Posted on September 2, 2015
Many ‘adult children’ are faced with when to start the process of hiring a caregiver for their parents or looking at other senior care options. Often, older adults become very adept at concealing their increasing inability to maintain their surroundings and to attend to their health.
Here a some warning signs that your parent(s) may need senior care assistance:
- Unkempt refrigerator with food that is spoiling
- Weight loss or poor diet
- Frequent and often unexplained bruising
- Noticeable unpleasant body odor and decline in grooming habits
- Resistance to showering or bathing
- Smell of urine in the house
- Forgetting and/or missing important appointments
- Trouble walking, balance and overall mobility, including getting up from a seated position
- Difficulty performing once-familiar tasks, either due to confusion or forgetfulness.
- Overall forgetfulness or confusion
- Continuous loss/misplacement of items in the home
- Unable to stick to medication schedule, either forgetting or doubling up by accident.
- Dirty, cluttered, unkempt environment
- Unopened mail that contains, bounced check notices, late notices or attempts to collect via bill collectors
- Less of interest in hobbies and activities previously enjoyed
- Less interest in socializing with friends or family
- Noticeable changes in mood or extreme mood swings
Not all of these signs will show up at one time.
If you notice that your parent is experiencing an increase in the above warning signs, it is time for the talk. This is an uncomfortable conversation for both of you. Try to be calm and use the above list to cite specific reasons for your concern in a non-accusatory tone. It is only natural for a parent to become defensive and it will go much better if you are able to make every attempt to reassure them that this in no criticism but loving concern. A good approach in this situation is to remember and remind them that you are in this together, and the conversation is a two-way street.
If your parent is unwilling to concede that they may need help, it may be fear of losing their independence and having to transition to a new environment such as a nursing home or assisted living facility. It could also be fear of spending money. Outliving one’s resources, is a very common fear. Instead of deflecting these fears, this may be a good time to discuss all of the options available and take note of what their true wishes are and how you might be able to accommodate now and in the future.
Many seniors wish to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. Home care, offers one-on-one personal care assistance, allowing them to remain in their home and community. The benefit of home care is that as their needs increase, the level of coverage can increase, so to start, coverage and costs associated can be relatively small. Home care can provide the appropriate level of care and support as a seniors’ needs change. A reputable home care agency will provide a care plan and on-going case management to address changes and concerns.
Once a plan is made, then there will be the discussion on how to pay for it. Most long-term care, whether in a facility or at home is paid out of pocket. There are a few avenues or revenue to explore:
Long–term care insurance – helps cover the cost of home care or care at a facility. Most policies require at least the need for assistance with 2 activities of daily living. It can cover much of the cost of home care – depending on the policy terms.
VA Aid & Attendance Benefit – If your loved one served in the U.S. military, financial assistance might be available to provide a veteran with home care. There is also a need to demonstrate the need for assistance with at least 2 activities of daily living, as with long-term care insurance. We recommend taking a look at VeteranAid.Org for details.
State and local programs – Your local Department of Aging or Area Agency on Aging should have information on any local and state-funded programs that offer care for seniors who meet certain criteria. This care can be limited, but may provide enough coverage to keep them safely at home
Viatical Life Settlements – If your loved one has a life insurance policy, there are companies that offer insurance owners the option to sell their policies in exchange for a lump sum payment that is greater than the cash surrender value.
Government funding – Medicaid programs in most states support home care services as an alternative to nursing homes for low-income seniors.
All in all, if you find your parent or loved may soon be in need of additional care, now is the time to act. Discussing the options for care and how to pay for it is preferable before a crisis. Let us know if we can be of any further assistance.
Submitted by Gabriela Brown, CSA
Constant Companions Home Care