As a provider of in-home care and home health care to elderly and seniors for the past 33+ years, I have compiled some of the most common determinants of an elderly parent’s need for on going in-home care. My hope is that by knowing these determinants, families can act proactively versus reacting to a crisis involving something unfortunate that happened to their elderly parent. Much of the experience shared here is based upon working with families in the capacity of Director for Care Mountain, a Texas licensed 24 /7 home care agency serving the Dallas TX – Fort Worth TX area.
When you are told by an attending health care professional that your elderly parent needs on going in-home care, it is often after something unfortunate has happened to your parent. This unfortunate happening often has a permanent, or long lasting negative impact on your parent’s independence. To minimize the chance of this occurrence a recent history of falls, unscheduled hospitalizations, short term memory issues or/and your parent expressing an openness to in-home care are some of the most common determinants to proactively look for that suggest on-going in home care is needed for your parent.
Don’t underestimate your elderly parent’s ability to hide or mask what is really going on with their health, especially in cases where both parents are still living together. Often times, out of fear of being put in a nursing home, elderly will do their best to assure you there are no concerns about their health and safety living at home. I have been amazed at how well couples living together can compensate for each others health deficits, so that all seems fine. It’s not until one of them is away for a period of time (i.e.; hospitalized) and a family member spends time with the other at home that they see how much help that elderly parent needs. Elderly parents compensating for each others health care deficits usually end up in a gradual wear down of their own health.
Also, an elderly parent living alone can be equally determined and successful at masking in a short visit from you what is really going on with their need for assistance with activities of daily living. They will have a much harder time covering up these health care needs, if you can work out a visit/stay lasting up to a day or two.
A recent history of falls is one of the most common determinants for an on going need for in-home care, not only because of an underlying health condition attributed to the falls, but also because of the reduction in activity that an elderly person typically undergoes with the intention of minimizing further falls. We have all heard the saying, “if you don’t use it, you lose it”. This cutting back on activity can often do more harm to an elderly person’s ability to care for themselves than the falls themselves, thus driving up their need for on going in home care. I hear from families all the time that their parent is doing more for themselves with the feeling of safety that an in-home care caregiver provides in their presence.
A recent history to these fine places may suggest that falls are a red flag for the need for on going in home care: Texas Orthopedic Associates , Baylor Scott & White Orthopedic Associates of Dallas, Texas Hip & Knee Center, Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital Dallas , Baylor Scott & White Institute For Rehabilitation, Methodist Rehabilitation Hospital , Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital Plano , Texas Rehabilitation Hospital of Arlington , Encompass Rehabilitation Hospital Arlington , Texas Rehabilitation Hospital Fort Worth, Encompass Rehabilitation Hospital of City View and Baylor Scott & White Institute For Rehabilitation Fort Worth.
A recent history of unscheduled hospitalizations are often the sign of underlying medical condition(s) supporting the need for on going in home care for an elderly person. The trap here is that many adult children will dismiss the seriousness of this as they see their elderly parent apparently “bounce back” after each visit. Some would call this denial. To avoid this trap, it may help to chart your parent’s ability to do activities of daily living over time, and look for trends where peaks aren’t as high and lows are lower. Seeing a downward trend will allow you to proactively engage on going in home care service, minimizing the chance of hitting a low point that puts you in a reactive crisis with an otherwise avoidable negative health care outcome.
A recent history to any of these fine places may suggest that hospitalization visits are a red flag for the need for on going in home care: UT Southwestern Medical Center, Texas Health Dallas, Medical City Healthcare, Methodist Health System, Baylor University Medical Center, Baylor Scott $ White Medical Center Grapevine, Medical City Arlington, Texas Health Arlington Memorial, USMD Hospital at Arlington, Texas Health HEB, Texas Health Fort Worth and Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center Fort Worth.
Short term memory issues with an elderly parent are one of the most common early signs of a progressive type of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Having a progressive condition such as this, means an elderly person’s need for assistance with activity of daily living is quite inevitable. The decision for getting on going in home care then comes down to a proactive one, or one that reacts to something bad happening.
If your elderly parent ever expresses an openness to having on going in home care, then from my experience it is very likely something bad has already happened that scared them. When this happens, it is a very good time to ask your parent what concerns are present to bring them to being open to on going in home care. Strike while the iron is hot, because they may close up to on going home care once this fear seems to reside somewhat. There is a good chance though, that a downward trend is in place and you may get into the insanity trap regarding accepting in home care (opened to it – closed to it …opened to it – closed to it…).