Preparing for 24/7 in Home Senior Care
Coming to the decision that your loved one needs constant supervision isn’t easy. Once you and your family have made that choice, though, and decided to go ahead with finding appropriate assistance for an elderly loved one living at home, then you’re going to have some preparations to make. Choosing 24/7 in home senior care can be an excellent way to keep someone in their own home. That’s a priority for many families because the upheaval of moving is too much change for their loved one. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’ll be a completely painless transition.
There are certain things you can do to ensure 24/7 in home senior care gets off on the right foot, and we’re going to list some of them here. Our list is by no means exhaustive, and you should be able to consult with your 24/7 in home senior care provider for suggestions specific to your family’s situation.
Get the house in order.
When you’re committed to helping your elderly loved one age in place, you need to make sure that place is safe. Many providers of assistance for the elderly living at home recommend these sorts of fixes well before your loved one has a need for 24/7 in home senior care, but if those haven’t been addressed, there’s no time like the present.
Alternatively, you might have done a safety check on your loved one’s house some time ago. It’s still a good idea to go back through and make sure any new needs have been addressed before a 24/7 in home senior care service starts. Take it as an opportunity to make sure everything, including the household safety features, are in order.
Here, we’ll go over just a few areas you’ll want to check while preparing for assistance for an elderly loved one living at home.
For example, make sure area rugs are secure and not slippery. Clear as much clutter from the ground as possible. If there are any loose wires from the television or other electronics, then secure them and get them out of the way. Another way to avoid tripping hazards is by making sure there is adequate lighting everywhere so your loved one can see where they’re going. Nightlights might be a game-changer.
Inspect the bathroom.
The bathroom is often a potentially dangerous place for seniors. Making sure grab bars are sturdy and available in the right places is an important step. You can also look into having the bathroom remodeled to include more accessible features, like a shower seat or a walk-in tub. If a loved one needs assistance for the elderly living at home, then they need a bathroom that’s safe for them.
Keep it to one level.
Some of the other main changes you can make are all about making sure the essentials are easily accessible. If your loved one’s home has multiple levels and stairs are getting difficult, try to move necessary things to the main floor. If laundry is in the basement, or their bedroom is on the second floor, consider reallocating the space, if possible.
We’ll discuss the differences in need between live-in assistance for an elderly loved one living at home and rotating caregivers, but for now, just know that if you opt for the former, there will be more specific requirements for the home environment. We’ve also barely scratched the surface where these safety concerns come from, and the exact things to be worried about are going to depend a lot on the specific needs of your loved one. So, make sure to check with them to see if there’s anything about their home that’s particularly difficult or daunting. You should also always consult with their doctor to get a professional’s opinion on what the best way to help them is.
Have a conversation with your loved one.
For some people, this is the most difficult item on our list. It can be incredibly hard to broach the subject of 24/7 in home senior care with someone who doesn’t see the need or doesn’t want to give up their independence. All the same, it needs to happen. Consult with their doctor on what to say, and if you’re going through an agency for assistance for the elderly living at home, they might also have suggestions on how to guide the conversation.
No matter how you choose to go about it, you should make sure to listen to any concerns your loved one brings up. They might bring up important things to look for in a best-fit caregiver. They will also likely be less resistant if they feel like you’re truly listening to their opinions.
If you need help initiating a conversation about 24/7 in home senior care with your family or with your elderly loved one, you might want to look into hiring the services of a geriatric care manager. These professionals are experts in the field and are skilled at facilitating those discussions from an outside perspective — your sister might have a decades-long grudge against you and therefore be biased when it comes to your suggestions, for example. A geriatcric care manager comes into the conversation without any of those preexisting concerns. We’ve already written about the benefits of hiring a senior care manager here, if you’d like to read more about the topic.
Find the best fit.
Inviting a stranger into your loved one’s home isn’t going to be a decision anybody takes lightly. Everyone involved will want to make sure that all caregivers involved are going to be well suited to your loved one’s specific needs. Matching the right caregivers with the right clients is one of the main goals of an agency.
If you’ve already discussed the prospect of 24/7 in home senior care with your loved one and gotten their perspective, then you'll have a good idea of what they’re looking for in a caregiver. The conversations you’ve had with the rest of your family (and potentially a senior care manager, if they’re involved) should also inform your decision. Some caregivers are great at what they do, but they’re a poor personality fit for certain clients. That’s why you might need to try out a few before one sticks.
Of course, with 24/7 in home senior care, you’re likely to be dealing with several different caregivers. That introduces a bit of complexity to the decision, but it’s still a good option for assistance for an elderly loved one living at home.
Decide between a live-in caregiver and multiple shift workers.
Some 24/7 in home senior care services entail one person living with your elderly loved one. As we mentioned in a previous section, getting your home ready for this kind of a situation is a little bit different and potentially more involved. You’ll need to make sure that person has their own bedroom.
Other forms of 24/7 in home senior care include more caregivers taking different shifts. The main appeal of this approach is that there’s always someone awake and alert, ready to help their client in the event of a nighttime mishap. Live-in caregivers are required to have an 8-hour break for sleeping.
If you’re already set on 24/7 in home senior care, then these are your two options. But if you’re open to other types of assistance for the elderly living at home, then there’s a wide variety of services that might be a good fit for your loved one. There’s also always the possibility of a residential facility. Just make sure you’re thinking about all of your options before you commit to one.
Be proactive in case of changes.
Life happens. A scheduled caregiver might need to take a day off for one reason or another, or some other unforeseen problem could crop up, meaning your careful preparations might be thrown off if you don’t have contingency plans. Keeping 24/7 in home senior care as smooth and seamless as possible is a big part of your job as a coordinator.
It can be helpful to make lists to keep in the house — that way, there’s a resource available for new people coming into the situation. You might want to jot down some of your loved one’s favorite foods, topics of conversation (or alternatively, things to avoid), or activities, along with other special considerations everyone on the care team needs to know about. Keeping those notes somewhere readily accessible can help close any gaps in care.
Make sure you’re aware of how a scheduling change is going to be handled. If you’re going through an agency, a replacement will likely be assigned for the interim, but if you’re using independent caregivers, you might be on the hook for covering the gap or finding a replacement. Once you know how any potential future issues with the 24/7 in home senior care services are going to be addressed, make sure that’s communicated properly to all stakeholders, including the loved one receiving the care.
Make plans for payment.
We’ve put this one last on our list, but it should probably be the first one you think about. If you foresee the need for assistance for an elderly loved one living at home in your future, then you should start planning for the financials of that situation as early as possible.
Those who start planning far enough ahead of time might be able to take advantage of long-term care insurance. Regular health insurance and Medicare is not going to cover the cost of certain assistance for the elderly living at home, like personal care services. Long-term care insurance, however, is made for that kind of thing. It will afford you more options for at-home care.
Securing funding is important because 24/7 in home senior care is not going to come cheap. That’s a lot of hours. Assistance for an elderly family member living at home can drain savings and retirement accounts fairly quickly, and the worst case scenario would be a gap in care because of a lack of payment.
Don’t jump into 24/7 in home senior care without making sure it’s financially feasible. Your loved one might not need round-the-clock care right away, or they might only need it for a short period of time during recovery from a fall or procedure. Other, less time-intensive forms of assistance for the elderly living at home are going to be significantly more affordable. Of course, that also means they’ll be less of a help to your loved one. Survey your options and make the choice that makes the most sense for your family.
Now, start preparing for 24/7 in home senior care.
We’ve given you a great list of places to start when it comes to preparing for 24/7 in home senior care, or really any kind of assistance for an elderly loved one living at home. You’ll want to inspect your loved one’s home carefully for any safety hazards, make sure everyone’s on the same page, and try to find the best way to meet their needs. That good fit is imperative. Then, you’ll also want to plan ahead for any changes to that plan, as well as making sure the cost of the care is covered. Rely on your loved one’s doctor, their care team, and any other professionals you decide to bring into the discussion.
At the end of the day, these suggestions are barely scratching the surface when it comes to making sure you’re securing the right assistance for your elderly loved one living at home. You’ll likely uncover a lot more steps specific to your situation as you dive deeper into the process.
If you need a place to start looking for assistance for an elderly person living at home, consider us here at Seniors Home Care. We offer a variety of services to meet each senior where their needs are. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to have a conversation about the best fit for your loved one.
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