Dear Family Resource,
My dad has health problems. My mom works full-time and helps with his personal care, but I think he needs more help than she can provide. He says we can hire someone to help with in-home care, but because of his health issues (diabetes, high blood pressure, plus early-stage dementia) I think he might be better off in assisted living or a nursing home. Mom says she can take care of him, but I see the toll it is taking on her. I want to do the right thing but between the three of us we can’t agree on what that is. Can you help?
I get that you’re worried about your dad and mom. For them, going from being completely independent to recognizing the need for help is a huge step and must feel overwhelming for all of you. Still, I want to say that you’re doing exactly the right thing – you’re exploring options. If I were talking to you on the phone, I’d ask you why you think your dad needs to move from his home to get the help he needs. Are you thinking that just he would move, or would your mom move with him?
While there are care options for seniors who can no longer live safely at home such as assisted living, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, or nursing homes, it seems to me that to uproot your parents at this stage doesn’t make sense, especially since your mom is still working and doesn’t need assistance herself. At Family Resource Home Care, our goal is to help seniors remain as independent as possible. This means finding ways for them to remain in the place most familiar and comfortable to them – their home. Your parents can get the in-home care help they need through a private duty licensed home care agency such as Family Resource Home Care. Plus, in-home care cost is typically much lower than that of assisted living or a nursing home.
If I were meeting with your mom and dad, the first thing I’d do is ask your dad with what and when he most needs help. I’d also let your mom know that hiring us for even a few hours of in-home care a week (our shifts can be as short as 2 hours) would take the load off of her so that she can spend more quality time with your dad, doing things that they enjoy together. I’d describe how our services work. Once hired we would put together a care plan of all the things they want help with from chores to grocery shopping, to meal preparation, to assisting with personal care, to monitoring your dad’s blood sugar, and making sure that he gets his insulin and other medications on time. While talking, I would be getting a feel for your folks which would help me find a caregiver or home health aide who would be a good match for their needs and personalities.
I always think it’s best to take things one step at a time. It sounds like right now your dad and mom need non-medical care help. They can get this with little disruption while continuing to live at home. Then, in the future, if your dad – or mom – needs more help, the beauty of our process is that they would already have a caregiver who they like and trust and whose hours could be increased as their needs increase. I do hope that you’ll talk to your parents and give me a call. I’d love to meet them.