I Was Worried about My Mom After the Holidays. Here’s How Home Care Could Help.

There’s much that a phone call can’t disclose. You call your mom every evening, a lifelong habit that you re-committed yourself to once Dad passed. You live close enough to check in with some regularity, but with life, work and kids, it’s hard to make it more than monthly. You’re attentive to her health and well-being, always asking to be certain she’s keeping up with doctors’ appointments and doing things like taking walks and eating well. Everything seemed fine.

But when you visited over Thanksgiving, there was an alarming series of red flags. Your mom has always taken care of her houseplants, and all but one were dead, still in their pots. You’d find things in strange places. She had a few bruises—nothing horrific, but her unease when you asked what happened caused you to worry. She struggled standing up and sitting down more than you’d ever seen before. She’d have to steady herself and take breaks. And little things, like the box of laundry detergent being empty and slightly dusty, that concerned you about her day-to-day.

She swore she was fine and told you not to worry. But that’s becoming increasingly more difficult. You tried visiting weekly after that trip, but it was exhausting and unrealistic.

This can be overwhelming. It’s navigating an entirely new set of circumstances and needs under much emotional stress.

Professional home care can help. Even the most attentive offspring—like you—can’t handle all of Mom’s needs as she ages. Understanding the nuances of home care can be difficult at first, but this article aims to explain just how much this service helps.

What Does Home Care Offer?

That regular, consistent eye on how Mom’s doing, first of all, meaning no more bad surprises when you come into town. Beyond that, assistance with all those things you saw falling apart: housekeeping, grooming and bathing, errands, medication and doctors’ appointments, diet and exercise. Plus companionship, and someone that Mom can talk to about concerns she may feel too ashamed to bring up with you, or that she’s trying to protect you from so you don’t worry.

Professional caregivers also have experience in identifying symptoms. What you might assume to be just a quirk that came with age, they may recognize as an early sign of an ailment or disease, and alerting you to this potential right away can mean a quicker response and more effective treatment.

How Do I Find the Right Fit? How Often Will the Caregiver Visit?

When selecting professional home care, be sure that your needs are heard and go with an organization that actively listens to your concerns. After all, they’re there to assist your loved one and in turn, you. Your loved one comes first. Be upfront about your schedule, ask about flexibility, be realistic about costs and don’t be shy. A quality home care facility will make this initial conversation very simple.

What Happens if Mom Starts Doing Better, or if Things Get Worse?

Home care service comes in many types. You can start with just a quick visit a day or two a week and up the frequency if there’s a surgery or a fall, and as she recovers, you can revisit the schedule. Likewise, Mom may improve and can start taking back over some of the tasks. It always varies. Just ensure you choose an agency that can be agile and responsive to changing needs.

Mom Objects to the Idea of a Nursing Home. Why Would She Say Yes to Home Care?

First, she'll enjoy a greater sense of independence, living in the comfort of a familiar setting. She’s not being uprooted; she’s just getting some help around the house (and depending on her sense of humor, you can always make a joke about this—who wouldnt want help around the house?). But yes, she may push back at first.

Click here for more useful advice when an aging parent resists home care.

The good news: If you’re working with an established, reputable agency, there is nothing they haven’t seen before. That’s all part of the process. And as Mom sees the benefit—her houseplants are thriving again, she’s feeling more mobile, she doesn’t have to struggle to lift a heavy laundry basket and bend up and down to do it—her resistance will almost certainly fade away.

I’m Curious, But I Don’t Want to Be Pressured. How Do I Begin?

Make a phone call, or make an inquiry online. An inquiry is not a commitment. Find an agency that understands your challenging position.

Get information. Get answers to your questions. Have an initial meeting, and see what offerings fit your needs. Just take a deep breath, and look forward to the chance of a better Thanksgiving next year.

If you have yet to make it home for the holidays and see your elderly parents, click here on what to look for at your parents’ house this holiday season.

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