This is where it all comes together; all your info-gathering, investigating, and talking-it-out with family. This is where you make a home care plan and put it into action. Make sure to have all documents and notes handy and, if you couldn’t accomplish everything in one meeting, get together with your team again!
So, how do you start?
By this point, you know your senior loved one’s needs and you’ve established some goals. Now, it’s time to organize all the facts and decide who is doing what.
Match Team Members With Duties
Consider the strengths and limits of all team members. Some may be able to devote more time than others, and that’s okay! Talk with your team and your senior loved one about what duties they’re most comfortable with. Maybe your oldest sibling has a natural maternal instinct and wants to hang out with mom and get dinner started a couple of days per week? Or, perhaps a neighbor has volunteered to take her on her weekly grocery run? Your kids sometimes have soccer practices during the week – is anyone willing to be the “on-call” helping hand when you’re in a pinch?
Consider these areas of support and try to match team members according to strengths, limits, and availability:
- Household – cleaning, tidying, laundry, etc.
- Personal Care – bathing, dressing, grooming, etc.
- Nutritional – meal-prep, grocery shopping, etc.
- Health – medication management, glucose checks, driving to appointments, etc.
- Companionship – providing company, friendship, and other help
- Financial & Legal – managing bill payments, keeping important documents, etc.
Consider Outside Help
A professional caregiver or agency can provide assistance, care, or support to your home care plan. Here are a few options to consider hiring for help:
Personal Care Services/Home Care Aides
A home care aide or other professional provides in-home custodial care such as help with activities of daily living (ADL) like bathing, eating, and grooming. They will often assist with mobility, meal preparation, and even social and cognitive activities. A home care aide can be a personal care assistant (PCA) or a companion as well.
Nursing Services/Home Health Aides
A home health aide or home health care service consists of licensed medical professionals. Certified nursing assistants (CNA), physical therapists (PT), and occupational therapists (OT) are among the most common. Home health care can include a variety of practices, including rehabilitation, vital sign monitoring, and medication administration. Those with chronic conditions or ongoing health concerns benefit the most from these services.
Related: What Is a Private Duty Nurse?
A PCA or home care aide can assist with meal prep. Alternatively, a community food service like Meals on Wheels can be used. Or, another great option is a meal delivery service. Today, there are various companies that ship fresh ingredients, premade meals, and whole kits right from their kitchens to your front door.
Support comes in all shapes and sizes. If you’re in need of additional help around the house, then hiring a housekeeping or cleaning service could be for you! These are businesses that will perform general cleaning or maintenance tasks for a fee.
Write a Care Plan
Writing a home care plan can be easier than you may think. It has a simple formula to follow: objective, action, and implementation. Use the medical info, history, and other facts you have gathered in the previous steps to decide specifics. Here’s an example:
|Objective – what you wish to accomplish||Action – how you will accomplish the objective||Implementation – performing the action, recording results|
|Mom needs help grocery shopping and preparing meals.||– Oldest sibling can take mom shopping on Wednesdays.|
– Sign up for a meal delivery service to supplement and provide snacks.
|– Oldest sibling takes mom shopping every week.|
– Oldest sibling receives meal deliveries and helps mom prep for the week.
– Record likes, dislikes, and how services are working out, adjusting as we go.
|Mom sometimes requires certain assistance in the bathroom, but not all the time.|
Mom wants to be more independent when showering.
|– Modify bathtub, install shower chair and grab bars.||– Find a contractor for bathroom remodeling.|
– Install changes.
The plan that you write for your family member can include as little or as much as you need. There’s no limit to how much you can help someone you love! And, there may not always be only one clear action for achieving an objective. Each plan is unique, just like the family/team implementing it!
Put Your Plan Into Action
Now you and your team can start providing home care for your senior family member! Follow your plan, but remember that caregiving and supports may need to be altered as illnesses progress or other circumstances change! If frequent care is necessary, share a daily log, and don’t forget to include feelings on what’s working and what’s not. A daily log could include things like:
- Medications taken
- Bathroom use
- Housekeeping performed
Providing home care to a family member may not always be easy, but it’s an admirable and selfless act of love! It’s an important job but can sometimes feel overwhelming. Caring for yourself comes next…