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.