While as parents we may be concerned with looking after our children at home, there is something that every person needs to consider. As we get older so do our parents and there will probably come a time when one or both of our parents cannot live unassisted.
Many people cannot afford to go to a retirement village/ residential care home or perhaps living in a retirement village is simply not appealing. An alternative option is to have your parents living with you but that can place quite a bit of strain on your family if any special care is needed.
As your parents get older their chances of getting ill and weak increase. You may find yourself taking care of your parent with Alzheimers, Parkinsons, Arthritis, Dementia, Cancer or any other type of illness. Dealing with all these problems on your own is not easy, especially if you are already responsible for young children.
When your parents get older the fact is that they become your responsibility and you need to plan for that. My parents love reminding me that they wiped my bum when I was a baby and one day I will be wiping theirs. Yes there is a funny side to that, but it is also quite serious.
Here are some tips for choosing a home care agency for your elderly parent:
Planning and Research
You may never need home care for your parents and they may never need to go into a retirement village. However you don’t want to land up in a crisis situation where your parents need to be cared for and you have never spent one moment considering any options for your parents. Making decisions of this magnitude takes time and you need to do proper research.
Just like you would spend a considerable amount of time researching and looking into playschools and schools for your children you will need to find out what options are available to help you care for your parents if you find that you need to care for them.
This will take so much stress away when and if the time does come. It will make the change so much smoother and it will be easier for everyone to adapt.
Involve Your Parents
Talk to your parents about what they want and find out how they feel about home care. Involving your parents is so important. You may feel that it is your decision only since you will be taking the responsibility for your parents, but your parents should have a chance to give their input.
If your parents feel more in control it will be so much easier for them to accept what is happening and adapt to their new circumstances. Talking to your parents will also give you a better idea of the level of care they require.
Research Home Care Agencies
Find out what home care agencies are available in your area and start comparing them for price, service and the types of care that they offer. Have a look at their websites, search online for any reviews or more information. Find out what their accreditations are and if they have won any awards.
Call the agencies and ask questions to see how well they respond to your questions. Are they responsive and helpful on the phone? Remember you may want to speak to the care team to discuss how well your parents are doing in the future, you will need to know that they will be caring and open to discussion.
If you are interested in a home care agency make an appointment to go and meet the team so that you can get a feel for the agency and see if you are comfortable entrusting your parents care to them.
Evaluate The Type and Level Of Care Needed
Custodial care refers to help with day to day things like cooking, household chores, dressing and bathing. Skilled care is when medical assistance and care is needed. If your parent is dealing with a long term illness or recovering from surgery you will need to arrange skilled care.
While researching your home care agencies be sure to ask whether home carers receive specialist training and whether their carers receive competency tests. It is also important to find out whether carers receive support from the agency and if they have regular supervision.
Financial and Insurance Concerns
Finding out how much home care costs and whether your insurance will cover part or all of these costs will of course plan an important role in what type of care you can arrange. Find out from your parents if they have made any provisions for their old age and whether they have any policies that will cover home care costs.
As mentioned in the beginning of this article planning is very important and since you will be responsible for your parents in their old age it would be a good idea to ensure early on that you have accommodated for any possible elderly dependents.
I hope you have found these tips helpful if you have any questions or would like to discuss anything to do with home care please leave a comment.
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Also published on Medium.