Thursday, August 23, 2012

7 Tips for Caring for a Loved One at Home

As your parents age, it is possible that despite any health issues, they will be able to remain in their home, so long as there is some kind of additional care in place for them. And it usually falls upon family members to provide that additional care. As the child or other relative of a family member who needs in-home health care, the prospect of providing what amounts to long-term care can seem overwhelming. Where do you even start? The following seven tips will help you and your family members formulate a plan for in-home care of a loved one. Note that if in-home health care is ordered by a doctor, Medicare and long-term care insurance can cover some of the costs. Visit Medicare’s website for more information.

  1. Talk to your loved one:

    This isn’t always the obvious first step when it comes to coordinating home care for a parent or other family member, but put yourself in their shoes, and you’ll probably agree that you would prefer to be talked to than talked about. A loved one may be concerned that they’ll become a burden to their family or that they’ll lose control of their day-to-day life. With this in mind, always encourage the person in need of care to voice their concerns; let them know they will be included in any decisions that need to be made regarding their home and health. Tips for this important family meeting are available on the website.

  2. Learn your loved one’s medical history:

    At this stage of your parent or loved one’s life, you may not be fully aware of his or her medical history and needs. Take time to speak to your loved one’s doctors so that you are fully aware of any existing medical conditions, recurring health issues, and prescribed medications. Know the side effects of any medications, and plan to address any sudden changes in your loved one’s condition that may result. And again, keep your loved one involved in these discussions, keeping an open mind, even if you both disagree with how to address a medical issue.

  3. Create a financial profile:

    Obtaining a loved one’s financial information may be awkward, but it’s crucial to have, especially as the loved one ages and their health needs continue to change. Have an up-to-date record of any income, including Social Security, pensions, and disbursements from investments. Create a “one sheet” that lists bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, credit cards, and any health and life insurance policies. You and your loved one may want to open up a joint checking account so that you can assist with bill payments.

  4. Consider outside help:

    One common mistake family members make when it comes to caring for a loved one is attempting to do everything by themselves. There’s only so much time in a day, and your schedule may not allow for the time needed to provide comprehensive, high-quality home care. To help with this, consider hiring a home health aide. Home health aides work for agencies that are regulated by state and federal laws, are generally supervised by a medical professional, and are paid through Medicare and Medicaid. Other options, depending upon the needs of your loved one, include in-home therapists, or a neighbor who can assist with simple domestic tasks.

  5. Install handrails and safety rails:

    Here’s a task that’s a bit easier than gathering medical and financial information. Install handrails along stairs and in bathrooms and safety rails in showers and tubs. As a person ages, day-to-day tasks can become physically challenging, and rails prevent accidents that may result. Consider other simple additions to your loved ones home that can help ensure their safety, such as bright lighting in hallways and basements and smoke and CO2 detectors installed throughout the home.

  6. Install phones with large number pads and digital clocks:

    Large number pads on phones, the television remote control, and thermostat are helpful to a loved one whose vision may be impaired or simply not as strong as it once was. Digital clocks, especially those with larger LED displays, are also helpful, since traditional three-hand clocks might become confusing to read over time.

  7. Plan a menu and schedule exercise:

    As your loved one ages, they may express less interest in eating. Medication and poor oral hygiene may be to blame, along with fatigue. Consider collaborating on the creation of a weekly menu that is well-balanced and includes food from all five food groups. If your loved one is recovering from a medical procedure or operation, consult with a doctor or nutritionist to determine which foods in what quantities are most helpful for a speedy recovery. In addition to maintaining a good diet, make sure your loved one is getting some kind of physical exercise.

Taken From Insurance Quotes

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