A senior aged man playing cards with a female Right at Home caregiver at a kitchen table. A senior aged man playing cards with a female Right at Home caregiver at a kitchen table.

These 5 Essential Tips Will Make Companion Care For Seniors Easy

It’s never easy to watch our loved ones age and become more dependent. Ideally, you want to let them age at home, where they are comfortable and familiar.

The time will come when you need to consider getting extra help or a companion caregiver for your aging loved one. This will ensure their health and safety will be taken care of.

Five Tips for Companion Care

You may find the whole process of trying to find a caregiver overwhelming. Too often, family members try to take it all on themselves, which can make the entire situation worse.

  1. Include Your Loved One in the Decision
  2. It is vital that your loved one knows what is going on and that they have some say in the outcome.

    The first conversation is talking about bringing in a caregiver. Depending on their needs, this conversation may go well or pose challenges. It is important that your loved one understands why there needs to be a companion.

    It’s also important that they are allowed to have a final say on the intended caregiver. It is them that will need to get along with them and be comfortable with them in the house.

    If your loved one is living with limited cognitive capacities, this may be more difficult. But, it is important that you include them anyhow. Your loved one may reject all intended, but this may be them digging in their heels.

    Allow them to make a decision about who the caregiver will be and let them know you will be there in the beginning to make sure they are happy with who is coming in to help.

  3. Understand What Your Loved One Needs
  4. Before you start looking for a caregiver, it is best to know what your loved one needs help with. Perhaps they have mobility issues, failing eyesight, or help with personal hygiene.

    When you know what you need, it makes it easier to find a caregiver or agency that is able to provide all of the care your family needs. Make a list and include everything they can do and where they need assistance.

    It’s easiest to find someone who can take care of all of the concerns at once, or in stages. It’s also best to make decisions on where you or your family can help out and take on some of the responsibility, as well.

    It is best if you find a caregiver who can take care of the more immediate needs themselves, to save you from having to find a few different caregivers or scramble around amongst your family members to try and cover all the bases.

  5. Stay Connected
  6. It is in your loved one’s best interests to take on some of the caring duties yourself. That doesn’t mean you need to be there every morning to bathe them, cook, and take them to appointments.

    But you should have a role in their caregiving. Pick something that your loved one will be most comfortable with you doing rather than a stranger. Perhaps you could take them to doctor’s appointments or other functions outside of the home.

    This gives you a chance to talk to their doctor and express any concerns you may have, glean any new information about your loved one’s condition, or make arrangements to see a specialist. This gives you firsthand information and peace of mind.

    It is also an opportunity to spend some quality time with your loved one. Find out what is going on, go out for lunch, or get your hair done, and make sure everything is going along as it should be.

    Seniors may be reluctant to complain for fear of being taken out of their home or losing certain freedoms. Spending time one-on-one with them gives them a chance to express themselves openly and honestly.

  7. Get Recommendations
  8. Ask around and get several recommendations before you start to interview. Ask people you know who may already be enjoying a caregiver for their loved ones. Check online and read reviews online outside of their own website.

    Interview several caregivers and allow your loved one in on the whole process. Don’t be afraid to ask some difficult questions and make sure that they are going to be able to take care of the needs that you have lined out.

    Once you have made a short list of likely candidates, check out their references and that of the agency. Remember, bad reviews are not always a reflection of bad service. Not everyone will be happy, so learn to read between the lines.

  9. Make The Home Safe
  10. It’s important that you take time to assess your loved one’s house for anything that might be a health risk. Remove any furniture that can cause tripping or accidents. Tables with sharp corners or glass tops that can be broken easily. Take up loose carpets and make sure all rooms are easily accessible.

    Clear hallways and stairwells, and consider adding small night lights there to aid late-night trips to the bathroom or kitchen. Add railing to the staircase, bathtubs or showers, and remove carpets from stairs.

    Kitchens need to be senior-proof, as well. All too often, people still want to cook for themselves but it can be far too risky. Make sure there is nothing on the stovetop and keep curtains and towels away from the stove.

    You may need to adjust the water temperature in the home, as well. If someone can’t distinguish hot from cold, they can cause severe burns. Make sure the smoke detectors all work and are tested regularly.

Do you need caregiving assistance?

Finding the best care possible for your loved one can be overwhelming. Right at Home Southern Maryland can help you get the dedicated help you need. Contact us today to discuss what's best to allow your loved one to live happily at home.

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