Adult children are often unprepared when their parents’ health deteriorates to a point that it necessitates around-the-clock care. A lot of decisions need to be made, especially when it comes to safety. The most important thing to do is learn as much as possible about elderly care and apply that knowledge to comprehensive care.
Choosing the Right Type of Care
There is a range of senior care options, including light to moderate care. Patients who are capable to take care of themselves, but have some health or mobility issues, only require light to moderate care, as opposed to 24 hour care. Here’s some examples of short-term, or out-patient care options:
- Telephone service, which calls to determine if the patient is healthy, and taking their medications on time. This service can be used by family members, and sometimes combined with devices capable of altering emergency services if the patient has sustained an injury and needs help.
- Home health aides; companions; caregivers; respite care providers come to the patient’s home and assist with errands and chores. Sometimes, the duties are more intensive and can only be managed by a licensed caregiver or visiting nurse, such as patients who require assistance while bathing, or someone who requires a professional to administer medicine.
- Continuing care retirement communities are congregate homes, and assisted living communities and apartments or condos that are designed to better assist the elderly. Among other safety features, these facilities include ramps and bathrooms equipped with safety bars.
- Nursing homes provide full-time medical care, as well as provide assisted grooming. They’re basically responsible for all levels of care. Hospice provides a similar care, but is only for terminally ill patients.
Choose a Facility or Service That Welcomes Family
If it feels wrong; don’t do it. Not all home health aides and nursing homes are reputable. It’s important to seek out an establishment or service that is welcoming to your family. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Does the inpatient care facility welcome family members to see the patient at any time? (Within reason, of course. Most places would prefer that guests don’t bombard the elderly during their nighttime hours; typically after eleven pm).
- What is the individual or establishment’s reputation like? Ask for references if you can’t find your answer online.
- What is the staff like? Are they kind, outgoing, sincere? Or, cold, methodical, and disingenuous?
Know the Signs of Abuse and Neglect
It’s important to monitor your parent closely. Care providers have been known to inflict physical and/or emotion pain on the elderly. While most institutions offer true personalized care in a safe environment, others may have bad people in their employ and an unsafe environment. The following are warning signs that abuse or neglect is occurring:
- Change in parent’s behavior
- New bruises, skin discolorations, marks from restraints, injuries requiring hospitalization, etc.
- Malnutrition; rapid weight loss
- Frequent illness
- Bed sores
According to bedsorefaq.com, a comprehensive source for information on bed sore prevention, “Some facilities suggest that the development of bed sores is an inevitable part of the aging process, the overwhelming majority of circumstances behind the development of bed sores at a medical facility indicate that the facility was simply not doing an adequate job caring for the patient.”
Stay Close, and Love Your Parent
If you give your mom every opportunity to feel heard in the discussion about her care, she’ll feel closer to you – same goes for dad. If you create this level of openness, you’re almost guaranteed your parent will tell you if something isn’t right.