Your senior parents want to maintain their independence and stay at home as long as possible; and you want to help them. As seniors age, or in the event of an accident or medical condition, the need for care does arise. Staying at home at this stage means hiring home care – a trusted caregiver to come to your home and assist with non-medical, daily living activities (such as cooking, hygiene, outings, companionship, etc.). Because home care is a cost that an individual or family usually has to cover themselves, as the grown children of a senior parent, you want to do all you can to help them cover this cost and continue to live safely and happily in the comfort of their own home.
Watch for signs
Signs that your senior parent may be needing home care in the future are sometimes quite acute – an accident or medical condition, for example. But other times, you have to watch for changes in behaviour: untidy house, forgetfulness, decreased social activity, and many other subtle changes that perhaps only those close would notice.
These signs can you alert you and your family to the need to start discussing your caregiving plan for your senior loved one.
Help hire the right caregiver
There are a lot of options facing a family looking for care – which is a good thing. An abundance of options means that any family can find the right fit, and the industry is competitive with great companies who hire great people, reducing the risk or fear to your family. You can help your senior loved one get the right caregiver but doing a bit of the legwork and checking up on the businesses in your local area. If you choose to hire directly, it is strongly recommended that you perform background checks and references (a homecare business would have already done this for all of its employees) in addition to personal interviews. The other downside to hiring directly is you may not have a backup – if your usual caregiver is ill, away, or doesn’t show up, there will be no one else to stand in.
If you chose to hire through a homecare business, do your research in the area. Some businesses may have higher accreditation through a national franchise, and more established businesses will have built up testimonials from other clients. Compare services, and don’t base your judgement solely on price. Look for the business that understands your family’s unique situation.
Investigate the financial options
It is worth having this conversation with your family as early as possible. What do your parents already have in place for their later years? Are there any aid programmes which your family qualifies for? Where else can financing come from? How sustainable are your options?
Having the financial questions all clearly answered before the time comes is essential to reducing the stress in the process of moving to a caregiving situation. If you’re not sure what your parents’ status is, ask now.
You will always do your best
It is not always easy to care for your senior parents. Often, we live far away and have other full-time commitment in jobs and our own children, and cannot offer all of our effort to caring for our parents. Don’t beat yourself up over this. If you are reading this, you are thinking about what you can do to help, and you will always do the best you can for your loved ones. Helping them get the right care is the best you can offer.