Families who are caring for a loved one can sometimes struggle to know when it is the right time is to ask for help. Quite often I find that families leave it too late, and they are almost on their knees with exhaustion or the stress of juggling work, children and a busy life by the time they contact me. This is not because they haven’t thought about additional care or looked for it, but usually because they are caring people with good hearts who want to be the best son or daughter to their ageing parents (or other relative) by doing it all themselves. Unfortunately, this often has to impact on their own physical or mental health before they realise they are not able to cope alone.
When parents have young children, they do not hesitate to take advantage of babysitters, childminders or nursery to help them with the demanding task of raising that child. Yet, it sometimes does not occur to people that they need help to support older or frail relatives to live independently. Quite often people say to me “If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t hesitate to have help.” Once you have reliable home care support in place, you will wonder why a few weeks earlier you were adamant that you could do it yourself.
You see home carers are people who have a natural ability to support not just the person themselves, but the whole family. They receive a lot of training and support to do this. They work as part of a team, so that if they are unwell, someone else knows you well enough to take over seamlessly. It is difficult to imagine the impact of personalised support until you get it. Many people feel they will lose out on independence, when actually the exact opposite is true. You may be surprised to learn that families who accept home care support are actively helping their loved one to retain their independence.
Families who wait until there is a crisis are often leaving it too late and can then find it difficult to introduce home care because their loved ones are reliant on them and resistant to change. What can you get help with? Pretty much anything you are now doing as a family member to support your loved one. This includes personal care, shopping, preparing meals, helping to manage finances and ensuring bills are paid on time. Making, and taking, your loved one to routine health appointments and collecting prescriptions, and generally monitoring their health and well-being. Making sure the person takes their medication at the correct time, and ensuring they eat and drink throughout the day. In fact, anything that maintains their normal daily routine. Carers can also reduce isolation by taking your loved one out to meet friends, go to social groups and provide social stimulation.
This support can increase in an emergency, and enable people to remain in their own home for longer and thereby reduce the time spent in hospital. It can provide you, as a carer, with the reassurance that other people know your loved one as well as you do and will keep them safe and comfortable if you are unable to get to them when they need you.
Care can also decrease if you find you don’t need as much as you thought and so you can provide exactly the right level of care without taking away your loved one’s independence. Most importantly, home care support enables you to do what you do best. Being a loving son or daughter to your parents.
Contact me if you’d like to talk more about how you can support your loved one through home care.