Is Home Care An Option?
- Can the person’s basic needs be met in the available space?
- The house must be large enough to accommodate things like a lift-chair, walker, wheelchair, bedside toilet, etc.
- All rooms should be on one level. Necessary modifications should be made in advance to ensure the space is safe and comfortable – (ramps at entryways, handrails, bathroom modifications, etc.
- Someone must be available and willing to give medications at appropriate times, prepare meals, assist with personal care, and provide transportation and companionship.
When should a family seek an alternative to home care?
- When the primary caregiver must maintain employment or otherwise be away from the house for many hours each day.
- If personal or family limitations are likely to prevent a positive shared living experience -(limited time for care giving chores, lack of financial resources, young children still at home, etc.).
- When a primary caregiver lacks the physical or emotional strength to manage care needs.
- If the physical layout of the home is unsuitable to meet the basic needs of the patient --(stairs, small doorways, unsuitable bathroom, etc).
- Most important, when the PWP simply prefers to live in a formal care facility rather than reside with family members.
Ten things no one tells you in advance
- Your freedom to “come and go” on short notice may be sacrificed.
- Care giving takes time and attention away from other family members who may act out in unanticipated ways.
- Children in your home may need to be quieter.
- Older children and teens sometimes become kinder, more thoughtful family members as a result of having an older relative in the home.
- You may feel obligated to use your personal funds to care for your loved one.
- On the other hand, caring for someone at home is much less expensive than the alternatives.
- Friends and family members can be critical or offer unwelcome advice.
- You will often be awakened during the night.
- Instead of feeling grateful, the person you care for may be unpleasant or resentful.
- Despite the burden of care giving, the relationship between you and your care recipient often becomes stronger over time.
Want to Learn More?
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Evaluating Assisted Living Facilities
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Caring and Coping
Caregiving content reviewed by: Susan Imke, RN, MS, Family Nurse Practitioner, Senior Health Solutions