Sunday, April 5, 2015

How to Care for Aging Parents

Currently, 10% of Vaughan’s population is over 65. This number is expected to double in 2030 as baby boomers reach retirement age. With this growth comes the dilemma of who is going to care for them. This is the challenge the sandwich generation, the generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children, is left to tackle. Many people are finding that their aging parents are in need of assistance but do not have the time or the resources to provide the care themselves. Fortunately, there are numerous options available today to help seniors grow old gracefully.  Many families favor their parents to stay in their own home, as it maximizes independence, comfort, and dignity.  Here are some tips to help you along the decision making process:

Before you start 
  • Speak with your parents to clarify expectations and options.  For example, do they want you to provide care or hire someone?
  • Seek advice from friends and family members who are already caring for an aging loved one.
  • Research your options.  Learn how different types of home care companies and care facilities operate so you can make the best decision for your family.
  • Speak with your parents to see if they are able to pay for additional care or if they need assistance.
Once your family has decided on home healthcare, the following health questions should be discussed:
  • What kind of care do your parents need? Personal care, meal preparation, house cleaning, companionship, medication assistance, or nursing care etc.
  • How often do your parents need care?  They may need a few hours a week or they may require 24 hour live in care.
  • Is medical equipment required?
  • Is your parent’s home safe for them to live in?  An home safety assessment may be necessary to ensure a safe living environment.
Choose a home healthcare company with the right criteria.  Here are some important questions to ask your home healthcare provider:
  • Do you offer the services I need?
  • Do you do reference checks on your staff?
  • Do you do criminal record checks on your staff?
  • Do you have staff available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
  • What levels of staff do you hire and what are their qualifications?
  • Is someone available to contact 24 hours a day in case of emergency?
  • Every time a staff member visits, are the activities and treatment given documented?
  • Is there a written plan of care for the patient’s treatment, which the patient, physician, and family participated in developing? 
Finding the right care solution may not be an easy task but being proactive and having these conversations while your parents are still healthy can be valuable down the road when they are in need of care.

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