The decision whether homecare is the best choice for your loved one isn’t an easy one to make. It’s a decision that affects the whole family. So how can you know if your loved one would benefit from the assistance in-home care provides?
If you’re thinking about utilizing in-home care, ask yourself these four questions:
Are you currently caring for your loved one?
Of the 40 million Americans who act as family caregivers, 60 percent report that they've had to make a "workplace accommodation" due to their caregiving responsibilities, according to a 2015 study conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. These “accommodations” include cutting back on hours, taking a leave of absence, or receiving a warning about performance or attendance.The more hours of care a person is providing, the more likely they are to experience all of these impacts.
If you or a family member is currently handling the caregiving duties, homecare is a great supplement. Many of us have jobs and families to look after, and caregiving can pull us away from those responsibilities. It's not uncommon for family caregivers to feel like they have to put their lives on hold. Supplemental in-home care still gives you the opportunity to care for your loved one, just not on a full-time basis.
Caregiving is not for the faint of heart. For many family caregivers, the responsibility can feel like a burden, and the stress can lead to caregiver burnout. Homecare for a loved one frees you up to devote your time to other areas of your life that deserve your attention too, like work, your family, and your social life.
What changes is your loved one experiencing?
Changes in your loved one's physical and emotional well-being are typically an indication that they would benefit from assistance. Is your loved one able to get around easily? Is it difficult for them to use the bathroom, get in and out of bed, or get dressed? Pay attention to physical changes like weight loss. It's often a sign that your loved one isn't cooking meals, eating regularly, or getting proper nutrients. If your loved one is wearing unclean clothes or if you've noticed a lack of good personal hygiene habits, it may be a sign that they are having difficulty completing the day-to-day tasks many of us take for granted.
Keep an eye on your loved one's social habits and emotional state too. Social isolation is a very real issue for older adults who live on their own, and it can lead to serious health consequences and even death, according to a 2012 University of California San Francisco study. Perhaps they've recently lost a spouse or close friend, and are having a difficult time coping. Maybe they are sleeping more or less often, or you're noticing drastic changes in their mood, both of which can be signs of depression. Your loved one may benefit from the companionship and conversation a caregiver provides.
Be on the lookout for changes around the house. A messy, cluttered home with piles of mail and an empty pantry are common signs that your loved one is struggling with household upkeep. Their home needs to be a safe environment.
What kind of care is necessary?
If you choose in-home care for your loved one, what would the caregiver be helping with? Caregivers can assist with a range of daily activities, including filling in while you are at work or tackling the tasks that are out of your wheelhouse. For older adults who require a greater level of care, homecare probably isn't the best option. But it's an ideal solution for those who would benefit from help with the day-to-day.
Perhaps your loved one needs help with personal care, such as dressing and hygiene. Maybe they could use help with meal preparation or housekeeping. A caregiver can help with these necessary daily tasks, and it also enhances your loved one’s quality of life and allows them to maintain independence.
How does your loved one feel about in-home care?
Before you go ahead and hire an in-home caregiver, you need to know how your loved one feels about it. What role does your loved one see the caregiver playing? Do they have any trepidation about receiving assistance from someone who isn't a part of their family?
It's important for both you and your loved one to be on the same page. If you decide that in-home care is the best option, you need to make sure your caregiver and the agency you go through possess the skills and qualities you desire.
At Bluebird Homecare, we understand how difficult navigating this new phase of life can be. If you think it’s time to consider in-home care for your loved one, contact Bluebird for a free, no obligations homecare consultation. We’ll help you figure out your options and find the right solution for your loved one.