Starting the Conversation: Caring for Your Loved Ones

September 11, 2017

Mature woman (60s) helping elderly mother (90s) with paperwork.Mature woman (60s) helping elderly mother (90s) with paperwork.

When I was growing up my mom always said “you need to make a lot of money so you can take care of me when I’m old.” As a child, it went in one ear and out the other. I now understand and one day might be telling my children the same. Within our line of work we get countless phone calls from sons, daughters, nephews, nieces, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers and friends needing advice of how to get help or find placement for their loved ones. This is never a quick phone call and there is never a quick and easy solution. Individuals are complex, as are the issues they are experiencing.

Talking to your loved one about getting help in their home can be a difficult pill to swallow, but fortunately can be crushed with a few tips. Watching your loved one age and seeing them struggle with simple tasks can be difficult. It’s easy to tell them what they need but an individual actually making the commitment to have assistance is hard. It can be intimidating to let a stranger come into your home. However, you can approach the subject as addressing the potential caregiver as a personal assistant; they are there to help you with whatever you need. For example, have you been dreaming of chicken and dumplings the way your grandma made it? They can do that for you. Do your sheets need to be changed and you just can’t bend the same way to tuck in that fitted sheet? Are you unsteady on your feet and are often fearful to shower alone? Your caregiver can help you feel more at ease in your home while giving your loved ones peace of mind that you’re safe.

Michelle Howard, RN

If you’re loved ones are fighting you tooth and nail and refusing to let anyone help. Here are some tips:

  1. Mom, for you to be able to stay in your home someone will need to check on you __ many days a week. How many days a week would you like to start with?
  2. We want you to stay as independent as possible in your home. A caregiver will not take any independence away from you, but will help you to thrive at home.
  3. It’s time to get your social life back. The caregiver can take you to the store, to lunch, to the park, grocery store, library, hair salon/barber or to the Senior Center.
  4. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little help around the house? I know that I would love to have some of the menial tasks, such as laundry done for me.
  5. Would it help to meet with a credentialed care manager to discuss goals and expectations moving forward? If so, perhaps we have a family meeting to talk about your wishes and desires.

Staying at home as we age gracefully is what we all want; home is where the heart is. We don’t have control of how long our heart will beat; however, there are things in our life we can control. When purchasing a house, think long term. Picture yourself using a walker while walking upstairs to go to the bathroom. Stairs are not our friend when we age gracefully. These are important things to think about when purchasing a home. Unless you have the funds to invest in an elevator you might want to consider a one level home.

Where will you find the funds to help your loved ones stay at home? Some incomes only cover the rent, food, and bills and not much else.

  • Caregivers can cost anywhere from $80-$475 a day depending on what is needed for the individual.
  • Long Term Care Insurance is less expensive the younger you are and may benefit you as you age.
  • VA benefits also can help with home care if you have served during a war time or your spouse served during this period.
  • Meals on Wheels are a Volunteer Program that brings meals directly to your front door. This program is very important for our community and allows our loved ones to have a cooked meals without having to turn the stove on or drive to the store, (Meals on Wheels 530-621-6160).

Sometimes staying at home is not always the best answer. Assisted Living Facilities have around the clock care, activities, meals, snacks and socialization. The cost of the facility can vary depending on the level of care needed. However, typically Assisted Living Facilities cost anywhere from $4,000-$9,000 per month depending on the level of care.

Talking with your loved ones about needed assistance can be a difficult task. However, framing the conversation to ensure you are respecting their input, while expressing your concerns is always a good place to start.

—Michelle Howard, RN

Michelle Howard, RN is a Care Manager with Elder Options. Michelle’s passion for Care Management comes from the enjoyment she receives when working with the public and assisting the members of our community. She enjoys working for Elder Options because, “Everyone works together as a team to provide the highest quality services to the client.” In her spare time, Michelle enjoys spending time in her country home, with her husband and two young children.

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