When the Time Comes for Home Care: Five Things to Know
You've had hip replacement surgery and need help around the house during your six-week recovery period. Or maybe arthritis makes it hard to vacuum or descend the basement stairs to do laundry. Or perhaps you are dealing with memory loss and no longer trust yourself to drive. For any number of reasons, the time often comes when older adults realize they need a little more help in managing daily activities. It's time to enlist the help of professional in-home care.
You may have some reservations about asking for help or allowing a stranger into your home. These are common concerns when a family first considers in-home care. Here are some things to know that can make it more comfortable to accept this help in living your life to the fullest:
1. Helping you is the caregiver's job. Many of us find it hard to ask people for help. But in-home caregivers are professionals. When you allow a caregiver to help you, you're contributing to a career for that person. It's important to select an agency whose caregivers are not only screened, trained and bonded, but also selected because they love what they do: providing care and improving the quality of life of clients.
2. You'll be more independent. While at first it may seem that allowing a stranger into your home will lessen your independence, most often the opposite is true. Struggling with activities of daily living that have become a challenge could cause you to become isolated and inactive. Without help, you might find yourself socializing less because you can't comfortably bathe or dress yourself. You might feel bad having to ask a friend or neighbor to drive you to a doctor appointment, your place of worship or the senior center. In-home caregivers can help with all of those things, giving you the freedom to accept an invitation to dinner or a movie without having to ask someone else to get you to where you want to go.
3. You'll have a reliable companion. Whether recovering from surgery or dealing with long-term disability, people who live at home can quickly feel "housebound." Isolation is a risk factor for depression, even leading to decreased lifespan. One of the greatest benefits of home care is often the most overlooked—the simple act of interacting with another human being. Having someone around with whom to share your thoughts and feelings can be a wonderful gift. Often, the relationship between caregiver and care receiver becomes meaningful for both parties.
4. You'll have more time to do the things you love. Home caregivers can help with everything from grocery shopping and meal preparation to light housekeeping and laundry. This gives you more time to spend doing what you love to do—whether that's reading, playing bridge, volunteer work or spending more time with your family and friends. You'll be able to focus more of your attention on what you enjoy rather than the struggle with day-to-day household and hygiene tasks.
5. You'll be safer and those who love you will sleep better at night. Professional in-home care can enhance your life in many ways: making your home safer, ensuring you're eating tasty and nutritious meals, providing supervision and confidence during exercise, supporting a successful recovery from an injury or surgery, or helping monitor for potential changes in your health conditions. But perhaps the best part of having a home caregiver is the peace of mind you'll be giving to yourself and the ones you love, knowing that you're being well taken care of.
For information on topics related to home care and healthcare, visit our Home Care and Healthcare Advocacy group on LinkedIn.