Allison’s mom needed help, everyone could see that. When the family talked to her about getting one of the professional home care agencies to come in she refused. She insisted on hiring a young man whom she had befriended at her church. At first it seemed to be an ideal match. But the lack of a proper background checks soon came back to haunt them. Late one night the police knocked on the door to inform the family that the young caregiver had been in a serious accident with multiple injuries and arrested for felony drunk driving.
Have you ever been to a hospital, perhaps as a patient or a family member, and felt overwhelmed, or lost in the vast complexities of the healthcare system? Anyone who first visits a hospital feels this way. Where is my doctor, nurse, or case manager? What are they doing? What’s going to happen? When are we getting out of here? Who’s in charge? Are they ignoring us? Do they even know we’re here?
As of January 1, 2016, California is now requiring all Senior Home Care Agencies to have a home care license, and all Senior Home Care Aides to be registered, fingerprinted, and TB tested. I know right? You mean it wasn’t before? Holy cow, anybody who simply called themselves caregivers, aides, or home care agencies were presenting themselves to this extremely vulnerable segment of our society as senior care professionals. The abuse and misconduct has been so widespread and rampant that the California legislature finally passed AB 1217 to address this issue and require licensure.
It was close to midnight when the phone rang. It was the ER at the local hospital calling to let her know that her mom was alright, but that she had taken a nasty fall. Mon had been living at home for a few years now after dad died, and none of the children were perpared to deal with senior home safety Apparently she got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and tripped over her favorite throw rug: a bear pelt that she and her husband had gotten on one of their vacations to the Yukon. Marilyn had always suspected that it was dangerous, and had read a little about senior safety at home, but mom wouldn't hear of getting rid of it, the memories were too precious to her.
Mom is no longer able to cook her meals and she needs help getting dressed every day. My friend told me she may have to go to a nursing home! I can't bear the thought of that! Do I have options?
This is a very common scenario. When elders begin requiring assistance, many well meaning friends or family members may recommend a nursing home. The truth is there are several levels of care to be considered based on your loved one's needs. Let's explore those options.
Louise and her husband lived in a mobile home park in the country. They moved there while still in their sixties, but now, in their early 80’s, found everything about their life difficult. Worse yet, her husband Bruce was becoming easily confused and agitated; so much so that the things he normally loved to do were simply being abandoned. Burdened with her own medical issues, Louise grew overwhelmed.
Ralph stops by to visit his dad on a pretty regular basis, about twice a month or so. He’s concerned since mom past away a couple of years ago, that his dad might need more help at home. He noticed the house isn’t quite as neat as it used to be, but he dismissed it as just a bachelor’s tendency to let things go a little without a woman in the house. But yet, dad seemed to be getting a little more lethargic as of late; sleeping in more, complaining about just not feeling to well. He even had a bad fall or two, but when Ralph tried to inquire more about it his dad dismissed it as “nothing”.
You stopped by to visit mom recently and suspected that something wasn't right. She’s been living alone for a while now. Dad died a few years ago but she seemed to bounce back from that pretty well. You stop in to visit from time to time, just to help out when, but she seems pretty independent most of the time. But lately something is different. You just can't get mom to eat right. You've noticed that breakfast is still on the table and it’s 4 in the afternoon. Her water glass is still full, and she’s still in her robe. She’s crabby, and complaining about things in a random way, not really making a lot of sense. These are all common signs of a loss of thirst and appetite that is common among many seniors.
You know mom or dad have gotten to the point that they need help at home. Your over their all the time and when you're not there, they're calling you asking for help. Now it's time to find someone that can help you, because you just can't do it all yourself. Here is a quick resource guide to help you make the right choice.
Do you wonder how to begin a conversation with your aging parent regarding a sensitive topic? Whether it's needing to speak about giving up driving, moving, or bringing help in, you can improve the odds of coming up with a solution by knowing which words to avoid, and which ones to use.