Realizing that a beloved family member or friend needs assistance with daily activities can be a tough pill to swallow. As the generation before us ages, we often find ourselves grappling with the uncomfortable truths of less mobility, more medication dependence, heightened loss of senses, and other joys of growing older ;) Thankfully, there are many types of senior care available throughout the Philadelphia area, to include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, in home care, adult day care, and more. Read our blog comparing the costs of different types of senior care. Which is most appropriate depends most heavily on the particular client in question, and the needs surrounding the situation. Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses has come up with a series of three questions to help families make a decision regarding whether to hire in home care or not. Let’s get started!
Can in home care help a beloved friend or family member?
The very first question to consider is whether in home care is the right type of service for the person in question. As mentioned above, various types of senior care exist, so families certainly have options. Different factors include:
- Does a loved one require help with daily tasks? When it becomes difficult for a parent or friend to wash clothing, cook meals, drive to appointments, practice proper hygiene, etc, it may indicate that they do not have the ability or the energy to adequately take care of themselves. Over the course of a few visits, take note of whether your loved one has groceries in the cupboard, is remembering to go to appointments or social functions, whether they have body odor, are their prescriptions current, etc. These can all be small clues - when considered with other information - that mean some type of senior care could be very helpful.
- The level of medical expertise necessary. For instance, is a Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Certified Nursing Aide (CNA), or Home Health Aide (HHA) required? Most people don’t know what those designations mean unless they have experience in healthcare, so learn about the distinctions by clicking here.
- Is decreased mental cognition a factor? In many cases of cognitive decline (such as Alzheimer’s or dementia), it can be helpful to keep a person in an environment that is familiar to them, such as the home they have raised their family or retired in. Familiar environments can be soothing and help a person to feel more in control of his/her life.
- Are family members nearby? This is a simple, but important, factor: who is around to help? It’s very common for families to be spread around the country, but one of the ramifications of that is that it can be difficult to know when help is necessary (and to subsequently provide that help).
- HOW much care do they need? Even IF family members are located in the same area as elderly relatives, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are equipped to become caregivers. Other demands like children, jobs, and extracurricular activities mean that time is scarce. If you’re in the “Sandwich Generation” and looking for resources, read our blog for tips.
While the questions above are merely a sample of considerations, there may be many other factors at play for each particular family. Whatever those considerations are, it’s important to decide whether in home care could be beneficial for a beloved family member. If so, it’s on to the next step...having the “the Talk!”
How to talk to your loved one about home care - especially if they are reluctant.
The discussion between adult children and their elderly parents regarding twilight-of-life decisions and desires can be just as difficult to initiate as the “birds and bees” discussion, but it’s just as important! And just like the stereotypical birds and bees discussion, this one later in life can also be awkward, full of bad assumptions, and potentially a source of tension. For starters, there is a role reversal, in which grown children are attempting to guide their parent/s through a difficult decision. Secondly, it can be awkward and uncomfortable to discuss someone’s increasingly limited abilities; in many instances, older family members may get defensive about their driving skills or ability to manage the tasks of a household. With this in mind, here are some tips to help families navigate a discussion about in home care and a changing lifestyle in general:
- Not everything has to get hammered out in one conversation! There is no pressure to have a long, emotionally fraught discussion where all answers are arrived at. Indeed, it’s probably good for expectation management that the discussion is begun and continued over the course of weeks or even months.
- When to start the discussion should depend on many factors: recent diagnoses that could impact future cognitive ability, family members moving out of the area, a death in the family, etc. Weighing all of these (as well as family dynamics) should help inform how and when to begin having “the Talk.”
So, what do you discuss when everyone finally gets on board? Here are some suggestions:
- Where to live. If an elderly loved one can no longer live unassisted, there are a lot of options to pursue. This article discusses the costs of different types of senior care, including in home care, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and more.
- Finances. Who is managing these? Should the family meet with a financial planner? What kind of care is needed versus affordable? Is a power of attorney appropriate? This is just a sampling of questions that should come up over the course of a few discussions.
- Health Issues. DON’T WAIT FOR A HEALTH CRISIS to have this discussion. Health issues can cover a broad range of topics, like senior care, driving ability, do-not-resuscitate plans, and even dating/companionship questions! There is literally no limit to topics, so think about which ones are relevant to your own family situation.
Your family has decided to hire in home care...how do you find the right senior care agency?
The relationship between a caregiver and a client is incredibly important. Consider some of the assistance your loved one may need help with: bathing, dressing, food preparation, medication reminders, toileting, movement around the house, etc. Now imagine having someone help with these tasks that is not competent, invested, or compassionate (or perhaps there is a personality conflict), and senior care might become a less-than-pleasant experience. One of the most important things to consider when hiring a home care agency in Philadelphia is what kind of client-caregiver matching process is used.
At Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses, all of our prospective client visits are accomplished by one of our Registered Nurses. After getting to know the family, patient, and environment (and filling out an initial Home Health Aide Care Plan), this member engages with our management and scheduling team to see who on the staff is best suited to the prospective client based on needs, personality, capability, and more. Think of it more like a personalized matching service than a round-hole, round-peg approach. And if ever there is a conflict, all it takes is a phone call to adjust!
Client testimonials about PAN’s in home care service for Philadelphia residents
As proud as we are of our staff, it’s better for you to learn what our current and previous clients have to say about the level of service we provide.
“I believe I told you before what a gem Amara has been. I just wanted to reiterate how lucky we were to have him looking after my father every night. My father connected to him, and at the end, he was the only one who could get my father to do the things he needed to do. Thank you very much for working out my father's care schedule so beautifully. It made the difficult part at the end much easier for my brother and me. We knew our father was safe." Susan
"Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses were a godsend for our family. They helped my Mother in getting to doctor's appointments, keeping her home clean, and keeping her well fed. The love and care they provided to my Mom was amazing and I'll never forget working with this great company." Denise
“I just wanted to write a letter of sheer appreciation for bringing Sherry into my Dad's life. She has been just extraordinary with everything she does for my dad, and I don't think Linda or I could function without her.” Marie