Home Help for the Elderly: Is it Right for Your Loved One?

Many older adults desire to stay in their homes as long as possible, avoiding placement into an assisted living or senior living setting. This can be a viable option as long as an elderly parent or loved on has adequate help in the home as additional care and support becomes necessary.  It is important however, to research the range of options available to maintain this desired lifestyle. There are different levels and types of care which can be offered in the home depending on your loved one’s needs.

Make Decisions Early

All too often, families don’t have discussions or make these decisions until  a catastrophic event occurs and it becomes absolutely necessary. Other family members (in cooperation with physicians and other healthcare providers) are then faced with determining whether arrangements can be made for their loved one to remain in her home or whether an alternative living arrangement, such as nursing home placement, will be necessary.

Home care can be more affordable than residential senior living settings, depending on how much care your loved one requires. But home help providers can’t provide more complex services, and non-medical in-home care is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid in most cases.

Evaluating Your Options

There are a few questions you should ask yourself if you’re considering hiring at-home care for an aging loved one. These questions will help guide you in making the right decisions for your family.

  • What support do you have available? Do you have family, friends or neighbors, and how willing are they to become involved? Are there people in your life who can and will step in when needed to help with the lighter aspects, such as house cleaning, errand running, or providing a respite for the caregiver?
  • Do you have the financial ability to pay for care? Obtaining help now or in the future is something you should budget for. Also, look into what the financial obligations are when using a home health or private agency so you can create a financial plan in advance. Call your local office of aging and inquire about what services they provide and about income guidelines.
  • What are your loved ones medical needs? Does your elderly loved one have chronic medical conditions that will inevitably worsen over time? This is specific area of concern when evaluating your options. Consider mobility and health concerns,  possible future complications and how you might handle them.

Finding the Right Home Care Services

Once you have determined your needs, it’s time to evaluate what services your loved one will require to help maintain her independence. It’s time to look for outside providers. Ask among your network of friends and family to find out what local services might be available. Sometimes the best referrals come from your personal network.

Older adult resources such as the Area Agencies on Aging, eldercare specialists such as geriatric care managers, and senior centers can also be great places to start. When it comes to home health care, your physician will also be able to help with the referral process and may have recommendations or advice.  . Insurance providers will sometimes cover a portion of the costs associated with homecare services, if the care is necessary due to a medical condition.

Full-Service Agencies  vs. Independent Providers

There are two main types of in home care available to seniors: Full-service agencies and independent providers.

  • Full Service agencies typically range from companion services to complete nursing services. They can be more expensive but the trade-off is their caregivers have often been carefully screened with extensive background checks. This provides a little peace of mind and helps you feel comfortable with the caregiver in your home. Most states require these caregivers to be certified according to specific state standards, such as taking an examination to become a CNA.  And if a caregiver is unable to work due to illness or emergency, a replacement is typically sent to the home when using the full-service option.
  • Independent Providers are often less expensive.  However, you’ll want to do the legwork to carefully screen your employee. It’s also a good idea to check backgrounds and verify identities. The other downside is not having a readily available replacement should your employee is unable to work on any given day.

Home care can be a viable option for helping your loved one remain independent and in her own home. It’s not right for everyone, however; some seniors prefer the socialization and activities available in senior living settings, and not all families can afford the costs associated with in-home care. Finally, your loved one’s needs may eventually exceed what the agency is able to provide, making a move to a residential senior care facility necessary.

Image via Geograph.org.uk and is licensed under the Creative Commons license.

Role Reversal: Cohabitating with an Elderly Parent

As the population continues to age, few things become more apparent than seniors’ desire for independence coupled with wanting to stay in their own homes. It’s a comfort thing: Most people want to grow old in their home, surrounded by their personal belongings and memories. Not to mention, the exorbitant costs associated with care outside of the home either in a long-term setting or assisted living facilities seems far out of reach for many of today’s families.

Nowadays, there are more and more adult children who end up cohabitating with their aging parents, whether that means the child returns home to get back on his feet or an elderly parent moves in with a child’s family to downsize or when it becomes unsafe for them to live alone. In the last 15 years, the number of seniors living with an adult child has skyrocketed, thanks in part to the high costs associated with getting outside help.

Living with elderly parents
Families provide the bulk of long-term care

It’s estimated that over 10 million adults over the age of 50 are responsible for the care of an aging parent. That’s about one in five Americans taking over the responsibility of a parent either in their home or paying for their care, according to the most recent statistics from the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA).

What’s more, Focus on the Family reports that families–not institutions–are providing 80 percent of long term care, meaning there are a lot of family caregivers out there providing the bulk of caregiving services for today’s elderly population. . As baby boomers are living longer and having healthier lives, any care that is needed for the aging parents typically becomes the children’s responsibility.

As people grow older, there are many ailments and conditions which may lead to the need for outside help. Cohabitating with aging parents can take the place of some, if not much, of the need for this assistance. A cohabitating arrangement can prove beneficial and rewarding, but it could also create plenty of complications.

Talk out the details first

Most children have good intentions when they decide living with an elderly parent is the best option. However, these situations can go south very rapidly if all the details weren’t given much thought before the decision was made.

Addressing every topic beforehand, such as finances, and evaluating how to establish unity among everyone involved can ease much of the tension associated with living with aging parents. Here are a few topics that should be considered prior to cohabitating with mom or dad:

  • Who will pay the bills? Will your parent be expected to contribute financially?
  • Are there young children involved, and how can they be prepared for this change? Be sure to discuss the situation and explain, even to very young children, why Grandma or Grandpa is moving in and what it means for them.
  • Do you need ground rules for young children? The roles can get mixed when multiple generations live under the same roof; be upfront about disciplinary roles and expectations to avoid hurtful confrontations.
  • What medical needs does your elderly parent have? Who will be responsible for taking care of any care needs, appointments and supplies?
  • Is it safe for your aging parent to be alone during the day? If not, who will be caring for her while your family is away? Look into options such as adult day care if needed.

Living with mom or dad

Share responsibilities with siblings

If your aging loved one requires a great deal of care, enlisting other siblings to help can be a good idea. If you have adult siblings who live close enough to help with daily activities or transportation to doctor appointments, it can alleviate the amount of stress placed on the child with whom the aging parent resides.

Make plans in advance and discuss these options with your elderly parent and any siblings who will be participating in care. Again, advance planning goes a long way in avoiding unpleasant disputes down the road.

Check into community resources

Researching all the options available in your community, such as respite care can also help alleviate some of the burden. It’s important for families entering into a cohabitating arrangement with an elderly loved one to know all their options and have ample support. Ancillary resources that can help include:

Living with elderly parents can and does work, provided there is sufficient space, privacy and boundaries for everyone involved. Mutual respect and a place to go when one has had enough family time are also crucial to a successful cohabitating arrangement.  Cooperation, advance planning and flexibility are all critical to the family’s happiness.

Images via celesteh.com and  InAweofGod via Flickr

Keeping Your Elderly Parents and Relatives Safe in Their Homes

As people continue to live longer through advances in medicine and increased adoption of healthy lifestyles, many middle-aged adults are finding themselves concerned with the well-being of their elderly parents and relatives. This often comes after they have finished raising their children and are looking forward to having more time to travel or devote to other interests or hobbies they did not have time for in the past.

Caring for the elderly at home is different from raising children in that plainly speaking; they are not children and are entitled to as much autonomy as they are capable of handling. Often this means that elderly parents will choose to remain in their own home for as long as they are physically able. This can lead to feelings of resentment and stress on either side of the fence.

If you have elderly parents, it is understandable that you want to do what is best for them and keep them comfortable in the familiar surroundings of the home they have created. One thing can do to ensure their safety and wellbeing is to make sure their home is safe. Home safety for the elderly is important because this group is the most susceptible to severe injuries or even deaths from accidents in the home.

Most of the deaths attributed to accidents in the home include falls, fires, accidental poisoning, extreme weather, and choking. For those who are over 80 years old, over 75% of accidental deaths occur from falls.

There are many ways you can lessen the possibility of accidents or deaths from falls by taking the time to inspect your parents or relatives’ homes for potential dangers. This not only will protect them from harm, but it will give you some peace of mind.

To lessen the possibility of falls, you will want to make sure that any throw rugs or floor mats in the home have a non-skid rubbing backing. Even better, make sure that all rugs are secured to the floor to avoid tripping.

If their home has stairs, you will want to make sure that the handrails are not wobbly. Additionally, you will want to install a second set of handrails on the stairs so they are present on both sides. A helpful tip is to paint the bottom step a different color so that the elderly person realizes it is the bottom step and does not misjudge their footing.

Many falls also occur in the bathroom especially when climbing in and out of the bathtub or shower. If grab bars are not already installed in these areas, you will want to add this to your list of improvements to make.

Tub floors and tile are often slippery when wet; therefore, it is advisable to add non-skid treads to these surfaces. Any rugs or bath mats should also have non-skid rubber backing to prevent slip and falls. You may also want to suggest the use of a bath chair during showering, in which the installation of a hand-held shower attachment may come in handing.

It’s important to know that there are services available that can provide home help for the elderly without the need for them to enter an assisted living or nursing home facility before it becomes necessary for their safety. These services, depending on the area they live may include home delivered meals for the elderly and visits to check on their well-being and alert you if there are any concerns.

Check to see what services are available in your area to assist you in your quest to care for your elderly parents or relatives.

Image via stock.xchng by macanudo

What is Ergonomics and How Can it Help You

Ergonomics is the study of how objects interact with the body, and how to make those objects interact in a more comfortable way. This is a very important study, especially as people use computers, phones and other devices more and more frequently in their daily lives. Without proper ergonomics, these devices could cause injury after long and repetitive use. Proper ergonomics, therefore, is a topic of concern for aging adults as well, because the body does not work as well in later years.

Types of Ergonomics
There are three main branches of ergonomics. The most popular is physical ergonomics. This takes physiological movement into account. Physical ergonomics are concerned with making devices that fit the body. They must work with the muscles and the angles of the human body to properly work.

Cognitive ergonomics are about how cognitive processes work in the human brain. There are few items that are made for cognitive ergonomics. Rather, this is commonly about making schedules, charts and processes that can easily fit within the human brain. For example, the common human can remember seven items at once. Cognitive ergonomic structures will utilize this when making graphs and charts.

Organizational ergonomics are concerned with how people are organized. This is commonly used by managers when they need employees to work in teams. Managers will commonly organize people based on skills and how they work together. This formation creates a team that is best suited for productivity.

Ergonomic Items
The study of ergonomics is all about making items easier for people to use. A common example of an often used item that may be ergonomic in design is an ergonomic keyboard, such as a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 (pictured below), which is made in a way that directly works with natural hand movements. Ergonomists who design products like these must understand how the human body works, and know the limitations and capabilities of the body or mind. There are dozens of other kinds of ergonomic items that one can easily integrate into one’s life to reduce the long term stress and wear on the body.

While the above-mentioned ergonomic keyboard and other computer devices are common in ergonomic items, another thriving market is the daily living niche for seniors. In fact, seniors often benefit the most from ergonomic items. This is because they are more prone to muscular injury, and normal items dramatically increase the risk of injury. Not only that, but ergonomic daily living items make normal tasks much easier because they are sized to fit the human hand, and they cause less strain to the eyes.

Injuries
Aside from making objects easier and more comfortable to use, ergonomists are also concerned with preventing injuries. When someone uses an uncomfortable device for a long time, such as an uncomfortable keyboard or phone, this causes the muscles to tense unnaturally.

Normally users will just feel momentary discomfort that alleviates after use. However, long and repetitive use causes permanent damage to the unnaturally tensed muscles. This can make it difficult to move the muscle, and it can cause chronic pain.

An ergonomic device is designed to prevent injury. The chance of injury occurring is drastically reduced when the device emulates or fits in with natural human movements. Ergonomic devices are often made at different angles and sizes than normal devices, making them uniquely suited for natural movement.

Conclusion
Ergonomic items are designed to help people function. While most items are made to accommodate the human body, there are also strategies for helping the human brain within ergonomics. If you are having a hard time seeing small letters, working with your hands or doing anything else in daily life, then consider getting an ergonomic device.

Most items are relatively cheap, and they can really improve your daily life by reducing the strain needed to complete the activity. Just try one out, and you will see how much they can improve your life.

 

Should Home Care Be the New Hospital?

Today’s featured senior care article is another great post originally published on the Ankota Home Care Blog and reprinted here with Ankota’s permission. Ankota provides home care software and blogs about home care best practices, entrepreneurship and technology.

A very interesting article entitled “Why one-third of hospitals will close by 2020,” by David Houle and Jonathan Fleece recently appeared on the website KevinMD.com.  Some of the key points raised about why one-third of the hospitals will close are as follows:

  • Health-Care is too Expensive, and hospitals are among the most expensive part
  • Hospitals are dangerous: 100,000 preventable deaths each year (the equivalent of 200 747 airplane crashes)
  • Customer Service in Hospitals is Abysmal – averaging 4 hour waits in emergency rooms
  • Transparency is Coming – people will be able to see which hospitals are better than others and the losers will go out of business

Whether the above prediction is right or wrong, for me it begs the question of Where will the Hospital Be?  My answer is that home care will be the new hospital.  Here’s why:

  • Home Care is less expensive
  • Home Care is safer for two reasons: care at home avoids the dangerous travel to and from the hospital, and staying home avoids exposure to infection
  • Home Care customer service is personal and attentive

There’s a great future for home care, and we’re glad to be part of it!

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital. Today Ankota services home health, private duty care, DME Delivery, RT, Physical Therapy and Home Infusion organizations, and is interested in helping to efficiently manage other forms of care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

5 Questions to Ask When Choosing Home Care Agencies

When the decision is made to provide a senior citizen with assisted care, there are a number of questions that should be kept in mind when talking to the various available home care agencies. Here are five questions to ask home care agencies in order to help you find the best match for your situation:

1. What are the home care agency’s qualifications?

Home caregivers should be trained and certified in the areas of assistance that the patient needs. For example, if the patient has Alzheimer’s disease, you’ll want to make sure that the home care agency you’re talking to has home care professionals that are trained to help senior citizens with that particular disease. In addition to putting the patient at ease, having an amply qualified professional helps reduce the worry and stress of relatives and other loved ones who may be sharing the responsibilities of caregiving.

2. Does the home care agency assign each patient with his or her own dedicated caregiver?

It’s hard to receive personal and appropriate care from home care agencies when the caregiver changes from week to week. While employees can change, each senior should have a dedicated caregiver who knows their needs, their desires, and their personalities to give them the best experience possible.

3. How much does it cost compared to other home care agencies?

Every agency handles billing differently, and people considering home care need to know what sort of fees may be associated with it. It’s important to find out if the agency payments are covered by Medicare in whole or in part, what payment plans are available, and what additional charges could crop up at a time of emergency. For in-home care it’s also important to know if the home care agencies pay their caregivers or if they expect payment from their patients directly, particularly for sick days, vacations, or other missed days of care.

4. How does the home care agency handle emergency situations?

Patients and their loved ones both deserve fast, accurate, and knowledgeable communication between the patient, agency and medical practitioners involved. Having a medical emergency and having your family waiting on hold with an agency receptionist is stressful for everyone involved. Whether dealing with a genuine health emergency or a false alarm, both need to be taken equally seriously and dealt with quickly, keeping all parties informed and as calm as possible.

5. Can you access some of the home care agency’s references?

Asking potential home care agencies for references is important so that potential patients can get a sense of how previous patients have been treated, how their families were treated, and how they interact with hospitals and other medical professionals. If possible, a good home care agency should have a doctor or hospital willing to vouch for their quality of care, as well as previous clients who are willing to answer questions about their services.

When it comes to the quality of care that is provided for your elderly loved ones, many would spare no expense. However in these tough economic times it isn’t always an option to be picky. It’s important now more than ever that you choose a home care agency that can provide excellent service without overcharging or causing unnecessary stress. Hopefully with these questions in mind, that decision will be made much more easily.

3 Key Things to Consider When Choosing a Home Health Aide

Choosing home health care services is often more complicated than it needs to be. To make sure that a home health care agency can provide the best service, it is important to look into the company itself, which is why patients and their families check for state licensing, government accreditation, Medicare health and safety certification, and references before selecting an agency to work with.

How do you select a home health care aide once you’ve selected a home health care agency? The easiest way to choose a home health aide is to consider these 3 key things before making a choice.

1. Your Home Health Aide’s Personality

Matching the personality of a patient with the personality of an aide is crucial when you choose home health assistance. Personality type plays the biggest role in the patient-client relationship. The world’s best-trained aide and the world’s most compliant patient may not have success because their personalities clash. Home health aides are only successful at care-giving when a combination of trust and emotional balance exists between caregiver and client.

When choosing a home health aide, take time to watch the patient’s reaction to the aide and the aide’s interaction with the patient on a personal level in addition to his or her medical expertise.

2. Your Home Health Aide’s Professional Qualifications

If a caregiver and patient have good rapport, the next important part of choosing a home health aide is selecting an aide that you feel is fully qualified. An aide’s qualification to work with a client depends on three factors: experience, knowledge, and presentation. Experience refers to the patients and households the aide has previous experience with. An aide’s knowledge refers to training with specific conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease Parkinson’s, cancer, dementia, or other conditions unique to the patient you are hoping to pair him or her with. Experience using necessary medical equipment in the home is an important gauge of an aide’s qualifications as well. The word presentation refers to how the aide carries him or herself, people skills, and patience with the client.

3. Your Home Health Aide’s Communication Skills

A successful relationship between a home health aide and a patient depends on a personality match, the aide’s qualifications, and the communication between the aide, the patient, and the family. Home health aides are trained to communicate with clients and families, but this communication requires the participation of the caregiver, the patient and family.

It cannot be stressed enough that what works for one home health aide with one patient may not work for the next, so it’s important to dedicate enough time and care to interviewing your home health aide candidates to ensure that you make the right choice for everyone involved. By keeping these three tips in mind as you search, you’re sure to find a home health aide that can not only help the patient to feel comfortable remaining at home during an illness, but help family, friends and other caregivers to feel reassured and relieve some of the stress that inherently accompanies caring for a loved one that needs day-to-day assistance.

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Preventing Falls is One of the Critical Aspects of Home Care

Today’s featured senior care article installment is courtesy of our friends over at Ankota, the industry’s first Healthcare Delivery Management solution.  Featured senior care articles are republications of content we feel our audience will find useful. You can find the original article here.

Home Care Fall PreventionSobering statistics show that falls resulting in injury can be the beginning of the end for seniors–not only of independence, but also their lives.  Among the dangerous consequences of falling, hip fractures sustained in a fall are tragically common among seniors.

Shockingly, injuries resulting from falls kill tens of thousands of seniors each year.  Falls affect nearly 1 in 3 seniors annually–about 300,000 seniors will suffer a quality-of-life threatening incident this year. It follows that preventing falls from happening is key in extending the lives of seniors.

Importantly, fall prevention also preserves quality of life.  Home care is a major factor in keeping seniors attended, functional, significantly safer, and able to live the independent lives they deserve.

Home Care can extend their clients’ lives by preventing falls.

Previous coverage on the Ankota blog explores this topic and its relation to your agency.  Find it here.

The blog post shares a simple yet crucial piece of advice: when shopping for Home Care, look for an agency’s record in fall prevention as a true measure of quality care.

A new article in AARP magazine makes the case compellingly clear.  The article lays out the numbers, which are not at all encouraging.  Yet it also provides a comprehensive list of measures to take to significantly reduce this all too common threat to the quality of life for seniors.

“The Deadliest Break” gives an example of a 91-year-old woman who was able not only to survive, but also to thrive after her fall resulting in hip fracture.

Unfortunately, it goes on to explain, she is in a select minority of seniors who are able to resume activities of daily living unassisted after such an incident.

Does aging itself necessitate a resigned attitude toward inevitable decline of one’s own abilities and capacities?  The article explores an insidious bias, while giving clear directives for restoration and renewal.  It shows how to overcome a prevalent notion–that recovery from hip fracture or other fall-related injuries will not result in fully restored vigor.

Why are falls resulting in hip fractures particularly deadly to seniors?  The article looks at co-morbidity factors affecting this population, plus takes on other damaging factors, including “the vanishing” of continuing care at a crucial juncture–care which could restore an injury sufferer to previous levels of functionality in daily life.

The article is followed by a list of definite measures–some perhaps surprising–to bolster a senior’s chance of preventing an incident.

Naturally, prevention is paramount.  Yet early treatment, thorough rehabilitation, and continuing care at the right time are the simple yet uncommon measures to improve the situation for seniors and those who care for them.

Find the full article here:  “The Deadliest Break.”

What is your agency doing to prevent falls?  Please share your best practices in the comments.  If you have a great story to share, we want to hear it.  Be sure to contact us and we’ll feature the best in our blog.

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Medicare Cuts May Force Doctors to Turn Away Patients

The Battle is just beginning

For millions of baby boomers about to turn 65 and begin utilizing their Medicare benefits, the battle of finding a physician who accepts the government-run health care plan may be just beginning.

With ‘Obamacare’ politics having significantly affected Medicare, some physicians are refusing to accept or are significantly limiting the number of new Medicare patients.  According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), physicians may be facing a near 30% reduction in Medicare reimbursement. The reduction is based upon the Standard Growth Rate, a formula based upon the Gross National Product.

Limiting and Denying Basic Care

The idea of slashing Medicare reimbursement is not new.  Physicians have been fighting a losing battle for the last several years, knowing that inevitably they would feel the heat.  In fact, in 2010 they were given a reprieve from the cuts when Congress delayed the cuts until this year.  It’s not just the physicians who will be feeling the burden from the cuts. Many of their patients who qualify for Medicare benefits will also be feeling the pain.

According to a 2010 article published in USA TODAY,  primary care physicians have been restricting or limiting their acceptance of Medicare.  In separate surveys The American Academy of Family Physicians and The American Osteopathic Association saw a significant number of physicians, 13% and 15% respectively, not participating in Medicare.  In addition, the American Medical Association says that 31% of surveyed primary care physicians are restricting the number of Medicare patients in their practices.

While many believe these cuts will affect society’s most vulnerable, President Obama was quoted in an AARP bulletin saying that the “adjustments to programs like Medicare will ensure that they’re still around for future generations.”

David Certner, legislative policy director for AARP, believes such cuts will make it harder for patients to find access to medical providers. “The deeper you cut payments to providers, the more you create disincentives to treating people on Medicare,” he says. In a 2010 AARP survey, a overwhelming number of responding members were already concerned with the impact Medicare cuts would have on their ability to find accepting physicians.

Cuts Run Deep

Restricting or limiting patients is just one way medical practices will help to compensate for the reimbursement cuts.  In a large survey conducted by the Medical Group Management Association, alternative cost saving measures may include cutting clinical staff and administrative staff, delaying the implementation of electronic medical records and foregoing the purchase of new facilities or equipment. All, of these “solutions” are to the detriment of the patient.  Without adequate staffing, mistakes are inevitable and the already dread wait time is certain to increase.  For clinicians who are deciding against purchasing new equipment they are making the choice to sacrifice updated medical technology for cost savings.  It’s a no-win situation.

We will not know the full impact of the budget cuts until December when the 12-member congressional committee submits their budget proposal to Congress. And even then, it won’t be a matter of if there are cuts, but rather to what degree.

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5 Signs It’s Time to Hire a Home Health Aide

Yesterday we posted three disadvantages to in-home senior care, but as we noted in the post: there are many instances when in-home care is indeed the best choice.

Everyone wants to do what’s best for their aging parents, but it can be hard to know when it is time to hire some extra help. Home care services can be a good solution for elderly patients who want to maintain their independence, but still need help with their medical procedures or day to day living. Every situation is different, but there are a few signs that may indicate it’s time to hire a home health aide.

 1. Difficulty With Medications 

With age comes more medications. As the number of medications increases, it can be difficult to keep track of what to take when and what might interact. One of the leading causes of ER visits in elderly patients is medication interaction, so it’s important to take these issues seriously. If your parent is having a hard time keeping track, a home health aide can help keep records and make sure that all medications are taken at the correct time. Home care services can also include checking vital signs and mental state for conditions that require continuous monitoring.

 2. Difficulty With Personal Care 

If your parent is having difficulty with daily personal grooming and care, or needs help getting in and out of a wheelchair, home care might be a good option. Cleanliness is important for health and healing, as well as general well being. This help may include bathing, grooming, and dressing.

 3. Difficulty Standing For Long Periods of Time 

The inability to stand for long periods of time can make many aspects of home life more difficult. It can be hard to do basic chores like sweeping, vacuuming, or cooking. Home elder care will help with everyday chores and housekeeping. They will also help plan and cook nutritious meals, follow dietary guidelines, and keep track of intake if it is necessary for medical care. This can take a significant burden off of parents who have difficulty walking or standing.

 4. A Desire to Retain Independence 

Assisted living at home is a good alternative to nursing homes or full-time care. It allows the parent to stay in his or her own home and maintain a usual routine while still providing the medical and domestic attention necessary. If your parent doesn’t want to lose independence, but still could use extra help, looking into home health care agencies might be the right choice.

 5. The Family or Parent Feeling Overwhelmed 

Aging and elder care can be stressful for the parent and the family. If the stress is putting a strain on everyday life or family relations, it may be time to find help. Home health care agencies will help educate the parent and the family about care and provide companionship for the parent throughout the day. Home health care can ease the strain and the work load for everyone involved.

Hiring home care is an important decision. While these are some good guidelines, it is important to go case by case and do what is right for your family.

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