Deciding on when to start home care for a loved one can be a complicated task. Often time’s caregivers do not recognize some key signs that their loved one needs more intense one-on-one care, because they are overwhelmed with the stress of providing the day to day care. In fact, Caregiver Stress is one of the signs that it may be time to look into home care. Here are some of the other telltale signs that caregivers can look for in order to recognize when it is time for home care:

  1. Home Safety Issues: First and foremost, is your loved one safe in their home? If your answer is no, then a good place to start is to talk to your loved one about your concern for their safety and discuss options such as remaining home with the help of a home health aide, or nurse; or moving to an assisted or skilled nursing facility. Most elderly people wish to remain in their homes, so once you open the conversation about their home safety, this is a great time to discuss bringing in a home care agency to perform a home safety evaluation. A case manager or a nurse from the agency can come out to the home and assess any safety concerns and make recommendations for both equipment (such as elevated toilet seats or safety grab bars) and home health aides or skilled nurses
  2. Decline in Health:  Has your loved one recently been diagnosed with diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or another debilitation disease? If yes, they may be in need of the assistance from a home health aide or skilled nurse. The home health aide or nurse can assist with management of the disease; including assistance with activities of daily living, housekeeping, and compliance with new medication regime. A new or worsening diagnosis can be devastating for your loved one so early recognition of the need for a home caregiver can help to ease the stress associated with managing the disease.
  3. Changes in Behavior: Have you noticed that your loved one becomes very agitated at night (“Sundowner Syndrome”) or has a hard time getting out of bed in the am? If yes, in the case of Sundowner Syndrome, this may be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease, and your loved one would benefit greatly from having someone in their home in the evening to help diffuse their agitation and help them remain safe in the evenings. If your loved one has trouble getting going in the morning and you worry that they are not taking their medications or not eating properly, a home health could come in to help provide AM care such as: bathing, dressing, meal prep and medication reminders.  Having a home health aide or a nurse for a few hours in the am or pm can be a great compromise of allowing your loved one to remain in their homes, and ensuring their safety which can give you peace of mind.
  4. Caregiver Stress: As I mentioned earlier, caregiver stress can easily outweigh any of the above signs in terms of immediate need for home health care. Primary caregivers often feel very isolated and forget that help is available. If you or someone you know is experiencing signs of caregiver stress (changes in weight/ appetite/ sleep patterns, overwhelming anxiety, depression, irritability or difficulty concentrating due to worrying about your loved one all the time), it may be the perfect time to call a home health agency for help! (Please see our blog from 7/11/14 to learn more about Caregiver Stress).http://personalhealthcareblog.com/2014/07/11/ways-to-identify-and-relieve-caregiver-stress/

Please call Personal Health Care today (610-933-6130) to talk to our expert case managers about all of your homecare needs!