Home Care Issues
Home Care Issues
Bunni Dybnis (Director of Professional Services, LivHOME, Inc. ) gives expert video advice on: What is the first thing I should do if I think my parent is no longer capable of living alone?; What should I consider before taking on the role of home care giver for my parent?; What should I consider before having my parent move in with me? and more...
What is the first thing I should do if I think my parent is no longer capable of living alone?
The first thing you need to do if you feel that your older parent is not able to live alone is to get a professional like a geriatric care manager or a case manager from a community centre to come and do an evaluation. That evaluation should look at a multi-disciplinary group of issues that an older adult may have. So the first thing we'll do is look at the home and ask and find out exactly what the older adult wants, if they want to remain in the home or they want to go into placement. If staying in the home is the option, they will look at their functional level, they'll look at their psychological history, they'll look at their memory and cognitive issues, they'll look at their spirituality, they'll look at their social support system, they'll look at their finances, they'll look at the legal planning, and put together a plan based on all the issues that are involved, all the needs have come out plus all the obstacles that are there and all the different options that are available for somebody to stay in the home.
What should I consider before taking on the role of home care giver for my parent?
Before somebody considers taking on the role of a home care giver, it is extremely important to look at yourself and understand what your time is like, what your other obligations are like, how much time you really have to spend, how you get along that parent, do you enjoy being with them, do they enjoy being with you, what other sibling support you can get, what other financial support to hire some other paid care givers to help you out, and is there a church available to bring over volunteers? Look at the big picture of what this involves. This is not a simple task that has a yes or no answer. A maybe or sometimes answer is a much more appropriate answer to that kind of a task.
What should I consider before having my parent move in with me?
Having a parent move in with you is even a bigger task than deciding to be a caregiver for your parents because remember when the parent decides to move in with you, they may have given up their lifetime home. So there is a certain commitment available with that. So again, we have to look at, what are your responsibilities at home? Are you working out of the home? Are they able to stay alone when you are not there? Do you family members get along? What is this going to do and how is this going to impact your family? Does your spouse get along with your older parent? Do your children get along? Are they at the age when they can assist as well? Is this person actually going to be a support and a help to you? Sometimes that can happen as well. There are many, many different issues to involve. Oftentimes this decision is made because of finances. Is the bottom-line is the affordability. Keeping a parent alone in their home with full time care that they may need just is not a possibility for many families. So not to disrupt the adult children's family or most commonly the daughter is going over every single day and perhaps flying across the country and giving up jobs and whatnot to take care of their older parents. The best solution may be moving them into the children's home.
Will I need to make home renovations to care for my parent?
In terms of home renovations or modification, it is not uncommon to have to make some minor renovations into the home before somebody can move. Generally, the most common would be things like grab bars in the bathrooms and perhaps a ramp for the wheelchair. More extensive renovations like getting the shower built so they can get a wheelchair in there, getting elevators to go up to a second floor bedroom, can be much more complicated and then that would depend on the individual case.
What is a professional mediator?
With a professional mediator, often times they're trained. Many times they are professional marriage family therapists or attorneys that work with families around, generally, its financial issues. It can be conservatorship issues when there is lack of capacity, it can be estate issues after the death, or it can be issues where there is disagreement in the family on end of life issues, to work out a resolve that pleases people in the best way possible.
What happens when I can no longer provide the care my parent needs at home?
When you can no longer provide the care that they need and this can be for a couple of reasons. Truly most people go into nursing homes not because they're getting worse but because the care giver is burning out. Those are the times to look for options and again depending on family support, sometimes that moving into an assistant living or a nursing home with the family that has the energy to visit and be caring is a better option than being in the home.
What is the Sandwich Generation?
The "Sandwich Generation" are those people that are not only taking care of their older adult parents, but they also have dependent children that they're taking care of and responsible for as well. We now have those people of the "Sandwich Generation" that are also working full time and they may be taking care of their own health issues, fears of retirement, and other important life factors. So those are the "Club Sandwich Generation", that I don't know that there's a word for that, but there will be because we're seeing that more and more.
What are the biggest concerns for family caregivers?
The biggest concerns for family caregivers is burnout. I think they get stressed. In a huge study that was done last year, seven out of ten, had at least one symptom of clinical depression. So they want to do the right thing, but they don't take care of themselves and the consequences are enormous on them. As I had mentioned, one in two spousal caregivers will die before the person they're taking care of.
What are elder care benefits?
Elder care benefits are those services that are allowed for people depending on their age. Sometimes it can be 55. Sometimes it can be 62 and sometimes it can be 65. Some of those are means tested. It depends on your finances, your savings and your income. Others have to do just because of the nature of being a certain age.
What if I can't afford home care services?
For the most indigent, the state will help you pay for those services through the Medical and Medicaid programs. If not, we look at alternative living, whether it be in assisted living or a skilled nursing again for the most indigent.
Is home care a safe option for a parent who has Alzheimer's?
Home care can be a very safe option for parent that has Alzheimer's, if you understand what the disease is and that people that have Alzheimer's, especially when they get to the moderate or late stages, really need 24 hours supervision.