One of the most difficult decisions that children of an aging parent face is deciding if their parent is going to be safe if left alone at home for the day or even for a few hours. As a caregiver, it can be emotionally draining when you worry about the safety of your parents while they are alone. Children of aging parents often fear their parent may wander away, attempt to cook something and forget to turn the stove off and/or if they would let a stranger into their home. Fortunately, home care agencies can provide live in care or respite care to help caregivers with their concerns about their elderly parents.
Is it Age or Something More Serious?
Trying to determine if live in care is suitable for your elderly parent can often be complicated. It is also often difficult for the elderly to acknowledge that their physical, emotional or mental changes have interfered with their ability to be home alone. There are a number of factors to consider when determining if respite care or live-in care is necessary. Respite care is typically temporary, which means the home care person will arrange to stay with your elderly parent on a short term basis, while live-in care means the home care provider will be with your elderly parent 24 hours a day. it is important to understand that many of their symptoms may not be simply related age, such as memory loss, confusion, loss of sight and/or incontinence. Whether you are considering live-in care or respite care, it is essential that you discuss your concerns with the home care provider.
Checklist for Live-in Care
In order to help you determine if your elderly parent needs live-in care, here is a checklist of questions to help you decide if you and your parent can benefit from respite and/or live-in care:
- Does your elderly parent understand how to leave their home if it becomes necessary? For example, can they safely exit alone in case of a fire?
- If they go outside, will they know where their home is and how to get back into their home?
- Has your elderly parent ever wandered off?
- Do they understand if and when to call 9-1-1 and are they able to communicate what the problem is?
- Does your elderly parent know the sound of an emergency? For example, if the smoke alarm goes off, will your parent be alert enough to understand there is a potential danger?
- Do they have frequent medical emergencies? Do they know where their medications are and how to take them correctly, such as nitroglycerin for a possible heart attack?
- Does your elderly parent have good judgement when it comes to letting a stranger in the house?
- Are they capable of fixing something to eat, especially if they will need to use the stove? For example, will they remember to turn the burner or the oven off?
- Is your parent able to go to the bathroom on their own, dress themselves on their own or care for their personal hygiene?
If you decide that your elderly parent is unable to do one or more of these things alone, but you are unable to stay with them 24/7, it may be beneficial to consider live in care for your parent. Home care is a great way for your parent to remain in their home and you won’t have to worry about their safety, because the live-in care providers will be there to ensure your parent’s safety.