For the spouse or an adult child of an aging senior, facing the changes associated with their aging can be difficult. If you are beginning research in home care for seniors, you may come across the term “companion care” and have questions about what that includes.
At Help at Home, our home care services provide a wide range of interactions with our elderly clients. Typically, companion care refers to non-medical care that is related to homemaking services or social engagements instead of hands-on care related to medications or the activities of daily living.
Depending on the client’s need, companion care services might include light housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, grocery shopping, limited personal grooming (things like brushing hair or polishing fingernails, but not to include help with toileting or showering); companionship through cards or games, reminiscing, or watching TV; or accompanying them to doctor’s appointments or events.
Companionship care may be provided occasionally or as needed, such as giving relief to a family member who is the primary caregiver, or on a consistent schedule, such as sitting with a patient in a long term care facility or hospital.
There are no set packages or levels in companion care services. Together with the client and his or her family, we set up a plan for the care that is needed. That’s why our at-home assessment is important, so that we understand the care needed and also the senior’s personality so that we best match a caregiver.
If you have questions about companion care services, or would like to schedule a no-cost at-home consultation for home care services, please contact Help at Home at 941-388-3117. We serve Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, Lee and Collier Counties, serving Florida seniors and their families.
Although your parent is getting up there in age, you may still view them as vibrant, active, and able to care for themselves. Sure, they may have slowed down over the past few years and cut out a few of their hobbies or community involvements, but you haven’t had any red flags pop up that would be cause for alarm.
If you visit your parent at least once per week, you may not notice the slow deterioration process or subtle changes that are occurring in their life. As a result, you may be missing important warning signs that can cue you in on the fact that they are in need of extra assistance. Generally, it’s relatives or friends who haven’t seen your parent in a few months who notice the changes first.
Family members are always the last to notice changes in their again parents. Why? Familiarity. You see one another every day, and since the changes take place over a long period of time, they don’t notice the difference.
You could literally lose 20 pounds over the course of six months and your immediate family may not say a word. But run into someone you haven’t seen for a while and their jaw will drop! Same thing with your aging parents, except in their situation, your failure to notice changes can be dangerous.
So, what are the warning signs to look for and how can you guard against the dangers of familiarity?
Warning Sign Weekly Checklist
Here’s a list of changes to be aware of. By making a point to purposefully look for them, you’ll be ahead of the game. Instead of waiting until an accident occurs or a trip to the hospital due to a health scare, you’ll be taking a proactive approach when it comes to the well being of your parent.
- Changes in weight: Keep a weekly or monthly record of your parent’s weight. A fluctuation of more than a few pounds is cause for concern. Your aging parent may be forgetting to eat or their appetite may have decreased due to a health condition.
- Changes in food or fluid intake: Open your parent’s pantry and refrigerator once or twice per month. Are they eating healthy? Does their cupboard look sparse? Maybe they are having trouble getting to the grocery store or cooking for themselves. Sometimes depression or loneliness can cause a lack of appetite. An empty pantry should raise concerns.
- Unexplained bruises: Sometimes the elderly try to protect themselves from losing their independence by hiding information. Often they will not tell anyone if they have fallen or hurt themselves in some way. Look for the signs.
- Clutter piling up and an unkempt appearance: Your aging parent may have more trouble getting around than you think. They may cut down on housecleaning, daily chores, or even personal grooming as a result.
- Changes in mood: If your parent is having trouble, this might cause frustration, anger, or changes in mood. Look for signs of irritability or confusion.
What to Do if You’ve Noticed Changes?
Let’s assume you’ve noticed some changes, either from the checklist provided above or other warning signs. What are your next steps?
Many aging parents are very determined to remain independent and refuse to even talk about private home health care or companion services. If you are nodding your head in agreement right now, we have a few suggestions for you.
- Let’s face it, most elderly individuals are deeply afraid of losing their independence. If you present the idea of Help at Home Homecare in a very non-threatening way, you’re more likely to achieve the results you desire. Our staff members and counselors know how to address these concerns. By setting up a consultation with one of our professionals your aging parent will be more likely to see the benefits of home health care instead of focusing on irrational fears.
- Our skilled staff at Help at Home Homecare, can provide as much or as little assistance as your parent needs. It’s up to them. Companion services help with errands, meal preparation, and housekeeping while our skilled nursing care services help seriously ill or recovering patients remain in the comfort of their own home.
The first step is to sit down and have a talk with your aging parent. Let them know you notice the changes but don’t put a downward spin on the topic. A bit of extra help around the house is a good thing!
It’s a benefit which will improve the quality of life of your parent. We can even assist you with any questions you may have before introducing the topic to your parent. Our caring and knowledgeable staff is ready to help.
We offer gentle, caring and Exceptional Home Health Services for your eldercare needs and concerns. Help at Home Homecare provides skilled nursing care, home health care, and companion services to the Bradenton, Venice, and Sarasota areas and beyond.
Don’t wait for an accident, fall, or a medical emergency. Call us today at 941.388.3117 for a FREE Home Assessment- You’ll be glad you did.
It is vital, as those we love begin to enter new stages of life, that we are able to recognize situations that may be early warning signs of trouble ahead.
Here are five signs it may be time to look into in home care options.
More and more people in their golden years are turning to In Home Health Care. This genre of private duty health care is not only for those who cannot provide for themselves, but also for those who may need just a little more help, whether in the form of running errands or assisting with household chores, companion care and medication management.
There are situations that arise that are solid indicators that it indeed may be time to look into assisting your loved one in the comfort of their own home by contacting an in home care provider and/or service.
1. Trouble with Household Chores
Admit it, as we age household chores become more difficult. When everyday household chores become more than just nuisances for your loved ones, it may be time to consider the assistance of private in home care. If you find them struggling to accomplish tasks such as sweeping, dusting, an cleaning,chances are they may enjoy having additional help around the house to tackle some of the more taxing chores.
An early warning sign of trouble with household chores is a home environment that always was clean and tidy but has recently become increasingly cluttered. Spills that aren’t wiped up, food in the refrigerator months past the expiration date, trash that isn’t removed, and piles of clutter are signs that help may be needed.
2. Limited Mobility
When we’re nestled in our favorite chair, we may not feel the need to move a muscle. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with relaxation, especially when it’s complemented by a healthy diet and an exercise routine. However, if your loved one finds it challenging to make their way up stairs or if they fear slipping in the bathtub, you may want to look into skilled nursing care.
Lack of physical activity can lead to muscle atrophy and an even more complicated situation. If your elderly parents are spending most of their hours sitting or lying down, part time or full time skilled nursing care can provide just the boost and assistance they need to enjoy outdoor activity and a better quality of life.
3. Problems Organizing Medications
Keeping up with medication times and amounts can be confusing. If you or your loved one is missing doses or experiencing frustration when it comes to understanding medications, there’s no reason for it. A unique schedule of daily or weekly visits from an RN. or LPN. to help with medications can provide the relief and peace of mind necessary, without any intrusion on daily living.
4. Decrease in Personal Care
One of the first signs that help may be needed is a marked decrease in personal care and hygiene. Often, elderly parents begin to neglect personal hygiene after a spouse or companion passes on. This may simply be a sign of loneliness or slight depression. Extra help through in home care can provide the necessary interaction that can ultimately serve two purposes; personal care assistance and a companion care- friendship that can help keep an elderly adult from sinking into isolation or a decreased will to thrive.
5. Trouble Driving
Have you noticed unexplained dents and scratches in your aging parent’s vehicle? Has an increase in traffic tickets or warnings caused concern? If your elderly parents can no longer get from point A to point B safely, they may feel embarrassed or a sense of helplessness. It may be time for help. Not only does our private in home care provide nursing assistance, but we also help with errands, without causing your parent or loved one to feel a lack of control of their life.
Accidents can happen, especially as your loved ones begin to age. Fortunately, they can easily be prevented by careful, constant awareness of any health changes that are taking place. One of the best ways to avoid a crisis situation is by considering in home care long before an emergency situation occurs.
If you’ve noticed any of the above five warning signs, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our services can be tailored to fit your loved one’s unique needs. You’ll find that our private in home care will provide youwith peace of mind without infringing on your parent’s feelings of independence.