Do My Aging Parents Need Help?
It’s a brand new year.
At Nurse Next Door, we tend to see an increase in calls inquiring about home care in the new year, when adult children visited their aging parents over the holidays and realized that they could really use some help around the house. We get it, it could be a hard conversation to have and tough decision to make.
Your parents have always been your heroes. They’ve saved you from boys pulling your pigtails at school, they’ve helped you find the perfect tux for prom, and even gave you advice when you needed help with your newborn baby. It’s hard then, to see the signs that your parents need help, because they were our rock, how is it that your parents may now need to rely on you? It’s quite a mental shift to adjust for both parties.
As our parents age, they require more support. As they require more support, a child is the first one to volunteer. After all, they raised you right? So as children of aging parents begin to support their parents, emotions run high. Aging parents either feel as though they are a burden, or their pride won’t allow their children to help. “I am your parent, you are my child” is a common response as children ask their parents to take their medications, or eat proper meals. So how do children of aging parents maintain a positive relationship while still ensuring the best care?
Sometimes it might lead to tension in your relationship and you may experience caregiver burnout—it’s all about finding the right balance.
Here are some common factors that you should keep an eye out to assess your senior loved one’s situation and determine whether they could use a little extra help around the house and learn how home care can help.
A house can sometimes indicate a need for care. If the fridge is empty, or groceries are spoiling, it may be an indication that they aren’t eating properly. If the house you used to grow up in used to be spotless, and now, the dust is settling in, this may be another tip-off. Sometimes it’s even something as simple as noticing that their medications haven’t been touched in a while, that shows they aren’t focused on their responsibilities.
Physical Tip Offs
Mom or Dad may have some obvious declines in physical movements that will highlight their need for care. If they aren’t going for walks as much anymore, they are shaky walking downstairs, if they get winded easily or if they used to play sports but no longer want to, these are signs that they may need support.
Often times, as parents age, they lose their confidence, and with that, they start to become depressed or reclusive. With the loss of confidence, they feel less adventurous to drive long distances, walk through their favorite park, or in some cases, travel. When you notice your aging parents slowing down on the activities they used to love doing, avoiding leaving their homes, or communicating less, this may be a sign that you need someone to step in to assess the situation.
The happiness and health of a loved one is the most important thing for anyone caring for them, and therefore the earlier the signs are noticed, the better. If you’re starting to consider care options for a loved one, see here for tips on how to discuss with your siblings and bring it up with Mom and Dad.
How Can Home Care Help My Loved One?
So you’ve determined that Mom or Dad could need a bit of help. Perhaps they aren’t at the stage yet to be considered to move into an assisted living facility, but you would like to see them to be healthy, happy and safe at home. This is where a home care provider can step in to supplement care!
Take Nurse Next Door home care services for example, we generally recommend a 3×3 structure of care. This means a minimum of 3 hours a day, 3 days a week. This allows for more consistent touchpoints for the senior and caregiver, building rapport and also optimizing for the senior’s physical and mental well-being. What exactly does home care entail?
1. Help Around the House and Meal Prep
It might be getting a bit more strenuous or challenging for Mom or Dad to vacuum the entire house, mow the lawn or tend to the garden. You also don’t want to be stressing about it when you visit. Instead of quality time with your parents, you might be cleaning up the place for them, which may cause tension as well.
Nurse Next Door’s caregivers can provide light house-keeping around the house.
This allows you to relax and get back to being a daughter or son when you see your parents, instead of being the primary caregiver.
Nurse Next Door Waukesha’s owner Bobbi Buss and Caregiver Kylie were featured on The Morning Blend to talk about the benefits of home care*, check it out:
*Note: Depending on state or provincial requirements, Nurse Next Door may offer skilled and/or non-skilled nursing services. Please contact us for further information on what services we can provide in your area.
2. Companionship and Socialization
Sometimes Mom or Dad might have optimal health, but having an empty nest and being alone at home for long periods of time can be isolating. Caregivers can come in and provide quality companionship!
Nurse Next Door is proud of our trademarked Happier Aging philosophy and always aim for the Perfect Match. At our initial consultation, we speak to you and/or your senior loved one to learn more about them, their likes and dislikes, what their hobbies are and what are some things they used to enjoy doing but no longer do (perhaps due to health, mobility etc) and try to bring that back to every visit, because we celebrate aging! Perfect Match means that we will do our best to find a caregiver that perhaps share similar interests, speak the same language etc that would be the best, compatible match for Mom or Dad! We also build a roster of a Care Team, so if the primary caregiver is unavailable, it will still be a friendly face visiting.
One of our Care Team members sharing share her favorite client stories:
We want to get Mom or Dad back to doing what they love, because we’re all about celebrating aging.
Our services also include transportation and accompaniment, so whether it’s a doctor’s visit, going to the community center for a recreational class or to go out and catch up with old friends, we can support with it getting Mom or Dad the socialization they need more regularly!
The benefits of seniors socialization include:
- Reduced risk of depression.
- Lessened anxiety.
- Reduced stress (improved cardiovascular health and immune system)
- More fitness (the more social you are, the more likely you’re going to exercise regularly)
- Greater self-esteem and maintenance of self-esteem and sense of self-worth.
3. Health Monitoring
You might live on the other side of the country from your aging parents and you might only hear their voice on the phone when you call. Having a caregiver means consistent visits throughout the week can give you peace of mind to know that someone is regularly checking in on them. Caregivers will be able to check if Mom or Dad are taking their medications on time and notice if there are any changes in their health and contact you if something seems off. This is good for day to day health and wellness maintenance and prevention of risks. For example, fall prevention is an important issue that can be addressed by home care.
What home care companies offer can range from non-skilled care to medical/skilled care, which may differ across state requirements. Non-skilled care is what typical home care services cover, which supports the majority of Activities of Daily Life (ADLs). If Mom or Dad needs extra medical attention or care, dependent on the company/location, medical/skilled care can be provided. The home care company will work with your medical team to ensure your loved one is receiving the medical support so they can stay home comfortably.
For example, Mr. & Mrs. Klein have lived in the same home for the last 20 years. They’ve managed on their own quite well, but a few months ago, Mr. Klein had a fall. Mrs. Klein had to take over more of the daily chores, and the couple gave up their regular walks to the park as they were afraid Mr. Klein might fall again.
Enter Caregiver Linda. Linda is one of our amazing Caregivers at Nurse Next Door. She visits three times a week and takes care of the laundry, cleaning and other household chores. She also handles the grocery shopping before taking the couple on a walk together. She’s able to give Mr. Klein a little added support while walking, and this has given Mrs. Klein peace of mind.
Ultimately, home care is to keep Mom and Dad out of the hospital and allow them to age happily, healthily and safely in the comfort of their own home. Let us do the caring so you can focus on being a daughter/son and spend quality time with your aging parents when you visit them.
See here the entire list of Nurse Next Door’s home care services.