If you are a caregiver,
do you have an elderly help Plan?
Do you need a Plan? If you’re giving or needing elderly help for a loved one, you may surprised at what you’ll need to know about. I sure was. And, I learned, success is in the details.
Caregiving can come upon us suddenly like it did with our Dad. Or perhaps you were lucky and life gradually progressed along. No matter what the circumstances you are dealing with, from nutrition to senior activities, this page will help you quickly and methodically create a Plan, or hone your current one.
I’m a list person, so I make lists for everything. The checklists below may help you too. They encompass the main areas of caregiving – health care, safety, personal needs, social needs, and daily tasks and housekeeping.
This page has been developed to help you figure out the help you or your loved one may need. It involves detail, so a Plan will make it less stressful and more satisfying. You can get specific information about the various signs of elderly problems at the link.
If your loved one has been hospitalized, some of the decisions about elderly help will be made for you or with you by a health care professional or social services representative. You may be advised that they must move to assisted living or a nursing home, either temporarily or permanently.
A good elderly help Plan consists of first discovering and dealing with health care issues. These will also trigger lots of other needs. You will get information on some items below because of hospital stays or visits with elderly health care providers.
If you are caring for elderly parents, go with them to their medical appointments to make sure everything is understood correctly and can be carried out.
Make a list in advance of your questions and discussion items regarding your elderly help Plan and health concerns. Speak with the doctors yourself, and repeat back the information given.
Write it down so everyone is very clear about diagnosis and procedures. This eliminates confusion or misinterpretation by your loved one who may not hear or understand well.
Many elderly people will only cooperate if they hear information directly from their doctor. Find out what will work regarding care of elderly in-home. My Dad, for instance, had severe hearing and vision loss and is almost deaf and blind.
Here is a list of possible health concerns. When making your plan, remember to ask yourself:
Who, What, When, How.
Make sure medical appointments are up-to-date
___ Needs help setting and remembering appointments
___ Needs help getting to appointments
___ Medication reminders
___ Medication set up
___ Total medication management
___ Needs help picking up prescriptions
___ Shows signs of vision loss – needs vision aid
___ Shows signs of hearing loss – needs hearing aid
___ Needs special equipment – a walker, cane, wheelchair
___ Shows signs of incontinence
___ Needs foot care
___ Needs ear cleaning care
___ Needs regular exercise
___ Has frequent bruising or sores
___ Skin tone has obvious changes
___ Pre- or post-surgery care
___ Wound care
___ Skin condition care
___ Loss of appetite
___ Daily “I’m OK” check-in
___ Talk to a health care social worker about resources for help
___ Talk to a social worker, state or county about public benefits and aid.
___ Understand Medicare and Medicaid guidelines for aid
___ If the elderly was a veteran, talk to the VA about aid
___ Ask any professional helping you about elderly assistance
A strong elderly help Plan includes many safety issues, some that result from health problems. Seniors often try to fiercely maintain their independence. They may not even mention they are having problems. They may only leave subtle clues that something has happened.
When it was time for Dad to move in with me, safety measures were of primary importance. But we really had to watch and pick his brain to discover exactly to what extent. It is important to be observant especially about frequent forgetfulness, otherwise you may never know what is really going on.
Here are some of the safety issues that may need attention.
___ Not able to use stairs
___ Frequently trips
___ Trips on carpet or other flooring – no longer safe
___ Falls that cause injuries
___ Has more bruising or sores
___ Slips in bathroom, at either tub or toilet
___ Needs walker or cane
___ Causes cooking accidents or fires
___ Forgets to turn off stove or water
___ Remove or unplug stove and oven
___ Remove or unplug microwave
___ Monitor age of food in refrigerator
___ Forgets to lock doors or close windows
___ Does not regulate temperature in home
___ Causes spills
___ Forgets where he/she is in familiar places
___ No longer safe to drive
___ Needs emergency response device or pendant
All facets of an elderly help Plan require sensitivity to personal dignity. And patience. As we age, daily personal routines and grooming tasks become more difficult or even impossible.
Elderly people who had been used to taking care of others, now find themselves needing help with basic daily tasks. This is a sensitive issue when caring for elderly parents. It can cause embarrassment to them. And maybe to you.
Being very honest, understanding and supportive is the best way. There are many solutions that allow caring for the elderly in-home, and outside help from a home healthcare service may be needed. Review the list below and add any additional areas for elderly help.
___ Cannot transfer from chair or bed or toilet
___ Bathing assistance
___ Buttoning help
___ Dressing help
___ Putting on shoes or tying shoes
___ Shaving, washing, brushing teeth
___ Toenail clipping and foot grooming
___ Other grooming needs
___ Toileting assistance
___ Needs special incontinence products
An elderly help Plan also must include social needs and various senior activities. This can be a vital part of any healing process. You can imagine that the changes mentioned above can have a huge impact on the elderly person psychologically.
One of the reasons Dad moved in with me rather than stay in assisted living is because due to his hearing and vision loss, it was impossible for him to socialize or participate in groups. He could not see who he was talking to and so could not recognize or identify anyone who came up to him. Nor could he understand much of what they were saying.
Health and nutrition issues can cause changes to healthy brain processes too, and can cause confusion and depression. You can find help available through a health care provider familiar with care of elderly. A strong social support system is an important factor in dealing with elderly issues. Here are some items to review for social needs.
___ Lost interest in former hobbies and activities
___ Little conversation with friends and family
___ Needs scheduled social activities
___ Needs escort or transportation to activities
___ Enroll in Adult Day Care programs
___ Help with hobbies
___ May need books on tape if reading is difficult
___ May enjoy being read to
___ Need help with computer activities
___ Join senior center and activities
___ Participate in community meals at senior center
___ Arrange for in-home senior companion visits
___ Plan an exercise program, especially with others
Daily Tasks and Housekeeping:
The care of elderly may also require a new approach to handling everyday tasks. Watch for signs of problems and assist your loved one in developing a system. Providing elderly help in these areas can give immediate relief. Remember to ask – Who, What, When, How.
___ Laundry piles up – needs help
___ Clothing needs mending
___ Help cleaning house
___ Remove trash
___ Getting mail from mailbox
___ Reading mail
___ Paying bills
___ Pest control
___ Regulating temperature of home
___ Opening and closing windows for fresh air
___ Eliminating odors in home
___ Sorting and eliminating unnecessary junk
___ Sorting old paperwork
___ Downsizing and simplifying possessions
Be sure to also read:
Care For Elderly In Home – Tips and Ideas — Care for elderly in home takes a lot of planning, whether a loved one is staying in their own home or moving in with someone else (perhaps you). Here are some great tips and ideas to consider, including having some fun!