Elder Care Tips, In-home assistance for elders
As our loved ones age, we face the prospect of getting them assistance for ailments, therapy or even daily chores. Here's a guide to signs your loved one may need extra care and what options are available.
Be sure to look for these signs that your loved one may need assistance:
- Constant fatigue
- Unsteady while walking or standing and recent falls
- Loss of hearing, sight or smell
- Diminished driving skills
- Dirty clothes or poor grooming habits
- Trouble cleaning, cooking or shopping
- No appetite or changes in eating habits
- Memory loss and confusion
- Sudden mood changes
- Loss of interest in activities and socializing
- Inability to take medications
- Mishandling finances
Navigating the options
Depending upon need, different levels of care are available.
- Independent living facilities are for seniors who don’t need special care, just opportunities to socialize. Some also offer meals and transportation.
- In-home services can consist of assistance at home with health care, meals preparation and transportation.
- Assisted living facilities allow the senior to live independently but provide help managing medications and grooming.
- Continuing care is a combination of the above situations; good for a senior whose circumstances may be changing.
- Nursing homes are for those requiring constant care by licensed health care professionals.
- Alzheimer’s care units are generally located within nursing homes with specially trained staff to treat the disease.
- Adult day care programs provide supervision and activities during daytime hours to give the caregiver a break.
Follow these steps to find the best elder-care situation.
- Consult with an expert. Let the elderly person express his or her wishes.
- Look at location, location, location. The facility must be close in order for family and friends to visit.
- Get references. Talk to families who already have a loved one there.
- Fill the social calendar. Ask about activities and make sure they are happening.
- Get the facts at medicare.gov/NHCompare. Review facility complaint investigations and annual inspection reports.
- Check the stats. Find out about the staff to resident ratio.
- Make an appointment. Be sure physicians and therapists are available.
- Scout the site. Look for clean, cheerful rooms and grounds.
- Plan a menu. Find out when and where snacks and meals are available.
- Learn the ropes. Gain access to support groups and outside agencies.
Related: Hiring In-Home Elder Care