lead to a downward spiral of malnutrition, injuries, depression, or illness. Many adult children visit their parents (or aunts and uncles) and notice a lack of food, a dangerous home environment, or problems with hygiene. These issues can be embarrassing for the seniors, who may avoid discussing them. They may also worry that it means you will insist on moving them into an assisted living or nursing home facility.
Sometimes a residential facility is the best solution, but it isn’t the only solution. You might also consider having in-home care or having them live with you so you can be their caretaker. Let’s explore some different scenarios.
Nursing Home Facilities
Ted was in his eighties when his wife died. He cooked and cared for himself at home until he fell and needed physical rehabilitation. After recovering physically, he could have moved back home, but his children realized that his house was in an isolated area and required too much driving. They convinced him to try a residential facility with social opportunities and ride services. He lived there happily for years, never needing nursing care.
However, residential facilities also come with all levels of care and support for future needs. Ted could retain as much independence as he wanted. He cooked in his own kitchen and occasionally drove places himself. As additional aging issues came up, he did not need to move. Instead, a nurse began checking in on him daily to ensure that all was well. Routine checks saved his life later when he had a stroke.
Joan and Margaret’s mother had a different situation. She used home delivery services for food, and her neighbors were her best friends. The church community came by and took her to potlucks and other social events. Joan and Margaret felt that having their mother leave the comfort of her home and neighborhood would have been devastating. Yet, she started needing help getting out of bed and in and out of the shower. Joan, Margaret, and their mom looked for ways to get her the help she needed and allow her to stay at home with a combination of part-time in-home health services. They all felt better when they hired someone to provide three hours per day of meal preparation, cleaning, and other light duties.
Doing the Right Thing for Both of You
Amelia invited her mother to live with her, which seemed like the most loving and practical solution. But after a year, they discovered they both needed more privacy and were bickering. Amelia and her mom decided that their living arrangement would work better with a few adjustments. Amelia hired a ride service to take her mom to a senior center every other day. Her mom played cards, ate lunch, and took exercise classes. One weekend a month, Amelia’s brother visited, and Amelia went away. These adjustments improved their relationship when they were together.
Every situation is different; what works one year may not be the best solution for the following year. As you consider the best options, remember to include your loved one in the process. Assess what level of care they need, including their social-emotional needs.
Hiring Skilled and Non-Skilled Care
Companions can provide social interaction and help with housekeeping, errands, meal preparation, and medication supervision. Personal care aides provide hands-on assistance with personal hygiene, dressing, and moving to different rooms. Licensed or registered nurses can provide skilled medical care. In-home care is available even to those with advanced needs.
If you decide to hire a companion or skilled nurse, consider whether you want to go through an agency or hire an individual directly. Agencies provide you with some protection. They run background checks and offer backup care when the caregiver gets sick or takes days off. They also handle payroll taxes and carry liability and worker’s compensation insurance.
Whether interviewing an agency or individual, ask about licenses and training (especially if dementia is an issue), and past experience. Call references and conduct personal interviews.
As care needs evolve, explore different solutions. Each one will come with costs. We are here to help you navigate the complexities of insurance, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits for potential long-term care needs. We can also review all legal documents to ensure they are up to date. If you have questions or would like to discuss your legal matters, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 215-364-1111 to schedule a consultation.