We at North Oakland Caregivers have been providing senior home care for 26 years, and during this time we have seen a lot of difficult situations families went through when time had come for them to decide how to care for their loved one. However, we know that many of those situations could have been avoided if the families knew what to expect. Here we describe 3 common mistakes we see over and over in our practice and suggest ideas how to avoid them.
#1 Siblings disagree
This afflicts at least 50% of our cases. When one sibling makes a unilateral decision with regards to their mom or dad’s home care, the rest often cannot agree and gain a consensus on how, when or where mom or dad should be taken care of. This becomes a classic case of “paralysis by analysis” – meaning nothing gets decided or important decisions get delayed. The person who suffers most in this situation is the very person who the family wanted to help – not only their care is being delayed, they also often feel guilty and upset believing they were the cause for siblings’ disagreement.
Solution: Involve everyone in the discussion before making any further steps. When everyone starts together, there is more free will and openness allowed in the discussion, and it’s easier to get the whole family on the same page. This will make the senior home care experience for your mom or dad comforting, not upsetting.
#2 Mom or dad don’t want a “stranger” in the house
This is the most common reason the families decide NOT to get senior home care for their elderly member. Not because the family does not want it – they want and need care, and everyone is on board. Except mom or dad. They are hesitant about letting someone into their house that they don’t know. They don’t understand how it will all work. They simply do not want to change anything. This is understandable.
Solution: Small steps are always less intimidating. Start the process of getting help for your loved one by starting early and on a limited basis if possible. North Oakland Caregivers starts out each case with a “Meet and Greet” with the family, the caregiver and a member of our management team, in the client’s home. This has been a great way for clients to start the process of familiarity. We often recommend, where possible, that a caregiver start out 1 or 2 days a week, so the client can gain a comfort level before more days need to be added. When this process is followed, inevitably the client ends up looking forward to each and every visit, and adding more days or hours becomes seamless.
#3 Family delays asking for help until an “event” occurs
This is a common mistake because it is very hard to see small changes as your loved one’s health starts to give. Still, simply having a heightened awareness of how your loved one is feeling, moving, or tending to activities of daily living may go a long way. You may notice a diminished ability or difficulties in accomplishing what used to be commonly performed tasks. Moreover, you may see forgetfulness. It may seem just an odd situation to you at the time.
Solution: Don’t wait until you have to face a much more serious accident. Make a phone call to discuss your situation. We at North Oakland Caregivers understand you are facing an unfamiliar issue, and you do not need to go through it alone. We offer an informative meeting to help you become aware of many available options and always strive to find a solution for your specific situation. The key is to come up with an early plan to provide care, so that everyone stays ahead of any and all possibilities.
Many families are entering the New Year with resolutions on their mind. It just seems easier to create a new habit, make a big change for the better, reinvent yourself at the beginning of a new year! So many people will use January as an inspiration to start something significant, something that will make a lasting impact on their lives. But this may also be the right time to make a lasting impact on the life of your elderly family member. We mean making a step towards planning for the future of your older mom or dad who may need assistance in their activities of daily living.
The idea may feel daunting at the beginning, like many changes do. We know some seniors may not be immediately open to the idea of having a caregiver coming into their home to help them. Great long-term benefits can be overshadowed by a perceived fear of loss of independence or a temporary anxiety of having a “stranger” in the house. Seniors can respond with resistance in many different ways. Frankly, family members might have their own concerns about how this new arrangement might work.
We understand. Every change requires an adjustment. Our experience has shown that slowly easing into this new “caregiver” scenario is often all it takes to relieve the concerns of starting a home care routine for your senior loved one. Maybe having a caregiver come into their home once or twice a week just to give them an idea of what it’s all about might help alleviate their anxiety. Maybe one 8 hour day a week will do the trick. Maybe 4 hours a day, 2-3 days a week will help set a comfort level. The key is starting small and adjusting to what the future needs will be.
Having a senior home care provider that is flexible enough to allow time to find the perfect routine for your senior loved one is a great solution. North Oakland Caregivers at Clarkston, MI, has been doing it for 26 years. We are waiting for your call. Are you ready to make the first step towards the New Year’s resolution that will make a lasting impact on the future of your family?
National Health Education week will be officially celebrated third week of October, and we are jumping at the opportunity to contribute! Our expertise lies in the area of senior home care, so, it is only fitting that we will focus on helping you be knowledgeable in the area of healthy aging.
So, what can you do OR what can you do for your senior family member or friend to make aging as healthy as possible? In addition to your physician’s recommendations* related to your specific situation ask yourself “Am I being mindful of these 5 things?”:
- Keep mentally and physically active: Remember the old saying “use it or lose it”! Simple things like regular reading, doing puzzles or playing games help keep the mind working. Likewise, regular physical activity to increase flexibility, strength and stamina are an invaluable bonus – it’s proven to help you live a longer and better quality life.
- Eat healthy foods: A strong connection between a healthy diet and a healthy body has been established long ago. While every person has their own dietary needs, there are some established heroes like vegetables and omega-3 fats that among other benefits help you keep your heart healthy and reduce inflammation. So, keep a list of your favorite dishes that include lots of veggies, fish and olive oil handy and use it often.
- Establish a healthy sleep pattern: Sleep has more health benefits than most people realize. Lack of sleep can cause depression, irritability, increased fall risk, and memory problems. Make sure you go to bed at the same time to help your body switch to a rest mode easier. Take a walk after dinner and avoid watching TV if you want to fall asleep faster.
- Reduce Stress: It is estimated that more than 90% of illness is either caused or complicated by stress. Long-term stress can damage brain cells and lead to depression. Stress may also cause memory loss, fatigue, and decreased ability to fight off and recover from infection. So, make sure you listen to your body and slow down if needed, take a minute or two to breathe deeply, find time in your day to meditate.
- Interact with others! Studies consistently show that individuals with the highest level of involvement in social relationships are more likely to live longer. But what if you find yourself in a socially limited situation? This is an area where North Oakland Caregivers has been helping seniors in their home OR residing in nursing homes via companionship. Our caregivers provide support by visiting, taking you to a movie or just staying in and having a friendly conversation.
These are just a few of the many things that may only take a SHORT part of the day, but may enhance your chances for a LONG healthy aging future. Why not start incorporating them into your routine?
* Always check with your physician before changing anything in your diet or activities of daily living or lifestyle.