Talking to Your Parents About Home Care
It can be difficult for seniors to ask for and accept help with basic tasks they used to have no trouble doing on their own. Many may not even realize they need help, whether out of denial, cognitive impairment, or the gradual nature of aging itself. For these reasons, the responsibility often falls on their children to broach the subject of home care. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to approach the discussion with compassion and tact.
Pointing Out Advantages
Above all, emphasize how a home care aide will improve your parent’s quality of life. With the help of an aide, a senior is less likely to experience serious injuries in and around the home. If cooking has become difficult, a home care aide can provide your parent with a varied menu of nutritious home-cooked meals. An assistant can also take care of exhausting chores, giving your parent the energy to pursue hobbies and personal interests.
It’s also important to explain that home care is very different from a nursing home or hospital. A home care aide will allow your parent to continue living independently in his or her own residence. Compared with other senior living arrangements, home care offers greater independence at a lower cost.
Explain exactly why you believe your parent should consider home care. This conversation can be used to perform an initial home care assessment. With your parent, create a checklist of “activities of daily living” — tasks that must be performed for adequate self care and independent living. Go over each activity with your parent to figure out which areas need attention. Explain exactly how a home care aide can make sure these tasks are completed properly.
As much as possible, be sure to let your parent make his or her own decisions about home care. Seniors without cognitive impairment are ultimately responsible for deciding whether home care is right for them along with the level of care they will receive. However, if your parent isn’t able to make these decisions, keep him or her informed throughout the process. Ask for your parent’s opinion every step of the way. Keeping a sense of autonomy will go a long way in promoting self-worth.
Regardless of your parent’s role in the decision-making process, his or her cooperation is vital for successful home care. Ironically, seniors who are most resistant to help often end up needing to transition to assisted living earlier on. While it can seem like an invasion of privacy, home care actually helps seniors stay independent longer. Point this out if your parent dismisses the idea of in-home care.
Addressing the Risks
Elderly and disabled individuals are at their most vulnerable during home care visits. In addition to being physically unable to defend themselves, many have communication barriers that make alerting loved ones or contacting authorities difficult. While the vast majority of home care aides are trustworthy professionals, theft and abuse can happen. Many seniors have been put off of the idea of home care by stories of unscrupulous aides passed on by friends and the media. If this makes your parent reluctant to work with an aide, then it’s important to discuss ways of making home care safer.
Home Care You Can Trust
Your parent would likely be more comfortable being cared for by someone he or she already trusts, such as a family member or close friend. Unfortunately, many who are willing to take care of a loved one cannot afford to take time off from work to do so. Fortunately, the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) provides Medicaid recipients in New York with a workable alternative to traditional home care. Instead of relying on a rotating team of strangers from a traditional home care agency, CDPAP allows patients to choose their own assistants.
Even if your parent is open to the idea of hiring a loved one as a CDPAP aide, he or she may still balk at the daunting task of enrolling in the program and managing a new “employee.” For these situations, we at Freedom Care are here to guide CDPAP participants through the application process and handle administrative tasks. If you or your parent would like to know more about CDPAP and our services, feel free to contact us today.