Making the decision that your aging parent or loved one needs help is one of the most difficult decisions you will ever have, and it may even be met with resistance. Whether it is family or an outside service that will provide the care, you are making a wise decision.
So how do you recognize that your loved one needs help?
Here are some signs:
> Poor grooming, such as sloppy appearance or infrequent bathing.
> Difficulty with basic tasks, such as eating, dressing, walking, cooking and managing medications.
> Isolating by not maintaining outside friendships, interests or hobbies.
> An erratic attitude, such as being paranoid, acting extremely argumentative or abusing alcohol or drugs.
> Showing signs of dementia, inc-luding consistent memory lapses, confusion, loss of reasoning skills or difficulty answering questions.
> Dangerous health-risk indicators, including black-and-blue marks (falling), bed wetting (urinary incontinence), dehydration (complaints of being thirsty), weight loss or problems swallowing.
If you find yourself in the position of caring for a loved one, it is important to know that caregivers should access the many resources available to them. Caregivers need information about caregiving and hands-on help. The idea that taking on the responsibility for an ailing or aging parent means that the care-giving adult child does everything by themselves, while simultaneously continuing to meet the demands of their own lives and families, is unrealistic.
This is often shown to be destructive to the caregiver as well as impractical, leading to feelings of frustration, inadequacy and resentment.
Who will take responsibility for what tasks? Often the majority of the work is delegated to the family member who has the most available time. Caregivers placed in this position harbor resentment, which leads to the demise of family relationships, the most important support system the loved one needs.
In this situation, a compromise is usually the best course of action. Outside evaluations from physicians or case managers may also prove helpful in deciding on the best course of action.
Many loved ones would prefer to remain at home if the cost of care is not prohibitive, or if the care necessary does not exceed what can be provided. Many times a trained personal-care provider can provide the majority of care when skilled nursing is not needed. Families should know that there are many options available for assistance. These include in-home care, day care, family counseling and other services.
The best course of action is to have The family should take its time and weigh all of the options available.
Should your family choose to use outside assistance, remember you are asking someone to care for your loved one in the privacy of their own home; you should be considering more than price for the care of your loved one. Take the time to research the various in-home care agencies.
Shoshana Krupp is managing partner at Elite HomeCare Services. SCENEior focuses on the benefits and challenges of growing older.