5 important steps you need to take to help an older person stay at home for as long as possible
As the Government embarks on a Royal Commision into aged care, the way we care for our older Australians is a hot topic. It has probably made you think twice about where your parents and loved ones end up when they can no longer care for themselves.
The trend these days is to keep loved ones at home for as long as possible and only enter aged care facilities when it is time for around the clock care.
With this plan in mind, it is reassuring to know that home care options are increasing and can be used even when care needs become high.
Most of the time it is up to adult children and relatives to manage the care for an older person at home. Here are the five steps you should take when organising in home care.
1) Create a plan and discuss it with all relevant family members and friends.
It is important that everyone is on the same page about the way in-home care is going to be delivered.
Decide how decisions are going to be made and who is going to implement the tasks that need to happen. If possible share the load so that one person doesn’t feel overwhelmed. Don’t forget to include friends or neighbours who have daily interactions with the older person. They will appreciate being made aware of the changes that are going to take place, and will probably have good insights into the daily routine of the older person.
2) Prepare the older person’s home
In order to keep an older person at home you may need to make some practical changes to their home so that care can be delivered. For example,
In the bathroom - you may need a chair in the shower or bath rail if they are going to be getting help with showering and personal care
In the living spaces - is there room for a walker, and/or a wheelchair when the time comes? You may need to declutter or rearrange things.
3) Prepare the older person’s mind
No one likes to lose their independence. At Careseekers we find the best way to introduce an in home care worker into someone’s life is to start small. Try and get the person to identify one area of their daily life where they may like some additional assistance. Then Introduce the care worker as someone who is going to help with this task. It may be cleaning, helping with some shopping or taking them to appointments. Build trust with someone they like and as their needs increase, they will feel more comfortable getting a higher more help from this person.
4) Work out the finances.
Government funding may be available. There are also creative ways to arrange in-home care that doesn’t break the bank. By using a platform like Careseekers you connect directly to aged care workers which reduces costs considerably. Care workers set their own rates and the average care worker charges between $25-$35 per hour during the week. There is also no minimum hours, too often funds are spent on unneeded care hours simply because organisations have minimum hourly requirements. At careseekers you can find local care workers who will be happy to assist someone local at a time that suits both care worker and older person.
5) Choose a care worker that the older person will connect with.
A care worker who shares the same interests or speaks the same language or simply has the right personality fit is often the key to a long term relationship. A care worker, or a team of chosen care workers, can help an older person stay at home comfortably for as long as possible and perhaps you never need to entertain the thought of an aged care facility.