Top 5 Resources for Advice on Aging Parents

Eventually, the decision to care for an elderly parent or guardian is one many find themselves making. However, this is not one that anyone should jump into. Shepherding older family members through their autumn years can be a stressful yet noble undertaking. Depending on their needs, personalized care develops from a multitude of issues: Suffering from chronic physical illness, mental disabilities that require someone around to help with daily tasks, or other emotional woes.

Simply having the luxury of daily human contact is something that brings joy to lives of the elderly. This can come in the form of a live-in health aide or senior companion.

Taking on the responsibilities of a live-in senior healthcare member will cause a shift from the everyday, but the rewards are bountiful. There are various milestones those making this leap should consider.

1. Learn About Medicare Options

One of the most important issues faced when assisting an elderly family member is whether or not their needs (medical testing, prescriptions, hiring a live-in nurse, etc.) can be covered by Medicare insurance.

If you are hiring an eldercare person to come into the home, make sure to perform a thorough background check into the agency in which they represent. Questions you need to ask: Is their employment covered and approved by Medicare? Are there going to be extra out of pocket charges? Is the service certified by the Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations? If so, how long have they been in business? Is care undertaken with input by the patient, doctor and family? Do they publicly announce their Patients Bill Of Rights?

If you are looking into a reputable agency, all of these answer will either be found on a company website or by chatting with one of their customer representatives. Also, researching sites like Care.com, Eldercare.gov and Elderkind.com will put browsers in touch with other satisfied patients or their caregivers. This type of investigation yields first-person testimonials, and will guide you through the process with spectacular results.

2. Look for an In-Home Caregiver

Searching for home caregivers, either live-in or ones who only visit daily, can be time consuming. However, it is a process that can be started easily both online or by requesting information from your elder family member’s doctor. Asking for referrals from a medical advisory team will assure trusted representatives, and people who truly care for what their duties are, will overlook the stability of loved ones. Discussing it with a family physician, geriatric specialist, or even the local hospital social services department should result in finding a quality home healthcare member.

3. How To Screen Home Health Aides

Home Healthcare Aides work with many different kinds of disabilities and medical issues. You want to be 100% certain the aide has trained in the issues afflicting your elderly family member. Agencies will have background information available, and many institutions will allow family members to interview the candidate beforehand.

Having more than one aide on stand-by is another option to consider, and is also something agencies keep in mind. One cannot be expected to work 7-Days a week. Sometimes, if you are around on weekends, the same aide will come on a Monday – Friday basis. Still, whether you go through an agency or find senior companions on your own  -  do a wide range background check, interview them, and have back-ups ready in case of a scheduling conflict or emergency.

4. Assisted Living – Right for You and Them?

On occasion, the issues an elderly loved one faces are too much to deal with while keeping them home. In-home care or a companion is typically more affordable (and much more personalized), but moving an aging parent into an assisted living home might be the best options. It involves a guarantee they will be cared for and monitored 24/7 by a large, well-trained staff.

5. Finding a Senior Companion On Your Own

As discussed above, you may want to find a senior companion on your own. Many do it this way, and it is recommended that a thorough check into the aide’s background and work experience is performed. References and multiple interviews are a must, so make sure this is something that does not have to happen immediately.

Once hired, you must inform the home care provider about existing injuries and illnesses, as well as indicating symptoms. Give detailed instructions and schedules for medication, and keep them abreast of possible behavioral problems.

No matter what ailments are affecting your elderly family member, have a serious discussion with them before bringing anyone else into the home. It is important, above all else, that they be kept involved in the decision making process.

This guest post was provided by Drexel University Online. Drexel began offering online courses in 1996, bringing its recognized nursing & medical faculty and curricula to a worldwide student body. The university offers bachelors and master degrees, as well as certificates, in nursing & health professions, ranging from family nurse practitioners to nursing leadership. Drexel also acts as a resource guide for those interested in the nursing field, providing salary guides and information for nursing careers.

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