Care. It may be a small word, but one that encompasses many emotions and physical activities when it comes to care giving. Caring for an aging parent or spouse is demanding, both physically and emotionally. Family caregiver stress and burnout are all too common, and your health often deteriorates faster than the aging loved one for which you’re providing care. Aging adults want to maintain their independence and dignity so they won’t always ask for help until they’ve suffered a fall or had a hospital stay. A physician or social worker might recommend a home care or case management agency, but it’s not always easy to determine when it’s the right time, and which services are needed.
It might be time for in home care when your loved one:
- Stops preparing full meals, lives on TV dinners, or often says they just aren’t hungry.
- Lets their daily hygiene start to slip.
- Forgets to take medications or confuses medications.
- Doesn’t pay bills on time or forgets to deposit checks.
- Becomes fearful about driving or limits their driving (avoids busy streets or doesn’t drive after dark).
- Starts limiting contact with family and friends. Doesn’t engage with others in group situations.
It might be time you hire a home care or case management agency when you:
- Live too far away to reach your loved one quickly in an emergency.
- Lose time at work because of your family caregiver responsibilities.
- Put your own life ‘on hold.’
- Experience isolation, depression or just feel overwhelmed.
- Feel guilty and stressed, despite doing all that you can, like you’re not doing enough.
- Have difficulty lifting your loved one, or it’s causing physical pain.
When the time comes to bring in home care or case management services, make sure to research your options and interview more than one agency. Prepare questions ahead of time so you feel secure in your decision.