Getting Help from Other Caregivers
"Help" Is Not a Four-Letter Word
It's been stated before, but it bears repeating: Consider hiring a geriatric caseworker who can help you determine what kind of regular professional help you can use in caring for your senior.
Supportive care options include facilities and programs to which your loved one will go, such as senior centers and adult day care programs, and services that will come to him or her, such as meal delivery, reassurance visits, and home care. Services are provided professionally and on a volunteer basis. Contact the Eldercare Locator or the National Association for Home Care for information.
If you primarily care for your loved one at home but could use a break periodically, the Senior Corps will provide a trained volunteer to come and stay with her once a week. Local religious groups may offer similar volunteer help.
If you are going away, are temporarily unavailable, you can arrange for professional respite care. This temporary care service can be provided at home or in a nursing facility. Check with your local Area Agency on Aging or any home health care service.
If Mom mainly needs company and activity, she may be fine spending her days at a senior center, many of which will pick her up, provide lunch, and drop her off at home at the end of the day.
Adult day care programs are a compromise between living at home and full-time assisted living for seniors who need supervised care. In a typical program, a van will pick up your father at about 9 a.m., drive him to a facility where he will socialize, have lunch, engage in activities, and possibly receive routine medical care, and then drop him off at home around 5 p.m.
Ideally, an adult day care program has one supervisor for each six clients, four if the clients are very impaired. The program should also have a social worker and registered nurse on staff.
Give your loved one time to adjust to anything new.
"My father hated the idea of going to a day program. I was really surprised at how much he got to like it after a while."
Grandma will be more likely to enjoy a program that offers the right activities -- something that interests her and suits her abilities.
Does your local high school offer courses in home economics? The school might give credit to a student for helping you care for your loved one.
All home care is not equal. Options range from having a caregiver live in the home full-time, to rotating several workers who live outside the home, to having part-time help for when you are not available or need a rest. The type of care you arrange will also depend on your senior's needs, whether it is housekeeping, personal care, or medical supervision. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging for information on the different levels of care available to you.