Statistics support the idea that making caregiving decisions will be a commonplace occurrence for millions of Americans in the coming years. Factors like an aging population, increase in progressive conditions like Alzheimers or dementia, the prevalence of incidences of stroke and cancer, all point to the need for understanding how to navigate the care journey for your loved ones.
Coming up with and implementing a care plan for your loved one or loved ones can be very challenging. The first step is understanding their diagnosis and clearly prioritizing their long and short-term needs. Diagnoses can range from general age related health concerns and conditions, to a specific diagnosis for a progressive condition like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, or cancer. Sometimes the diagnosis is layered with one or more issues like an existing heart condition, diabetes or severe arthritis with Alzheimer’s as well. These can create complications regarding specific care or caregiver needs.
Next, is taking an honest look at your capacity for care – do you have a family of your own, young children, work, activities, social or community commitments? How far are you from your loved one? Do you have the time, support, and mental/ emotional/ physical/ financial bandwidth to be able to care for your loved ones the way they need? The answers to these questions can be complex and not always straightforward. You might have the time if you make some lifestyle changes. You can help now but not in the future. You can help in the future but not just right now. You live too far away. You live close by but have an active lifestyle that will not allow you to be the primary caregiver. There may also be a sense of guilt or obligation – “I should be caring for my mom or dad”, but simply not being able to do so. In this regard, there is no right or wrong answer – simply, whatever works for you and your loved one.
The last step is deciding on which care plan works best, and implementing it. This is the purpose of this guide – to help you understand the different scenarios that benefit from live-in care, and how to implement them.
This is a multi step process which involves the following:
- Meeting with doctors to understand the diagnoses and its long-term implications. For example, early stage Alzheimer’s might require a few hours of daily at home care. However, mid to late stage diagnoses require full-time or 24/7 live-in care to be beneficial.
- Understanding the rate of disease progression. Some conditions like Lewy Bodies Dementia or Vascular Dementia can progress at a slower rate than Frontotemporal Dementia which is caused by nerve damage to the brain and can progress rapidly in some instances. Depending on the type of condition your loved-one has and the impact of co-morbidities like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or heart disease, the need for 24/7 live-in care will vary based on how quickly their condition might progress.
- Deciding where your loved one will live- will they be aging in their home, or will it be necessary to seek alternative living arrangements in a nursing facility. Most individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia prefer to age in the comfort of their home. The familiar surroundings of their home play a significant role in providing mental and emotional support during a challenging time when the most familiar or routine things become confusing and disorienting. Both Alzheimer’s and dementia strip an individual of so many things – their independence, their agency, and their ability to do things for themselves. Navigating this journey in their home, surrounded by familiar sights and sounds can provide a sense of well-being and independence.
- Evaluate your capacity to provide care. As mentioned above, being a full-time caregiver in today’s busy world can be incredibly challenging. If you live in a different city or even a few hours away from your loved one, the ability to drop your own needs (family, work, life) to provide 24/7 care is tough. Also, as conditions progress, needs change too. Initial stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia might require some basic help like buying grocery or driving your loved one to a doctor’s visit. Mid to late stages require help with everyday tasks like toileting, changing clothes, eating, and in some instances walking or getting into bed. Linked here is an article to better understand the live-in care requirements as most dementia related conditions progress.
Discuss with Parents
- Approach this conversation with knowledge, compassion and patience to ensure that this is a smooth transition for both you and your loved one.
- Most seniors find it difficult to accept their diagnosis and that they need caregiving to help them with seemingly simple, daily tasks that they have done as a part of a rich, independent life for years. Others see it as a compromise of their independence. Hesitation and pushback is normal and to be expected – the key is to navigate and address it with patience since it will take them time to come to terms with the new normal.
- Knowledge or information is essential in this step. Having an in-depth understanding of their condition, as well as their short-term and long-term needs will be very helpful in clearly explaining why live-in care is going to benefit them. Progressive conditions like Alzheimer’s or Dementia deteriorate over time causing patients to become forgetful or disoriented. Daily tasks like driving or cooking become challenging, and soon require full-time support or to have someone do them altogether. These conditions typically benefit with early intervention in terms of caregiving.
- Explain growing health and safety risks. As people generally age or are diagnosed with a condition, it becomes important that they are not left alone for long periods of time. With Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinsons, or post-operative care, there is an associated fall risk which is reduced by the presence of a full-time caregiver.
- For loved-ones who have suffered from Stroke, or are undergoing cancer treatment, or post-operative care, live-in care is essential for their recovery and well-being. An experienced in-home caregiver can monitor their medication, any therapies, and transportation to and from necessary appointments.
Finding the Right Caregiver
- Working with an experienced and established home care company is essential to finding the right caregiver for quality and consistent long-term care.
- At a company like Care Mountain, our caregivers go through a thorough interview process where they have to both demonstrate and speak to their skills, as well as going through an extensive background and reference check to verify their credentials and experience.
- Between the background check and the detailed interview process that Care Mountain uses to match caregivers with patients, our goal is for your caregiver to feel like a member of your family.
- Care Mountain also ensures that caregivers work in a tag-team style partnership that has the same caregivers in your home for as long as possible. This ensures that caregivers entering your home are the same team so that they are familiar with your loved-one and their needs.
- Care Mountain also dedicates resources and time to the matching process itself. We meet with you and go over your needs in a thorough manner to ensure that we have an accurate picture of what you are looking for in a caregiver. We then work with our extensive network of caregivers to carefully match your needs with the right person in terms of temperament, experience, and scheduling.
Live-in care is a thoughtful and nuanced style of caregiving that allows your loved one to age in the comfort of their home, and an independent environment. They will receive personalized, quality care by caregivers who are experienced in supporting their condition. Live-in care also benefits couples who wish to age in the comfort of their home together. It is not a simple process, but with knowledge, careful planning, and working with an experienced in-home care company, it is a way to help your loved ones age with dignity.
At Care Mountain, we have over 17 years of focused experience providing in-home care and support for you or your loved ones across the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex. Our thorough and extensive hiring process ensures that we work with experienced caregivers who understand the multiple factors that require in-home caregiving.
Our experience also helps us provide a nuanced and personalized level of care throughout Dallas and Ft. Worth areas. Caregiving is a full-time requirement that most family members cannot provide on a part-time basis.
Care Mountain’s extensive network of in-home caregivers can provide support across the Metroplex across Plano, Allen, McKinney, Preston Hollow, Dallas, Highland Park, Fort Worth, Southlake, Arlington and many more. Contact us today to see how we can help provide support and 24/7 care to help you or your loved one navigate their journey of in-home care.