In-home care for elderly loved ones is can be a preferred choice when mental and physical health has declined to a point where caregivers are vital to health and safety. Moreover, preserving independence is as important to the family as it is to our loved ones. Every family has a unique structure and support system. When evaluating options for the care of our loved ones, we need to consider our family's dynamic, as well as our senior loved one's expectations. Making decisions as a cohesive family unit and including our senior family member is paramount when planning the future.
Our elderly family member may have already made plans for future care without family knowledge. Having a discussion with our senior loved one to discuss this is important. Everyone wants to do the right thing. That said, this is one of the most difficult conversations that will be had, for sure, because nothing about this is easy. Discussing Power of Attorney, knowing what your senior loved one wants, among other things, is an important part of the process. If your loved one lives far away, you may want to invite them to live with you or move closer to you. If an additional support system is required, including caregivers, do some research.
If tensions arise, consider bringing in a geriatric case manager, a lawyer, or a mediator, to mediate and ensure that all parties are amenable to the arrangements.
Assuming that your loved one is not incapacitated, he or she has the final decision as to where they choose to live. However, input from family members is also very important. Are there concerns about safety or a health issues that may eventually require skilled nursing care? Although it is impossible to predict the future, if your loved one has a chronic condition that will worsen over time, it is particularly necessary to consider how you mobility and health issues will be managed.
Even if family support is strong, our senior family member should be encouraged to be receptive to the idea of accepting outsourced help. Of course, this might not be an easy discussion, especially when our senior loved ones are fiercely independent. Many individuals have an initial feeling of “not wanting strangers in the house.” Caregivers, both familial and hired senior caregivers are wonderful. If we have a pool of resources to draw on, we can get through it together. One person can’t weather a storm of this magnitude alone, but between family members and caregivers, there’s a lot of support for each other and our loved ones.
Financial concerns are very real and must be considered. Preparing a budget that includes unforeseen expenses will assist you in weighing the pros and cons decision making. Alternate choices, such as assisted living can be quite costly. However, comprehensive in home care can quickly become expensive as well, particularly at higher levels of care.
It is natural to want to stay at home as one grows older. However, taking a look at the "big picture" can be invaluable when determining if in-home care over long term is truly the best choice.