Aging can be confusing and difficult for seniors, especially if things like alzheimes and dementia are starting to take hold, but even at the best of times it can be tough. Some seniors require a little extra help, and some require more than a little extra help. Caring for the elderly is a very nuanced thing, it can be complex and difficult. It can take a toll on your family if you’re caring for someone who has very high needs, but one also has responsibilities to help their family members (like aging parents or grandparents), too.

For people who need a lot of assistance with day to day tasks, finding a care home can be the best option, but for people who can more or less still take care of themselves but need some extra assistance, then home care for elderly in their own homes is the perfect solution. As a family member, you can’t always make it there when they need you, you have your own life and responsibilities to take care of, but home care for seniors can help bridge the gap.

Being able to age at home, with dignity, is such a great luxury to have, so it’s something to take advantage of whenever possible – but there are some things you need to know about this, so let’s go over some of the basics.

1. Putting the Senior First

AgingInPlace says that senior care needs to be focused on them, as people, rather than being self-centered as the caregiver. It can be difficult to put yourself and your needs aside for theirs, but that’s part of the job. They explain that small mistakes can get magnified into big things, and some elderly people will react poorly to minor errors that a caregiver can make, but you have to understand that they’re probably having a difficult time with the fact that they can no longer take care of themselves, and have to rely on someone else. Don’t take it personally, remember why you’re there.

The caregiver could be a professional who is hired, or a family member.

2. Seniors Need to be Heard & Listened To

You have to always listen to seniors and what they have to say, what they need, and how they’re feeling. Sometimes, they just need to be heard, to have someone listen and empathize with what they’re going through. Sometimes, when the elderly seem grumpy or difficult, it’s just a cry for help that they want to be heard. Take them and their needs seriously, and do your best to address those things.

If they are having issues with the person offering in-home care, as a family member, you need to listen to both sides of the story and get to the bottom of what’s happening. Understand when the complaints are reasonable, or when the elderly individual is being unreasonable. 

3. It’s a Team Effort

If you hire an in-home caregiver to look after a family member, or you’re handing the responsibility with your siblings or with other family members, or doing your best to handle it all on your own – it has to be undertaken as a team effort. It’s a team effort between yourself, the other people giving care if there are any, and the elderly person themselves. Everyone has to be on the same page, and has to work together, and has to understand that the common goal here is to maintain dignity and comfort. There are certain risks or dangers that come from someone staying in-home as they age, but they should stay in their home for as long as possible until those risks or dangers are outweighed by the dignity and comfort of home. 

At a certain point, a senior citizen may decline or need so much care that staying at home just isn’t a practical or safe idea anymore, but formulating a plan and knowing when you’ve reached that breaking point is a huge part of the process.

4. Medicaid Can Help

At-home care can be expensive, but in most States, there is support available through Medicaid to help cover the costs of in-home care. This falls under PCS or PAS, which stand for Personal Care Services and Personal Attendant Services, respectively. Medicaid will also help with the costs of nursing homes or intermediate care facilities for people who can’t stay at home any longer. Choosing the correct type of care for a loved one is important, and ideally money won’t play a big role in choosing what’s best.

5. What Home Care Can Help With

There are a number of tasks that home care for the elderly in their own homes can help with, for example: Household tasks like laundry, gardening, shopping, staying on top of bills, transportation, personal care like hygiene and meal preparation, healthcare like home nurses and social workers, and lots more.

Final Thoughts about Home Care for Elderly in Their Own Homes

The people who dedicate their careers to taking care of seniors in their own homes are often compassionate, hard-working, and under-appreciated. Not all of them are great, and some will do the bare minimum when they know their parents aren’t able to do or say anything about it. Of course, people like that aren’t overly common, and as someone organizing the care, it’s important to talk to them, to let them know the family is actively involved, and to promote high quality care for your loved ones.