You may have begun to wonder if your older loved one needs professional elder home care. They often don’t answer the phone, even when you’re certain they’re home, and when they do, they seem confused. They miss medications and doctor’s appointments. They don’t seem to cook much anymore, and they leave dishes in the sink too long.

If you work or you don’t live with your loved one, you may not feel that it’s safe for them to spend too much time alone. And if you’re there most of the time, there may be limits to what you can do yourself. What will it be like to have people outside of the family inside your loved one’s home? How can you prepare?

There’s a lot you can do to make daily life safer and healthier for your loved one while you research elder home care options. Spring is a great time to start house cleaning and home renovations that will make it safe for your loved one to move around the house.

  1. Clear the way for your loved one to move. Ensure that there’s a 36-inch passage through all parts of the house. Both outside and inside doors should open all the way. Talk to your loved one about decluttering and discuss respectfully anything you think is ready to go.
  2. Help prevent falls. Secure rugs with non-slip pads or double-sided rug tape. Make sure all entryways, passages, rooms, and the garage are properly lighted. Make sure that all handrails are secure, and have second railings installed on the stairways. Have grab bars professionally installed near the toilet and in the shower or tub, install non-slip strips, and remove soap build-up frequently. Check out agencies in your area to see if there’s a fall prevention class, and talk to your loved one about taking them to it so that they can be more independent about ensuring their own safety. The Mayo Clinic provides simple tips to prevent falls as well.
  3. If cluttering has turned to hoarding, get professional help (also available at CarePlus). Hoarding is an illness that is not helped by throwing everything away.
  4. Prepare for emergencies. Place a lamp and a telephone near the bed. At least one window, as well as the door, in every room, should be easily reachable in case of fire.
  5. Do a reality check about driving. If your loved one still drives and you’re doubtful, talk about changes in their driving skills. Are they reluctant to drive at night or on the highway? Are they no longer comfortable making left turns? If a discussion or a doctor’s visit suggests that it’s getting time for them to give up driving, help them plan ahead. What transportation is available and which do they prefer? How will they get to each place they need to go?

Once you’ve done all you can, professional home care providers can help with daily chores. Consider home care. It allows your loved one to continue living the life they want in their own home and provides an additional source of emotional support.

  1. For an older loved one who is still ambulatory, a home care provider will make the meals, wash the dishes, tidy the house—removing obstacles and reducing the risks of falling—do laundry and other light house cleanings, remind your loved one when it’s time to take medications and drive them to appointments, grocery stores, and social activities.
  2. Some care providers can help your loved one with strength, stamina, and range of motion exercises that will help them stay stronger, longer.

Your loved one may need more advanced assisted living services and physical support to remain at home.

  1. Home care can include helping your loved one eat, as well as preparing the meal, helping them in and out of bed or lifting them to change position in bed, bathing and dressing them, and assisting with difficult issues like incontinence.
  2. Agencies like CarePlus, Inc. can expand all these services into 24-hour assistance. Staying overnight in your loved one’s home allows caregivers to respond to sundowning episodes and track changes in thinking or behavior.

Turning this work over to professionals actually gives your older loved one more dignity and clears the way for you and your loved one to focus on the personal relationship rather than practicalities.

CarePlus, Inc. has been providing excellent home-based elder home care services to Montgomery County and the surrounding area for the past 20 years. We take pride in the highly trained, trustworthy and compassionate caregivers who work with us. Contact us for more information!