Home Care Fort Lauderdale
In-Home Services That Help Seniors Continue to Live at Home
Most older adults want to continue living in their own homes rather than move in with a relative or relocate to a senior living community. However, many people begin having trouble with everyday activities like shopping, cooking, housekeeping and personal care as they grow older.
Some common complaints or concerns that family members and caregivers might hear include:
- “The stairs are getting so hard to climb.”
- “Since my wife died, I just open a can of soup for dinner.”
- “Doing the laundry wears me out a lot more than it used to.”
- “I don’t feel very comfortable driving to the grocery store anymore.”
While family members and friends may be poised to lend a hand, assisting with even a few simple tasks takes time and effort. For many family caregivers, this initial offer quickly grows into providing hours of help each week as a loved one’s needs increase. Fortunately, there are many different services for the elderly that can minimize caregiver burden, extend a senior’s independence, improve their safety and help them successfully age in place.
Help for Seniors Living at Home in Broward County
There are various sources of assistance for seniors living alone. The following list includes some common things elders need a helping hand with and suggestions for businesses and organizations that can provide those services. While hiring individual services is great for addressing one or two unrelated needs and tends to keep the overall cost down, keep in mind that in-home care rolls many different services into one point of contact. This option is especially convenient for seniors who require assistance in several areas.
Does your loved one need help with chores like housekeeping and laundry? Hiring a cleaning service can take these tasks off their plate and yours. It may be time to evaluate how much of your time is spent performing housekeeping chores, and if hiring out this task allows for a more valuable use of your time. House cleaning services can be arranged weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. A monthly deep clean can be beneficial so that a senior only needs to focus on lighter daily tasks.
Home care companies can also provide light housekeeping services to ensure a senior is living in a clean, safe and organized environment. Just remember that an aide’s job description is to provide personal support and supervision, not heavy-duty cleaning services like window washing or carpet cleaning.
Running Errands, Shopping Assistance and Transportation
In recent years, many businesses have adopted additional convenience features like delivery service and curbside pick-up. Of course, countless goods can be ordered online, but local grocery stores, drug stores, dry cleaners and many other retail outlets now offer same-day delivery or express pick-up of items that have been purchased. In some cases, these services can facilitate shopping and even make leaving the house entirely unnecessary. This is great for seniors who tire easily, have limited mobility or can no longer drive. If the primary issue with running errands is transportation to and from the store, there are several options for this service as well, including public transportation, taxis, and ridesharing services.
When a senior is not eating well, it can take a serious toll on their health. Frozen dinners, take-out and meal replacement shakes can serve a purpose in a pinch, but these options aren’t ideal as primary sources of nutrition. Meals on Wheels America is one of the most well-known food delivery services for seniors. Programs vary slightly from place to place, but basic service includes healthy meal delivery to those age 60 and older who have limited mobility and are challenged to provide themselves with adequate nutrition. These meals are usually provided for a sliding scale fee that is based on a senior’s ability to pay.
There are numerous other prepared meal delivery services available across the country, but nothing beats a home-cooked meal. Many home care agencies provide personal care aides who can plan, shop for and cook meals from scratch. Seniors often enjoy exploring recipes and cooking together. The social aspect of sharing meals is especially beneficial for seniors who live alone. Even if an aide doesn’t visit frequently, he or she can prepare large batches of homemade dishes and freeze them for future use.
Seniors often have chronic medical conditions that must be managed with medication. A 2015 study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University found that nearly 40 percent of adults aged 65 and older take five or more prescription medications. When a loved one’s regimen becomes too complicated or they begin making medication mistakes, it’s crucial that they get help.
While there are pill boxes, phone call reminders, automatic dispensers and other products that can assist with medication management, these options often require another person to be present to confirm that the senior has taken their medicine as directed. Home care workers who visit at a set time each day can provide medication reminders in person and note that the correct dosages were taken. In some cases, Medicare will pay for a home health aide to come to a senior’s home to administer medications if they require intermittent skilled nursing care.
Getting around with limited mobility can be difficult and even dangerous for seniors. Professional caregivers can provide increased supervision and assistance with mobility and transfers, which can reduce the likelihood of falls and other household accidents. Many seniors are actually more active and less anxious when they know they’re being monitored and that help is close by. In fact, home care aides are happy to take walks with clients and participate in activities and exercises that help maintain and promote mobility.
Personal Care Services
Unfortunately, as a senior’s physical and mental health decline, all too often so does their personal hygiene. Simple tasks like bathing, brushing one’s teeth, putting on clean clothes and shaving become tiresome and fall lower and lower on the priority list. Helping a loved one bathe may be the only solution.
Bathing assistance is usually only available through home care companies or home health agencies. They will send a specially trained bath aide to quickly and discretely help your loved one take a shower, bath or bed bath. Personal hygiene is crucial for good health, and many caregivers turn to bathing services for seniors to help their loved ones with self-care and avoid the discomfort of providing this intimate assistance. Personal care aides can help elders with toileting and continence care as well.
Many stylists and salons have also added house calls to their offerings to cover the more glamorous personal care services, such as haircuts, shaving and nail care, but availability depends upon a senior’s location.
How to Determine an Aging Parent Needs Help at Home
How will you know when your elderly parents need help at home? One thing is certain: your parents aren’t likely to be the ones who tell you they need a helping hand!
Admitting the need for help and accepting assistance are not easy for people as they age. The responsibility often falls on family members to recognize the signs that an aging loved one might need support with completing activities of daily living (ADLs).
Seniors have a strong desire to remain independent and in control of their own lives for as long as possible. Typically, an older adult will experience a traumatic event precipitating the realization that they need assistance. Because adult children are often unable to participate in making care decisions before a crisis takes place, the added emotional stress of a sudden hospitalization or fall further complicates this process. One way to avoid this is to start regularly monitoring your parents’ physical and mental abilities and researching long-term care options. This will ensure you are prepared should your parents begin to show signs of needing help.
Call our office today to learn more about providing quality home care for your aging parent.
Benefits of Hiring In-Home Care for an Elderly Parent
When a loved one is still living at home but struggling with the effects of getting older and losing their independence, hiring in-home care can be a great solution. Professional caregivers provide seniors with physical assistance, as well as help with the emotional and routine aspects of daily life
Caregivers as Personal Companions
If there is one thing that becomes clear as someone ages, it’s the extensive benefits of friendship. “Far too many elderly individuals in the United States live alone, and when they have trouble getting around, lose their driving privileges, or do not have family and friends nearby, it can make them feel even more isolated,” says Kevin Watkins, co-owner of Caring Hearts of Rochester in New York. That is why companionship becomes a quintessential part of any home care services.
A professional caregiver can provide precious social interaction. This could be something as simple as conversing over coffee, going to the movies, or cooking or gardening together. In the process of doing their job, caregivers stave off loneliness and depression in older adults.
Caregivers Support Independent Living
By providing ongoing personal care, professional caregivers are able to help aging individuals continue living safely, comfortably and socially at home. A little extra support can be all that is needed to extend an older adult’s sense of independence. This goes a long way toward improving their outlook on life and boosting self-confidence. Most aging individuals are comforted by remaining in familiar surroundings where they have spent much of their lives. In-home care can help them stay there longer than they would be able to on their own, forgoing placement in a long-term care facility.
Caregivers Oversee Daily Life
A professional caregiver will keep an eye on your loved one and detect changes in their condition, such as refusal to eat, sudden weight loss, medication mismanagement, forgetting to turn the oven off, etc. This kind of accountability can make a significant difference in preventing accidents and avoidable health complications, particularly in situations where an older adult has a difficult time with communication and/or remembering things. These caregivers are specifically trained to read subtle cues that a senior’s mental or physical condition has changed and act quickly to remedy the situation.
Peace of Mind for the Family
Whether you live 10 minutes away or on the other side of the country, it is hard not to worry about your loved one when you cannot be nearby. In-home care provides the one-on-one, personalized care that a sole caregiver is not able to offer full time, giving you priceless respite AND peace of mind. A professional caregiver is a valuable addition to your loved one’s care team.
Hiring In-Home Care
If you have concerns about a senior’s ability to live independently or your responsibilities as their sole caregiver, then it is a good idea to begin exploring home care companies in your area. Consider both the tangible and intangible benefits that could come from hiring a professional caregiver for your aging loved one, and take advantage of this increasingly popular method of care.
Coping With Seniors Who Won’t Accept In-Home Caregivers
Hiring in-home care for my elderly neighbor, Joe, was quite an ordeal. The company we chose and their professional caregivers were great, but the quality of care they provided wasn’t the issue. The problem was that Joe resented anyone but me helping him.
He locked one in-home care aide out of his home, let another inside but was rude to her, and thoroughly enjoyed one young man but only because they could discuss golf together.
I’m not the first family caregiver to struggle with getting a senior to accept home care. Families hire these services to provide valuable respite time and quality care for seniors, but what is a caregiver to do when their loved one refuses to cooperate with this new addition to their care plan?
Reasons Why a Senior Won’t Accept In-Home Caregivers
An in-home caregiver’s best efforts are often met with anger (or even abuse) dished out by the elder they are supposed to be helping. It is crucial for the family and hired caregiver(s) to determine the underlying reason for a senior’s lack of cooperation and find ways to remedy the situation.
I believe that fear is the foundation of much of a senior’s reluctance and even disrespect for non-family caregivers. The presence of an outsider may suggest to them that their family can’t (or doesn’t want to) see to their needs. It also magnifies the extent of the elder’s care needs, making them feel especially vulnerable. This combination of concerns can create the perfect storm, especially if they are prone to lashing out when angry. Of course, the family members who arrange these services get an earful, but the professional caregiver becomes the primary target for sending the message that outside help is neither wanted nor needed.
Fear of Losing Their Independence
People of all ages dread the idea of losing their independence, but many seniors are living this reality and struggling to come to terms with it. Aging is hardly a graceful process, so who can blame our elders for digging their heels in?
If a senior is still of sound mind, emphasize that home care enables them to continue living safely in their own home. This in itself is an overarching symbol of independence. The right caregiver will pick up on the senior’s strong desire to be self-sufficient and provide assistance in ways that allow them to retain as much control as possible. In-home care usually doesn’t sound like such a bad idea when it is presented as the alternative to moving to a senior living community.
Fear of Strangers
Trust issues can also trigger anxiety in some seniors and their family members. Inviting a professional caregiver into the home to care for someone you love is a very personal decision. The best way to alleviate worries about a new caregiver’s character and trustworthiness is for the family to take an active role in the hiring process. If the senior is capable, they should participate as well. Again, a sense of involvement and the ability to have a say in these decisions can reduce anxiety.
Adapting to in-home care is much smoother when the family is confident in who they have hired. Know what to look for in a provider and interview caregivers before services begin to determine a good match. With this approach, if something seems off, you have the opportunity to correct your decision before it actually becomes a problem.
Dementia Contributes to Fear
It can be challenging to encourage a mentally healthy senior to accept outside help, but Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can make this process even more complex.
Depending on the progression of their condition, a senior may not be able to fully participate in the hiring process. Nonetheless, it is still wise to introduce potential caregivers before services begin to see how both parties get along. Dementia patients’ moods and capabilities fluctuate from day to day, though, so keep this in mind when trying to help a loved one to warm up to someone new.
Paranoia, hallucinations and delusions are common symptoms that a dementia caregiver should know how to handle. Look for someone who is trained in dementia care and knows how to communicate with and calm their clients. Having a family member present during the first few shifts while everyone gets to know each other can reassure a senior that they are safe and in good company.
In-Home Caregivers Can Support Seniors Outside the Home, Too
Most people assume that the duties of a professional caregiver hired through a home care company are limited to assisting clients inside their homes with tasks like bathing and grooming, reminding them to take their medications, preparing meals, or doing light housekeeping. These are all useful services, but hired caregivers are playing an increasing role in clients’ lives outside the home as well. Appointment companions, also known as ambulatory escorts, incorporate activities like escorting clients to doctors’ appointments, taking them shopping, or simply strolling around the neighborhood into clients’ care plans.
Serving as appointment companions is a natural extension of what professional caregivers are trained to do.\
While attending a medical appointment may not seem like a refreshing outing, an appointment companion can help turn it into one. Some clients also opt to turn an outing for an appointment into a fun opportunity to indulge in a meal at their favorite restaurant or grab a treat on the way home. Professional caregivers provide the support necessary for making this happen.
In addition to walking or driving clients to appointments, companions can also go into appointments to take notes. This service can help seniors and their caregivers better understand health changes and more closely follow the doctor’s orders. Some home care companies offer to send a client’s authorized family members these notes as updates regarding their condition and changes to their care plan.
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