Do you have aging parents? If so, you may be asking yourself, how will I know if they are ready for home care or possibly care in an assisted living facility. Knowing when to begin discussions about needed assistance with aging parents is not always as simple as one might think. Maybe you've noticed that each time you visit there's more and more unopened mail piling up. Or mom, once meticulous about her appearance, is wearing wrinkled clothes and not styling her hair. When you bring up these observations, is their instant response "Everything is fine, there's no need to worry"?
This response is typical because most people don't want to admit that they need help, whether it's because they don't want to burden you or possibly because they don't know how they will pay for the care that they need and many times it simply because it would mean that they have to face the fact that they can no longer care for themselves properly and that is very scary for most. After all, "denial is the unrealistic hope that a problem will go away on its own".
Because of this, the responsibility usually falls on the family to recognize the signs that your aging parent is in need of help and may need to have a home care agency assist or possibly move to an assisted living facility. Generally, help starts at the home-care level either by a family member or a hired agency.
Taking on the roll of a family caregiver can be a hefty challenge.
Below are a few signs that will indicate your aging parent is in need of help at home:
- spoiled food that sits in the refrigerator or on the counter;
- difficulty standing or sitting on their own;
- issues with balance and mobility;
- confusion when performing everyday tasks;
- missing important appointments;
- infrequent showering and/or bathing;
- noticeable decline in grooming habits;
- dirty house, clutter and laundry piles;
- unopened mail stacking up/ late payment notices for bills;
- weight loss due to not eating properly.
It's best to start this discussion with your loved one as soon as possible. waiting until a "crisis" has occurred may result in less choices. It may be a difficult discussion depending upon how your loved one reacts. Begin by letting them know the signs that your observing, ask if they have a good solution. Try to avoid sounding upset or as if you're ordering them to do so.
Once you have determined the type of care needed and have begun the conversation about obtaining that help it's time to discuss what may be the biggest issue.. How will you pay for the help that they need? In many states, private pay from an individual's own funds is the only option for at-home care and possibly for an assisted living facility. For some [such as New Jersey] there are programs available through Medicaid that will pay for at-home care and care at an assisted living facility once approved.
A few payment options are;
- Savings accounts;
- Life insurance [ if the proper policy and rider are in place];
- Long term care insurance [if you can afford the premiums and can get approved];
- Aid and Attendance from the Veterans Administration;
Take the time to look for professional help to answer your important questions and aid in the process. This will allow you to make better informed decisions and will reduce your stress and work load. Especially when choosing to work with a government program such as VA or Medicaid.
Questions? Contact us today, our experts will answer all of your questions.