When is it time to get additional help?
Your aging parent might find it difficult to admit he or she needs help (and you might, too, even if you know it’s necessary). With so many various types of care, though, your mom or dad can get the help she or he needs without sacrificing independence. Even if the time has come for full-time care from aides or medical providers, you and your parent can feel more prepared when you understand your available options and what might be best for your parent’s well-being. We want our parents to stay safe and healthy while also maintaining as much independence as possible. But, if your mom has trouble moving around her home, is it safe for her to stay there on her own? What if your dad’s symptoms of dementia are advancing to the point of extreme forgetfulness and erratic behaviors? It may be time to transition your parent to an assisted living facility or nursing home with more intensive care to keep him safe. We asked expert Sharon Roth Maguire, MS, RN, GNP-BC, and Chief Clinical Quality Officer at BrightStar Care®, an in-home care provider, to discuss the different types of senior care for those who aren’t sure what the best option is for their parents. Here are the warning signs that your aging parent shouldn’t be living without some type of care giving.
Levels of in-home care giving
In-home care giving is a broad category that encompasses many types of home health care, such as:
- Housekeeping/companions. Housekeepers or companions can help your parent with things like putting away groceries, cleaning floors, and making the beds, but won’t provide medical care. This type of care giving can help a parent with smaller tasks around the home if they have some issues with stamina or mobility.
- Part-time aide. Part-time aides come to your parent’s home a few times a week to help with tasks, like eating, grooming. Parents who don’t need round-the-clock care but can benefit from some extra hands through the week may prefer a part-time aide. Part-time aides do not complete medical tasks, like administering medications or giving injections.
- Full-time aide. In contrast, full-time aides are available in a parent’s home for most of the day and week. Maguire says, “the caregiver may be in the home Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., while the family caregiver is working,” for example. If your parent still lives at home with you, a full-time caregiver may help fill in the gaps when you’re at the office. Much like part-time aides, full-time aides generally help with physical activities, like cooking, cleaning, and grooming, rather than medical services.
- Live-in aide. This type of caregiving is usually for parents who live on their own and need round-the-clock personal care from an aide, like a parent with a physical disability, like cerebral palsy, or a mental disability, like Alzheimer’s. Live-in aides help with similar tasks as part-time and full-time aides, including cooking meals, transporting patients to doctor’s appointments, and helping patients move around the home without injuring themselves. This type of caregiving is especially beneficial when a parent lives alone or is by herself for most of the day, but doesn’t need around-the-clock medical care. However, Maguire points out that “there are specific regulations related to this type of care that need to be followed so that the paid caregiver has adequate break, leisure, and sleep times as well as their own sleeping space.”
- Visiting nurses. Unlike aides, visiting nurses can provide medical care for your parent. They typically are registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses (LPN), or licensed vocational nurses (LVN) who can administer drugs, check vital signs, dress wounds, and provide other medical services ordered by your parent’s physician.