Having the Post-Holiday Care Conversation
Special recipes, cherished traditions, and festive décor are all reasons we love the holidays! The holidays are a great time to connect with family members who may live far away. It is sometimes the first time in several years that the whole family gathers in the same place. Relatives can’t believe how fast the children have grown, and we may get the opportunity to meet new members of the extended family.
But not all the changes we notice are positive. Some red flags may alert adult children that their parents are no longer able to take care of their homes or even themselves. Perhaps clutter is filling the house, mail is piling up, or a loved one appears to have lost an unhealthy amount of weight. After the hustle and bustle of the holidays pass, we may begin to consider if our older relative is still able to take care of themselves and their home.
“Especially around the holidays—even a phone call or a video call doesn’t depict how things actually are in the home,” says Beth Sholom, a Right at Home franchisee who has more than 20 years of experience in older adult care. Beth shares the example of how her mom used to dress like Jackie Onassis every day. During one visit Beth noticed that her mom’s toenails had not been painted or trimmed in a long time. “If I hadn’t been there, it would have been hard to notice a detail like that.”
Family members might suggest a move to assisted living or other supportive housing for older adults. However, we know that most people want to stay in their homes as they get older. The AARP reports that 75% of adults aged 50 and older want to age in place, but a third of those know that they will need to make modifications to their homes to do so. For these seniors, in-home care is a perfect resource for support, providing a variety of services that help older adults live safely at home. Home care experts report that January is a common time for people to make inquiries into home care, after they have touched base with relatives who they may not see often.
“Nursing home care is not inevitable,” explains Beth. “We coordinate and care and bring in outside services to make sure people stay independent as long as they can. We’ve helped people who thought they’d need to move into a nursing stay independent through the end of life.”
In-home care can help older adults with:
Companionship. Loneliness and isolation have a big effect on senior mental health. Having someone around helps seniors stay engaged and increases their overall wellbeing.
Light housekeeping>. Chronic conditions like arthritis, memory loss, or visual impairment can make it difficult to keep one’s home tidy. In-home care workers can help with dusting, vacuuming, and keeping the home free of clutter that could cause falls.
Personal care. Caregivers help with activities of daily living, including using the bathroom, bathing, and dressing.
Transportation. Caregivers can arrange transportation to doctor’s appointments or social functions, helping seniors stay active and healthy.
Medication management. In-home care workers can help older adults stick to their medication schedule and monitor for any side effects.
Nutritional support. This can include making trips to the grocery store, meal planning, and cooking. Caregivers can also help seniors adhere to a special diet plan.
And if home care doesn’t turn out to be the right fit, our team is ready to meet our clients where they are. “No one is turned away,” Beth says. Her particular expertise and experience caring for older adults means she’ll think outside the box to keep her clients in their community, where socializing with friends and loved ones can boost an older adult’s physical and mental health. One example is a man who called asking for help with his mother who lived in an independent living community but was finding that she needed more help than was available. Beth suggested he also move into the independent living community and start there to keep his mom close to her friends and community.
“Socialization is just so important for older adults,” she explained. “I think of my clients like I would my own parents.”
Have the Conversation
What’s the best way to suggest in-home care support for an older relative? Seniors are used to making their own decisions and may be reluctant to admit they need assistance. Before you bring up home care to your older relative, take some tips from home care experts about the best way to start.
Our team of home health aides is here and available to help. Contact Beth for a free, in-home consultation to see how she can help your loved ones continue to live their best lives.