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
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
Mom Objects to the Idea of a Nursing Home. Why Would She Say Yes to
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 wouldn’t 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
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
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