You and your elderly loved one have decided that it’s best for them to stay at home for as long as possible. The question is: what will that look like?
If you’ve arrived at this conclusion, it’s likely that you’ve already asked some important questions about what your loved one needs. So, it’s just a matter of stitching together the right kind of care that will keep them safe and content at home. This is when it is helpful to look at the variety of options available:
- They remain in their home, unassisted. It’s likely that this is not really an option, but many people consider it. Sure, it makes sense as long as your loved one is still very able-bodied and sound of mind. So, if you are a proactive family and you arehaving caregiving conversations before care is actually needed, that is fantastic. You can devise a plan for when the person may begin to need help and make a list of things that may indicate that need, like when they begin to show signs of being less steady on their feet, or when everyday tasks start to cause them undo stress, or if they show signs of depression or isolation, or if they are becoming more absent-minded, etc. This approach requires diligence on the part of both you and your loved one. Pay close attention, stay in close contact, check in regularly . . .
- An adult family member or friend moves into their home. This can be a great arrangement, provided the home is set up for it and clear roles are defined. Allowing an elderly loved one to remain in their most comfortable space with a person who is close to them can have ample benefits to their well-being, provided they are willing to share that space with the family caregiver and the caregiver has a clear understanding and commitment to their role (and can also be comfortable in the house).
- Your loved one moves in with a family member. Often, if it isn’t realistic for a loved one to stay in their home, moving in with a family member is the next best option. There, they can remain an active part of family life and the family can really have a hand in the level of care and comfort they receive.
- A live-in caregiver is hired. Often, a family member or friend is not available to provide live-in care to your loved one. Hiring a professional live-in caregiver can be ideal, in that they can give reliable consistent care and peace of mind to the family, while the loved one gets to stay at home and reap those benefits.
- A part-time caregiver is hired. Depending on the level of care needed and the resources the family has, it might make the most sense to hire a part-time caregiver. That way, the family can be active in providing care, but also ensure that the loved one’s needs are met without any one person becoming overextended or overworked.
- Meal delivery or prep is arranged. Hiring a meal delivery service or a personal chef to provide healthy meals to your loved one can remove a lot of stress and provide a huge benefit to their health. Ensuring that they are eating well and consistently, may be all that is needed for some, especially early in their retirement years.
These are just some of the more common options available for in-home care. Of course, some may make more sense than others for your loved one and some may work better at certain times than others. The point is to consider what might work and decide which option or combination of options are best for your loved one and their needs over time. You can and will likely need to adapt your plan, as circumstances change.