The moment you realize your parent or an elderly loved one is not able to take care of themselves in their own home, you may be faced with some difficult decisions. Knowing the importance of home care for the elderly, you may feel torn between keeping them in the home they’re familiar with and finding an in-home caregiver, or seeking out an assisted living facility. The benefits of the elderly living at home may seem significant compared to moving them to an assisted living community, but there are many factors that may be easily overlooked when discussing in-home care.
Considering All the Aspects of In-Home Care
Although there are many advantages to taking care of the elderly at home, it is good to be aware of some of the obstacles. In order to provide the best care for your loved one, you want to ensure their living environment is ready to meet their daily needs and overall well-being. As you consider options for elderly care at home, here are some common problems that may arise:
Inefficiencies of a Caregiver
Sometimes a caregiver just isn’t the right fit, depending on the personality and needs of the senior they are caring for. And although you may be able to find an alternative option or a different caregiver who provides adequate care for the elderly in their own home, one individual can only provide so much before they get overwhelmed or start to experience caregiver burnout. You may need to juggle the schedules of multiple caregivers to get the coverage you need to keep your loved one safe, and can be faced with times where one of your caregivers is not able to cover their scheduled shift and leave you in a challenging situation.
In nursing and assisted living homes, there is an entire staff as opposed to one individual. These hired staff members have specializations in many different areas of elderly care. Because there are more individuals, a broader and higher quality of care can be provided in shorter amounts of time. They also receive ongoing training in caregiving best-practices.
If keeping your loved one at home is a more realistic option, consider finding a caregiver who has a similar experience with the needs of your loved one. Inviting a potential caregiver over for an interview or having them meet your loved one before they begin their position can help you find the right fit.
Need for Home Modifications & Maintenance
Making sure your home is clean and functional is a challenge for any homeowner. Although your parent’s ability to stay in the neighborhood they’re familiar with is one of the benefits of the elderly living at home, it requires a large amount of energy, time and regular maintenance to keep up with a house. If their memory or physical health starts to fade, you may find their house beginning to fall apart. And although you can hire contractors, the maintenance and repair costs can quickly accumulate, and coordinating these different vendors can be an additional stressor on you as a family caregiver.
If it’s an option for you, volunteer to help your loved one, or consider hiring a family member, friend or neighbor to regularly take care of their home. Not only will this fulfill the daunting task of home maintenance, but it will also allow your loved one to see their neighbor, friend or family member more often.
Limited Interaction & Potential Loneliness
A major part of maintaining well-being as you age is keeping your mind sharp. Regular social interaction and daily movement are essential to your loved one’s well-being. When hiring an in-home caregiver, your loved one may experience loneliness due to a lack of personal relationships outside of their caregiver and family.
One benefit of assisted living homes is that the elderly are surrounded by people their own age. This can make them feel more comfortable and heard in their daily lives and lead to meaningful friendships. If having your elderly loved one remain in their own home is more realistic for their situation, consider setting aside time to regularly see them, or contact some of their close friends and neighbors to pay them a visit. You may want to coordinate transportation for them so your loved one can get out to their favorite card clubs or church groups.
Event of a Fall or At-Home Emergency
One of the more serious things to consider when considering in-home care for your elderly parent or loved one is what would happen in the case of an emergency. If they were to fall, could they reach their phone? If a caregiver weren’t to show up, would they reach out for help? Would they be able to take their own medicine? If an urgent medical emergency were to occur, would there be a lack of resources, or would emergency medical equipment be available? When the only option is to call for medical help, senior citizens may suffer complications with a lack of immediate attention.
One of the advantages of taking care of the elderly at home in the 21st century is technology. There are products like LifeAlert that can contact emergency services at the click of a button and in-home AEDs that can be installed and kept on-hand. There are also automated medication dispensers that can provide the correct dose of medication at the correct time.
Have an Assisted Living Option in Place
A good solution to all of these at-home care obstacles is being prepared with a backup assisted living option in place. If you have tried your best to provide solutions for your loved one to safely stay in their home, with less than positive results, you may need to consider care outside of the home.
At Cherrywood Pointe, we make the transition from home-care to assisted living smooth, and offer a variety of care services that are fitted to the needs of each of our residents. From senior living and assisted living to memory care and enhanced care, we provide a comfortable and safe living environment that will keep your loved one active, social and healthy. Contact us today to schedule a virtual tour or request more information from our staff. Many times communities will have waiting lists, so we encourage you to look early and get on the waiting list of the community your loved one would want to move to should their in-home care plan no longer meet their needs.