How to select a non-medical home care company – Part 1

Our next three blog posts will speak to the issue of how an elder finds and selects a caregiver to help them with non-medical needs. Demographers tell us that 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day.  That rough approximation will continue until 2029!  With medical advances, reduced smoking, improved dietary habits, and other lifestyle changes the American public is beginning to make, more and more of those folks will live to a “ripe old age!”  According to the Centers for Disease Control, persons who turned 65 in 2010 may expect to live an average of 19.1 years, with some variability between genders and races.  This translates to an average life expectancy of 84.1 years.  Clearly, Americans are living longer than in previous generations.

With advancing age, however, comes the onset of typical symptoms of aging.  The probability that we will experience physical disability, memory problems, problems in ambulation and dexterity, and chronic illness and disease increases as we age.  More and more Americans will live to 80, 90, and 100 than ever before.  As they continue to age, an increasing percentage of them will require some level of assistance to be safe and have their daily needs met.

The home care industry was established to assist elder Americans to cope with these issues, and it continues to grow.  There are several facets to the home care industry.  Some elder Americans require medical assistance to remain in their homes; some require non-medical interventions.  The challenge for the elder American, and/or his or her representatives, is to find a caregiver who is honest, caring and compassionate, able to meet the client’s needs, and meets other requirements of the position.  The caregiver may be hired independently or may be hired through an agency or company.  This blog is intended to assist you in finding that care for yourself or your loved one.

Check next week for Part 2!


When should I seek care for Mom and/or Dad?

This question is asked countless times by adult children concerned about their aging parents.  Will Mom be able to continue cooking at home; will Dad be able to drive; will they be able to maintain themselves in their home without injury?  As with most questions dealing with we human beings, there are no “cookbook” answers, and the best answer for one is not necessarily a good answer for the next person.

The first question to ask is what do they want to do?  Self-determination is a key element in anyone’s life, and just because a person or a couple is aging and less capable of managing all aspects of their lives does not mean they should lose all decision-making about their lives.  If they wish to remain in their home, an analysis of the home and its requirements should be conducted to determine if it is realistic.

One thing to consider is whether Mom and Dad can continue to reside in their home.  Are there stairs to climb, and are they still able to do that without serious strain?  Is the house too big for them to take care of as they age?  Are they able to do the cleaning and home maintenance chores that any home requires?  Answers to these questions and others will determine whether to seek an alternative residential arrangement for them.  Such alternatives include independent living apartments with meals provided, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities.  However, if they can remain in their home, and are beginning to need assistance, then an in-home caregiver might be for them.

The next questions to be answered relate to their mental health and stability.  Are they cogent and aware of their surroundings?  Are they well oriented to time and place?  Do they show signs of significant memory loss or confusion?  Are they still able to dress themselves and care for their personal hygiene?  Answers to these questions will further narrow down the options for them and clarify what is safest for them.

One thing we do know is that, almost across the board, people are happier and healthier if they are able to remain in their homes.  Almost no one wants to move to a nursing home or an assisted living facility.  Not that they are bad places; they aren’t as a general rule.  However, they are far less individualized in their care, so people prefer to be at home.


Take Time For YOU!

This blog is written for all those who provide care to others, including PimaCare@Home Direct Care Workers, family caregivers, and others.

Take Time for You!

As a company with compassion, we know that caregivers have to take care of themselves. If they don’t do that, how long can they continue to care for another? How will they have a life for themselves?

Taking care of oneself is not a selfish act.  It allows you as a caregiver to take better care of your loved one who is a family member.  It enables you as a Direct Care Worker who cares for one or more clients to have the energy and spirit to provide that care. Caregivers do have the right to do some things just for themselves. We encourage our caregivers to do just that!

Here are just few ways that you can take care of yourself:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Eat a well- balanced diet
  • Exercise – take a short walk outside
  • Take care of yourself physically
  • Take a break every day, 10 minutes will help you feel refreshed
  • Talk to a neighbor, friend, church representative, or another family member every day
  • Ask a family member to cover for you or use respite hours so you can go to a movie, out for a meal, to meet friends, read a book, or whatever it is you might like to do for yourself.
  • Smile, or laugh, about something every day
  • Start a hobby and spend time on it

Please share with me how you take care of yourself! E-mail me at ceo@bestcareathome.net, or call me at 520-243-8082.  I look forward to hearing about how you are taking care of yourself!

David R. Updegraff, MSW, PhD

CEO

BestCare@Home

3950 S. Country Club Road, Suite 4102

Tucson, Arizona, 85714