Commonwise is fully-staffed and prepared to serve new home care clients. We are taking extra precautions to protect our clients and caregivers from COVID-19, and our experienced nursing team is ensuring our compliance with all CDC guidelines as they emerge. In these uncertain times, the safest place to be is in your own home. We can help.

What to Do When a Parent in a Nursing Home Wants to Go Home

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

September 14, 2020


With a senior population of around 47.8 million, it’s no wonder that nursing homes are such a large industry in the US.

Most of these homes are relaxing places beneficial to their residents. Still, there are a plethora of senior citizens who don’t enjoy assisted living facilities. If an elderly parent wants to leave nursing home, you’re likely learning this the hard way.

Fortunately, there are nursing home alternatives for seniors who want to leave nursing homes and return to their own houses. Read on for some information on how to get out of a nursing home, and how to stay out of a nursing home, and what to do when you find a loved one with issues like dementia wanting to go home.
 

Talk to Your Parent

The first thing you should do is have a conversation with your parent about why they want to leave.

This may sound odd, especially if your parent has memory issues. However, one of the most frustrating things about aging is that you get left out of major decisions involving you. Talking to your parent shows that you care about how they feel and that you want them to have a say in what happens to them.

Ask your parent what they don’t like about their assisted living facility. While it’s uncommon, elder abuse is a serious problem in some nursing homes. Make sure that you’re on the lookout for signs of this. If your parent says something that points to this as a possibility, get them out as fast as possible.

More often than not, though, your parent will simply dislike something about being in assisted living. Do they resent having a lack of privacy? Are they feeling isolated because of the lack of activities that they can go to? If these are the issues, you can probably talk to a caregiver about why this is a problem.

Sometimes, your parent simply will want to go home so that they can be in a comfortable environment. They want to be surrounded by their own things and the people that matter to them. This is a completely valid concern, and there are ways that you can remove your loved one from a nursing home and take them home.
 

Research Home Care Options

Now that you’ve discussed your parent’s needs with them, it’s time to look into some top-notch home care options. There are many different alternatives for home care, so you’ll want to figure out what best suits your parent’s needs as well as your own. Read on to learn more about how you can choose an at-home caregiver for your loved one.
 

Decide What Services Your Parent Needs

When researching home care services, think about what your parent needs to have done for them. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the house easy to move around and navigate, assuming that clutter is picked up and doors are kept open?
  • Can your parent perform personal hygiene-related tasks such as bathing and brushing teeth on their own?
  • Can your parent use the restroom by themselves?
  • Is your parent frequently confused in a way that may put them in danger or stressful situations?
  • Does your parent generally remember to eat/drink water?
  • Is your parent lonely and in need of a companion?
  • How often can you or other family members realistically help out with caregiving tasks?

When you answer these questions, you will be able to figure out whether at-home care is practical and how much you will need to invest. Some parents may need 24-hour caregivers while others may only need someone to come around for a few hours each day.
 

Know Your Budget

You’ll also want to consider your budget. This will help you to figure out what you can realistically afford.

At Commonwise, we pride ourselves on offering quality care at an affordable price. However, we also understand that some families are strapped for cash.

There are a multitude of different care packages out there. Make sure that you set a realistic budget and stick to it. This means looking into your monthly expenses and figuring out how much you have remaining!
 

Come Up With a Schedule

Once you choose the Commonwise Home Care services that are right for you, it’s crucial that you make a schedule.

Know when the caregiver will be with your parent. This will give you an idea as to when check-ins need to be more frequent and help you figure out when you can rest.

When caregivers aren’t present (and even when they are), you and other family members should sit down and make a schedule of visitation. Having loved ones come to visit (and maybe make some snacks) will keep your parent from becoming lonely or isolated, so this is incredibly important.
 

Take Care of Yourself

Once your parent comes home, remember that you still need to take care of yourself.

Not only will you be unable to assist others if you’re not doing well, but your health is important, too. You are a person with value and deserve to treat yourself as such. Caring for an elderly parent can be a physically and mentally exhausting process, and it’s critical that you know your limits and take breaks when you need to.

If you live far away, you may be considering moving home for a while. While this isn’t a bad idea in principle, ask yourself whether it truly is practical for you. You don’t want to lose your dream job or leave a young child behind indefinitely. Moving back home and visiting your parents on weekends is an option to consider once you find a professional caregiver to help out daily.
 

More on When a Parent in a Nursing Home Wants to Go Home

While it’s difficult to cope when a parent in a nursing home wants to go home, there are options out there to give you help and hope.

Remember that no matter how you may feel, you’re far from alone during this difficult time — there are people out there who want to help both you and your parent.

Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

How to Find a Personal Caregiver for Your Elderly Parents

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

September 10, 2020


Do you have a loved one that needs a little extra assistance? If so, then you need to find a caregiver that can offer them the help that they need.

The most important thing is finding one that lines up with your personal preferences and your loved one’s needs. There are several things that you can look for to ensure you’re hiring the right personal caregiver for them.

Looking for home health care is important, but it can be overwhelming. Use this guide to find out how you can find the right assistance for your loved one, which will give you the peace of mind that you’re searching for.
 

1. Consider the Needs They Have

There are many reasons why your loved one might need an at-home caregiver. They might need help showering, toileting, grooming, walking, or remembering things throughout the day.

Hiring a personal caregiver can help you ensure that their needs are being met even when you’re at work, doing things with the family, or running errands. But finding a caregiver for an elderly parent starts by assessing the different needs they have.

Once you determine what those needs are, you can hire elderly care to meet those needs. The question then becomes how to get a home care nurse with the experience that you need.

For example, if your loved one has Alzheimer’s Disease, you’ll want to find a caregiver with experience handling Alzheimer’s patients. Commonwise caregivers, for example, are all trained with certification programs with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s.
 

2. Consider the Chemistry

The chemistry between yourself, the caregiver, and your loved one is of vital importance. The better you and your loved one get along with the caregiver you hire, the more successful the experience will be.

Be sure to take the time and have your loved one meet with any potential caregiver that you’re considering. Take notice of whether they gel together or not, as well as whether you have natural chemistry with them or not.

There are many times where you’ll find yourself contacting the caregiver for updates on your loved one. The better chemistry you have with them, the more you’ll stay in touch.

Also, your loved one and their caregiver will be spending considerable time together each day, if not with 24-hour in-home care. For that reason, you’ll want to make sure they get along and have a common interest or two. 

If you’re able to find one that meshes well with your loved one, then they’ll be able to build a level of trust with each other.
 

3. Hire a Home Caregiver Agency

If the needs of your loved one are significant, then they’ll need 24-hour in-home care to make sure they’re protected at all hours of the day/night. If that’s the case, then you should consider hiring a personal care service, rather than just one or two caregivers.

A caregiver agency will have personal services that can help your loved one in a variety of ways. They can help them with exercising, feeding, grooming, bathing, and whatever else they might need.

They’ll also offer a different range of services, which can be catered to fit your loved one’s need for assistance. For example, they can provide hospice care, post-surgical care, and total care to name a few.
 

4. Find Common Hobbies

Perhaps your loved one is passionate about golf. They eat, sleep, and breathe everything that has to do with the sport. If so, then you’ll want to find a caregiver that shares that common interest.

This way they can start to build a natural friendship that stems from the common hobby, rather than just a professional caregiver-to-patient relationship.

You might also welcome the idea of the caregivers presenting their hobbies to your loved one. For example, they can show them some of their favorite TV shows to watch or a hobby that they enjoy doing.

Even something as small as puzzle-solving can start the path to a beautiful friendship between your loved one and their caregiver. Be sure to try and find common interests in the initial meeting with the personal caregiver that you hire.
 

5. Think Long-Term When Hiring an At-Home Caregiver

Many people struggle with the idea of initially placing their loved one’s well-being into the hands of someone else. It can be hard to deal with the guilt you might face during this time.

However, it’s important to remember the bigger picture. Your loved one is going to need more and more care as they get older. They’ll need constant care, which isn’t possible when you go to your job and run errands for your family.

If you find yourself reluctant to pass the baton to an at-home caregiver, remember that it’s in the best interest of your loved one for the long haul. As their health continues to decline, a professionally-trained caregiver will be there to provide the best care.

The caregiver that you hire will be understanding of your wish to stay as involved as possible. They’ll be sure to give you frequent updates on your loved one and accommodate any preferences that you have on your loved one’s daily routine.
 

Find a Personal Caregiver for Your Loved One Today

Now that you’ve seen several different ways to find a personal caregiver for your loved one, it’s time to start that process.

Be sure to read this article on how to cope with demanding elderly parents if you need a few bits of advice.

Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Tips for Handling Mobility Issues When an Elderly Parent Can’t Walk

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

August 31, 2020


According to the United States Census Bureau, issues with mobility have become the most common disability elderly Americans face. Disability issues create problems with walking, climbing stairs, and overall stability.

When your elderly parents develop mobility issues, you may feel fear or insecurity about leaving them at home alone. The last thing you want is to deal with an elderly parent falling when no one is around to help.

However, there are plenty of solutions for how to help someone who can’t walk that don’t involve moving your loved ones into a nursing home or assisted living facility. What are those solutions?

Read on to find out!
 

Determine If a Mobility Device Can Help

One of the first steps to take is to look into mobility devices. Note that if the mobility device is recommended by a doctor and your parent meets a series of other qualifications, Medicare will cover part or all of the cost for this mobility device. Some of the most used mobility devices are canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and electric scooters.

Canes and walkers are useful if your parent is able to walk but needs additional support in the process. Canes and walkers can help maintain balance and may relieve some of the pressure from your parent’s hips, knees, and ankles.

Wheelchairs and scooters are preferable for elderly people who have limited lower body strength and can no longer walk frequently or at all. If your parent has limited upper body strength, as well, an electric wheelchair is best for them. These do not require as much core strength as an electric scooter or as much arm strength as a manual wheelchair.
 

Address Mobility Barriers Around the Home

Many elderly people prefer to age at home, remaining in an environment that is familiar and brings them feelings of comfort and independence. In many cases, this is perfectly fine! You may just need to address various features of the home that could cause problems for someone with mobility issues.

First, address any areas that could increase your parent’s risk of falling. Trouble areas to focus on are the bathroom, kitchen, and any other rooms with hard flooring. Install non-slip mats as needed and make sure that any area rugs will not trip your parent.

Second, make sure there are adequate handrails that your parent can hold on to for added stability. Once again, focus on the bathroom and install rails in both the tub or shower and next to the toilet. If there are any steps in or around the home, make sure there are sturdy handrails installed on either side.
 

What to Do When Elderly Parent Can’t Walk

If your parent is reliant on a wheelchair, make sure that furniture is not crowded together in a way that will inhibit their wheelchair use. You may also want to invest in a chairlift if your parent has a staircase in their home that they cannot avoid using and replace any steps outside with a ramp. Finally, it may be necessary to get a walk-in tub or shower that is equipped to receive a waterproof wheelchair.
 

Receive Medical Evaluation

Sometimes, mobility issues are exacerbated by other medical conditions. If you find that your loved one’s mobility is worsening, make sure that they go to their doctor to receive a medical evaluation.

Conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, and Parkinson’s can all affect mobility. In some cases, diabetes may also contribute to mobility loss. Oftentimes, additional health factors such as excess weight can make mobility more difficult because it adds strain on the bones and joints.

If your parent has a medical condition that is affecting their mobility, make sure that they are receiving treatment. This may be physical therapy, medication, or surgery. 
 

Bring In Professional At-Home Care

One of the best ways that you can help someone who can’t walk well is to get them at-home care. At-home caregivers can provide a number of services that will ease your elderly parent’s life while they age at home. Let’s take a closer look at just some of the ways that at-home care will help your parent with mobility issues.
 

Toileting, Grooming, and Eating

When mobility grows more difficult, it becomes harder for our parents to meet their basic needs. At-home caregivers can assist with any toileting needs, helping to avoid issues with elderly parent soiling. Caregivers can also assist with grooming, which includes bathing and dressing, and cooking and eating meals.
 

Exercise and Range of Motion Support

Mobility worsens when we lose our range of motion. If walking causes pain or discomfort, your parent may lose interest in exercising and stretching their muscles and joints, which in turn makes their mobility issues even harder to overcome. At-home caregivers can assist with body-appropriate exercises and range of motion activities that will keep your parent active and fit.
 

Transportation

If your parent uses a mobility device, you may be uncomfortable with them getting on and off of buses or in and out of cabs without assistance. Not only can at-home caregivers help with ambulation around the house but they can provide transportation to and from doctor appointments and errands. 
 

Get At-Home Care for Your Parent with Mobility Issues

If your parent is struggling with mobility issues but you know that assisted living isn’t right for them, consider working with an at-home caregiver. That way, you can rest assured that they are taken care of even when you can’t be there!

If you are in Richmond, Charlottesville, or Charleston, read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Being a Caregiver Is Tough! 5 Tips for Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

August 24, 2020


Being a caregiver is often a demanding and relentless responsibility. You can easily lose sight of your own health and well-being when taking care of a loved one, and there will be times when you feel overwhelmed with little to no control over the situation.

Caregiver depression and burnout is a very common result of taking on such a great responsibility. After all, it’s not easy watching an elderly or sick parent fade away over time while there’s nothing you can do about it; and sometimes you just get tired of caring for elderly parents. However, you’re not alone, and you don’t have to suffer from the stress that comes with the job.

If you want to find out what to do about caregiver burnout and how you can avoid it, keep reading.  
 

What Being a Caregiver Means

Being a caregiver often involves many stressors that can have a serious emotional impact over time. Caring for someone else is more than just keeping them company and providing warmth. It’s a long-term relationship full of challenges. One of the biggest challenges that caregivers face is the loss of hope and realizing that their loved one will continue to fade away—despite their best efforts.

Being a caregiver means giving a part of yourself to whomever you’re responsible for. More often than not, a caregiver’s situation isn’t ideal. However, they’ll never admit to the inconvenience this type of situation causes at the risk of making their loved one feel as if they were a burden. They commit to taking care of their loved one wholeheartedly, which can be both exhausting and overwhelming at times.

When left unchecked, the stress of caregiving can lead to a decline in your health, relationships, and state of mind. This is typically defined as “caregiver burnout,” which is a state of complete emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion. A burnt-out caregiver won’t be able to properly care for their loved one or themself, which causes both parties to suffer.     
 

The Signs of Caregiver Burnout

Whether you’re coping with caring for elderly parents or someone you’re close to, the signs and symptoms of burnout can come on slow—but hit you all at once. The stress of the responsibility may be so great that a caretaker’s fatigue goes unnoticed until it’s too late.

That’s why it’s important to recognize these signs and symptoms so that you can avoid caretaker exhaustion:

  • Fatigue—feeling more tired than usually or completely run down
  • Anxiety, depression, irritability
  • Sudden or worsening health issues
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • Lack of focus and clarity
  • Declining from regular, everyday activities and responsibilities
  • Smoking, drinking or eating more as a response to stressors 

The above listed are the signs that the downward spiral of caregiver burnout has begun. They’re often subtle and are written off as “just being tired.” If left unchecked, they can worsen into these symptoms:

  • A consistent loss of energy
  • Becoming sick more often
  • Constant exhaustion no matter how much you sleep or nap
  • Complete negligence of one’s own needs due to fatigue and/or indifference
  • The inability to relax regardless of time off or available help
  • Becoming increasingly impatient and irritable with whomever you’re caring for
  • A loss of satisfaction that caregiving once brought you
  • Constant feelings of helplessness and hopelessness

The signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout don’t just affect the caregiver. It also results in the elderly feeling like a burden, which puts stress on them as well. Of course, caring for a loved one is never a stress-free situation. However, there are ways to avoid becoming burnt out for the sake of your health and well-being—as well as for the sake of the person you’re caring for.
 

How to Avoid Elder Care Burnout

There are plenty of resources out there to help you avoid caregiver burnout. Most importantly, you need to cultivate your own emotional, mental, and physical well-being before you can take care of someone else. Here are five essential tips on how to do just that:  
 

1. Know Your Limits

All relationships need healthy boundaries. There are some things you simply cannot do, and there is only so much you can take emotionally. The trick is figuring out what your limits are—physically, mentally, and emotionally—and knowing when you need to step back. If you’re at capacity emotionally or mentally, or physically feel like there’s something you can’t do, you need to be honest about it and address it. 
 

2. Ask For Help

Part of knowing your limits is knowing when to ask for help. It’s true that caregiving is a choice, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Find someone you can trust to step in when you start feeling overwhelmed or need a break.

It’s important to take time for yourself and practice self-care. You don’t have to feel overwhelmed in order to take a break, either. You can carve out time in your schedule to meet up with friends or take time for your own hobbies to prevent burnout. 
 

3. Be Realistic

You have to be realistic and accepting of your loved one’s disease or condition. This is especially true if it’s a progressive disease. Educate yourself about what they’re dealing with so you know what to expect and accept the fact that you can’t fix them. It’s also important to understand that there may come a time when you need to seek out nursing services or assisted living—and that’s okay!
 

4. Talk to a Professional

Whether you seek out a therapist or a support group for caregivers, it helps to lay your burden down with people who are trained to help you, or with people who are going through the same thing. This can help you manage your stress and make you feel less alone in your situation. It can also open the door to useful resources to help you manage feelings of stress and burnout.   
 

5. Focus Only on What You Can Control

You can’t control what happens in your life. You can only control how you respond. Staying focused on what you can do rather than what you can’t do in stressful situations will go a long way for your mental and emotional health. Part of maintaining this focus is accepting your limitations and understanding that there will be certain things out of your control. 
 

Take Care of Yourself

You can’t pour from an empty cup. Being a caregiver means taking care of yourself too, which means you’ll have to put yourself first from time to time—without feeling guilty. 

Remember, it’s okay to ask for help. That’s what we’re here for. Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

In-Home Respite Care for Elderly Parents

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

August 17, 2020


As you get older, you start to understand that your parents are getting into their golden years. Helping out your parents soon grows from occasional help to a full-time job watching over them.

Being the one and only caregiver to your elderly parents is exhausting, but it doesn’t have to be. In-home respite care can help ease the burden on you while keeping your parents safe and under quality care.

Where do you find respite care for elderly parents? What makes a respite caregiver so unique? To get the most out of it all, let’s dive deeper to understand what makes in-home respite care so positive. 
 

The Basics and Benefits of In-Home Respite Care

When you become a caregiver to any senior, you fill in the gaps in their life and do what they might no longer be able to do. This can include shopping for groceries, helping them move around the house, cleaning and repairing their house, and even giving personal care such as bathing and dressing. 

This can become a full-time job, which is exhausting to maintain if you already have a career of your own. You do it for the sake of your parents, but you can only do so much before you can’t anymore. That is where in-home respite care comes in.

Where you fill in the gaps that your parents can’t do, a respite caregiver fills in the gaps that you can no longer do. There are a number of benefits to this, so let’s go over them and show you how important respite care for caregivers can be. 
 

1. Giving You a Chance to Recharge

When you are a caregiver for your parent, it takes up most of your free time. This can be fine every once in a while, but for your own mental health, you need to find time to recharge.

Even a few hours to enjoy a hobby or socialize can work wonders. This isn’t only for fun, this lets you come back to your duties as the primary caregiver with refreshed energy and a better grip on why you do this. Don’t give up the enjoyments of life to ensure the comfort of others, it only hurts you both. 
 

2. Letting You Leave for Important Business

Sometimes it isn’t a chance to recharge that you seek, but the needs of your other jobs and duties. If you travel for work, in-home respite care can be a blessing. Now you can leave and work with peace of mind knowing your parents are in competent hands. 

Even if you are running an errand for your parents, a respite caregiver can help to keep a close eye on your parents while you are out. This can be a lifesaver if your parents need critical care. 
 

3. Finding Your Own Identity

Being a caregiver is an important task. Taking it up is a valuable cause, but it should not be your identity. If your entire life is being a caregiver to your parents, then you are not living your own life. No matter their needs, a parent would want you to still be you.

A respite caregiver lets you go out and have your own life. You deserve your own happiness on your own terms, and respite care for elderly parents lets you find that and give your parents the care they need. 
 

4. Providing a Fresh Look Toward Caregiving

Sometimes the biggest benefit of a respite caregiver isn’t how they can help carry the burden, but what their training can provide. A respite caregiver is a professional caretaker and may spot problems that you can miss. They also know the most efficient way to go about some daily tasks.

This means that even if you don’t need a caregiver full-time, they can still provide insight into giving better care. 
 

What Qualifications Does a Respite Caregiver Have?

Finding in-home respite care for your parents isn’t always easy. You want someone who has qualifications of a quality caregiver, works well with your parents, and comes from an affordable and extensive service. 

We at Commonwise Home Care hire the highest quality candidates. The training we give them helps them provide the utmost care at industry standards. Whether your needs are small or major, our employees have the flexibility to fit your needs.

We provide service to communities like Charlottesville, Richmond, and Charleston. 
 

Types of In-Home Respite Care for Elderly Parents

When you are looking for quality in-home respite care, there are 2 major levels that you can aim for. These dictate the involvement of your respite caregiver. 
 

1. Companion Care

Companion care is the more basic level of respite caregiver service. This includes cooking meals, cleaning around the house, and running errands. Sometimes companion care can be as simple as providing a friendly presence in the home to combat loneliness.
 

2. Personal Care Assistant

Personal care assistants cover more intensive care methods. These are often items that take a very delicate hand and a calming personality, as they can be embarrassing to need help with. This includes bathing, toileting, dressing, and grooming. 

Personal care assistants can also help to ensure that your elderly parents take any and all medication they need. 
 

Including the Family in In-Home Respite Care

Taking on a respite caregiver is a huge deal. Respite care companies provide a lot of benefits, but in-home respite care services still involve bringing a relative stranger into your home and into your life. It can be hard to make the decision by yourself.

When in doubt, include the rest of your family into this decision, from other siblings to your parents and other older relatives. It is not a slight on your own ability to look for a respite caregiver. You must make sure the family understands what you need to keep your parents in good care. 

Often the biggest obstacle is convincing your own parents that you all need additional care. Letting someone into their home to provide personal care is a big step, so do it together. 
 

Finding the Best Respite Caregiver With Commonwise Home Care

There is no shame in finding vacation respite care for elderly parents. It does not mean you love them less. Instead, finding a respite caregiver so that both you and your parents have a better and happier life shows how much you do care.

For the best In-home respite care, we here at Commonwise Home Care provide the expertise and compassion to make respite care possible. We have a host of options to give aged care respite, so look over our services to find the best plans for you or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

 

Don’t Do It Alone: 6 Tips for Finding Help With Caring for an Elderly Parent

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

August 10, 2020


It’s easy to feel alone when caring for an elderly parent. Despite the fact that 17% of adults find themselves in the position of caregiver to their mother or father, it’s a stunning and difficult thing to need to go through.

Because of this, it’s crucial that you take the necessary steps to make it easier for both yourself and your family. Help with elder care, potentially with an in-home caretaker, can make a big difference.

Here, we’re going to discuss some of the things you need to do when your parent can no longer take care of themselves. Read on to learn some tips for making your parent’s senior years more comfortable while keeping yourself sane.
 

1. Assess Your Parent’s Needs

The first thing that you need to do is assess your aging parent’s needs. The steps that you take in the future depend on what your parents need help with.

Are you finding that your parent needs help with personal hygiene and moving around? In this situation, your loved one will need more attention and energy than if they simply are forgetful and lonely.

Consider what assistance you think your parent needs. Make sure that you’re realistic in your thought process. If you overestimate your parent’s hardships, you may end up spending unnecessary money and energy. If you underestimate the issues that they’re having, though, you won’t be able to get your parent sufficient help. This means that they’ll continue to struggle, which you, of course, want to avoid.
 

2. Talk to Your Parent

One of the most painful and frustrating things about aging is that you get left out of making decisions that directly affect you.

To make sure that your parent doesn’t undergo these frustrations. Talk to your parent about the things that they’re most struggling with and make sure that you listen actively. In fact, you may want to jot a few notes down to ensure that both of you remember what you talked about!

Ask your parent what sort of help they think that they need. While they may not provide you with a fully accurate and realistic assessment, they’re sure to give you a starting point in figuring out what to look for.
 

3. Research Helpful Government Resources

There are a multitude of government resources for the elderly to look into. While these resources alone aren’t going to keep your parent comfortable, you might be able to take advantage of the programs that will benefit them.

One resource that you absolutely must be taking advantage of is medicare. Since your parent probably isn’t working a job that gives them health benefits, they need to get them through the government. If they become sick or have an accident, this will ensure that they can receive affordable and high-quality healthcare.

The Administration of the Aging (AoA) is another great program. It allows your parent to get free help with long-term care planning, health insurance counseling, and legal assistance (when applicable). Do your research and look into services like these.
 

4. Make Sure Their Home Is Safe

If you’re taking care of elderly parents in your home (or in theirs), you’ll need to make sure that it’s a safe place for them. This is especially the case if your parent is forgetful or gets easily confused.

Make sure that the floors are clean and clear of clutter. If your parent gets up to walk around or use the restroom, it would be a disaster if they tripped and fell. To prevent them from hurting themselves, make sure that they have a clear path to get up and move around.

You also will need to make sure that the appliances that they use are working and within reach. You don’t want them to hurt themselves by reaching around things or trying to move too deeply into dark, cramped closets. On a related note, make sure that all light switches are easily accessible and that lights around the home are bright.

Add railings and handlebars to places where your parent might need to walk or bend down. This includes the kitchen and bathroom. You don’t want them to need to bend down low, so be conscious of where you put things (and install railings).
 

5. Look Into Home Care Options

Caring for an elderly parent on your own is incredibly draining, which means that you likely are going to need help.

Don’t worry- help is closer than it seems. In-home caregiving is an incredibly simple and comfortable process. An in-home caregiver will come over at the times specified and help your parent with everyday activities. These activities range from cleaning up the house and helping with bathing and hygiene to simply providing companionship.

You will be able to spend quality time with your parent that doesn’t involve cleaning them up or brushing their teeth. This will ensure that your parent-child relationship flourishes.

Also, unlike sending your parent to a nursing home, home care allows them to be in a familiar and comfortable environment 24/7. They won’t need to uproot themselves and lose touch with the routines and rituals that they loved. You and other family members can also be with them whenever you like, which helps with feelings of isolation. There are many options as to how to hire in-home caregivers.
 

6. Talk to an Expert

Once you decide to take the leap and hire home care services, you’re going to want to talk to an expert caregiver. Make sure that you ask questions like:

  • What sorts of services do you provide?
  • What are your goals for providing home care?
  • How much do your services cost?
  • How often can you come to care for my parent?
  • Can I be there while you are with my loved one?

Make sure that you inquire about all relevant considerations before signing. Also, ask what sort of services they believe your parent will need. Seeing whether or not a trained professional’s assessment matches up to yours can tell you how well you are doing at assessing your parent’s needs.
 

Find Help Caring for an Elderly Parent

Taking care of elderly parents is a difficult endeavor, both emotionally and physically. That’s why it’s only natural that you may need help during this time. Make sure that you take care not only of your parents but also of your own mental and physical well-being. After all, you won’t be helpful to anyone if you’re drained and tired all the time!

Now that you know the first steps of caring for an elderly parent, it’s time to get started. We at Commonwise Home Care provide personal care services and companionship so that your loved one can remain comfortable and happy even as they age.

Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

 

Tips for Caring for Older Parents at Home

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

July 27, 2020


Most seniors are happy to age in place in the homes they have always lived in. However, when health issues take over, it may be time for assisted living — whether it’s in a senior care community or in the home of an adult child.

Assisted living is usually the first step in a senior’s long-term care plan, whereafter respite care may become necessary. In-home care is a good way to save money while keeping an elderly parent comfortable, but living with elderly parents can also be taxing on the caregiver and surrounding family members and figuring out how to take care of aging parents can be difficult. Moving elderly parents into your home might be a good fit for some, but it’s important to consider all of the options, first.

Here are a few elderly care tips for aging parents.
 

A Guide to Taking Care of an Elderly Parent in Your Home

For many adults, the responsibility of caring for an elderly parent tends to occur around the same time they head into retirement.

But the in-home care of an ill or frail parent could happen at any stage in your life — this is why it’s so important to know how to handle the responsibility. Here are some pieces of advice for caregivers of elderly parents to help you adjust: 
 

1. Assess How Much Care is Needed

Your first and most important step is to assess how much care an elderly parent needs. Be wary of taking on too much responsibility too early on. This is a fast-track way to become overwhelmed and you may quickly lose sight of the bigger picture or begin to overlook your own health.

Create a list of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks to help you get a good idea of the type of care that’s required. This will also give a clear picture of how much help is needed during the day, at night, or over weekends.

In order to compile a comprehensive list, keep a notepad handy, and make a note of each time your elderly parent needs help with a certain task. After a week you should have a detailed overview of the scope of care that’s needed. 
 

2. Be Realistic About What You Can Provide 

Once you have a clear idea of what your parent’s needs are, you need to assess how much of it you can handle without additional help. If you know there are tasks that are out of your capacity, it’s important to be honest about it with your parent and yourself.  

Be realistic about how much care you can provide without sacrificing your own health, your relationships, and other responsibilities. If you take on too much, you could burn out, which would leave you unable to care for anyone. To a greater or lesser extent, it’s important to have help looking after elderly parents. Taking care of seniors has its own challenges, as well as rewards.
 

3. Get the Help You Need (Without Feeling Guilty!)

Remember that there is no shame in hiring the additional help you need. If you know you can’t do it all, but want to be able to provide the best possible care for your parent, then find the help you can afford. Sourcing the best services may take time and effort initially, but it’s an investment that will pay off down-the-line.

Additional support includes: 

  • Enrolling your parent in an adult day program which allows them to socialize, and you to rest 
  • Hiring a caregiver that helps out around the house on a daily basis 
  • Sourcing a volunteer senior companion who is willing to visit and take your parent out on excursions 
  • Eliminating errands by buying caregiving supplies in bulk for home delivery 

There is also no shame in asking close friends and other family members to run simple errands for you, to help with small housekeeping tasks, or to prepare a meal or two when you need it. 
 

4. Share the Load When You Need To 

Aside from asking for help with your caregiving tasks, it’s also important to share the responsibility and take a break when you need it. You may be doing a great job of caring for an elderly parent, but nobody is going to know you need help if you don’t ask for it. 

It’s fine to ask a sibling, a spouse, a close relative or friend to share your caregiving responsibility for a day or even a weekend. This allows you some much-needed time away and a chance to rest, recuperate, and return with energy. 

With this in mind, remember that getting help from family members and friends is different in every situation. Try to be creative and flexible in your approach to sharing the load. 
 

5. Make the Most of Easy, Ready-Made Meal Services

It’s no secret that the nutritional needs of seniors is exceptionally important — especially if they are ill or fighting off disease. Many seniors are also at risk of malnutrition due to a lack of appetite, depression, anxiety, and other factors. 

Shopping for food and making every single meal from scratch can be a lot of work, so make the most of simple, tasty, and affordable meal services in your area. This means your kitchen is always stocked with ready-made meals so your elderly parent doesn’t skip meals and meets their nutritional needs on a daily basis. 

Providing regular access to healthy, nutritious meals will help to boost their overall health, while a ready-made meal service helps to take the pressure off.
 

6. Find the Financial Support You Need 

Caring for an elderly parent can really add up over time. This could eventually place a serious financial burden on your shoulders. A good way to reduce the financial weight of caring for an elderly parent is to seek out the financial support you need before it all becomes too much.

A few simple suggestions include finding government and private benefits programs that cover some of the costs of supporting an elderly parent. If your parent receives a pension fund, talk with them and the family about using some of this to pay yourself as the family caregiver.

Look for reduced cost prescription medications or speak to an attorney about spending down in order to qualify for Medicaid
 

7. Don’t Neglect Self-Care 

One of the most important aspects of caregiving is to put yourself first, before caring for others. If your health fails, who will look after your loved ones?

Prioritize your self-care by nourishing your body with healthy, nutritious meals. Make sure you get enough good quality sleep, drink plenty of water, if you have the time and energy, exercise at least 3 times per week. Most importantly, if you need a break, or if you need help — ask for it! 
 

Find Reliable, Intuitive Caregiving With Commonwise Home Care

Taking care of an elderly parent in your home is not always an easy task. But with Commonwise Home Care, you have the caregiving support both you and your parent needs. 

Our services range from personal care, full in-home care, companionship services, care management services, and more. We are devoted to providing a reliable support network you can count on. Take a look at the at-home care services we offer at Commonwise Home Care or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

How to Be a Good, Caring Son or Daughter and Keep a Healthy Marriage

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

July 20, 2020


If you’re currently in a situation where you’re providing care to an elderly parent, you’re not alone.
Over 40 million people are providing unpaid elderly care in the United States. Many of these people have families themselves and might be struggling to find a proper balance. If you’re in this situation, you might find yourself choosing between your spouse and your parents.

One of the biggest challenges is trying to make a marriage work, despite the time commitment required for the caregiving of an aging parent. After all, maintaining a marriage is a full-time job in itself. Adding on more obligations can lead to problems with your spouse, or guilt that you’re not doing enough for your elderly parent.

Trying to do it all is nearly impossible, and that’s completely normal. While you may love your parent, keeping a healthy marriage is also an important part of your life. You shouldn’t need to choose one or the other in order to keep things running smoothly.

Managing the stress and responsibilities of elderly care isn’t easy, but it’s definitely possible. Read on for our guide on caring for an elderly parent while maintaining a healthy marriage.
 

Maintaining Open Communication for a Healthy Marriage

One of the most important things for a healthy marriage is open and candid communication. This is especially important when you’re trying to be a caregiver while still giving your spouse the attention they deserve.

Bottling up your thoughts and emotions can dissolve a healthy marriage and take a huge toll on your mental health. Plus, if your spouse feels like they can’t express their thoughts to you, then they’ll be equally unhappy in the partnership.

To make sure everyone stays happy, be sure you’re nurturing the communication aspect of your relationship. Be honest with your spouse if you are stressed or upset. If you feel like you’re taking on too much, communicate that to them as well.
 

Staying Organized

When you’re caregiving for an elderly parent, you’re taking on a lot. Trying to balance this with your other responsibilities can be a lot for anyone to handle. Plus, remembering it all can be impossible.

To make sure you stay on top of things, come up with ways to stay organized. Writing things down is helpful and can ensure you remember everything you’ve been asked to do.

For example, if you’ve got an errand to run, a bill to pay, or a meal to plan, write it down. Keeping a checklist will ensure you take care of your responsibilities for your spouse before you get wrapped up in the needs of your elderly parent. This will help you keep up a healthy marriage without neglecting your caregiving obligations.
 

Managing Stress

Roughly a third of the people providing elderly care would describe the situation as stressful. When you’re trying to maintain a healthy marriage on top of it, it becomes even more of a burden. There are many ways to preserve marriage, and stress is a key determining factor.

Stress is extremely unhealthy, both for you and your marriage. If you’re constantly stressed, then you won’t be the version of yourself that your spouse deserves. Stress can make you irritable and depressed, leading you to hurt your spouse’s feelings or make them feel like you don’t care.

This is why it’s important to find your own ways to manage stress. Take time to do activities you enjoy, such as exercising, reading, or going for a walk. Remember not to neglect yourself, even though you’re taking on a lot.
 

Setting Healthy Boundaries

If your elderly parent is being too demanding, you have to learn where to draw the line. You can only do so much, and you’ve got your own life to worry about.

Rather than taking on an unhealthy amount of responsibilities, let your elderly parent know your boundaries. If you’re wondering how to care for an elderly parent in your home, seek out the help of an in-home care provider to keep everyone happy. Caring for an aging parent in your home is possible, with the help of an in-home caregiver. That way, your parent will get the care they need and you can focus on your life again.
 

Prioritizing Your Spouse

As much as you love your parents, it’s important to put your spouse first. You’ve chosen them to spend your life with, and you should prioritize your healthy marriage first and foremost.

This doesn’t mean you need to choose between your elderly parent and your spouse. Even when things seem hard, it’s still possible to do what’s best for both of them. You don’t have to take on elderly care all on your own; you have options to ease the burden and start focusing on your own life.
 

An Elderly Parent is Ruining My Marriage: Now What?

If you’re still struggling to keep up with elderly care while maintaining a healthy marriage, don’t be hard on yourself. You can only do so much. Trying to do it all can take a huge toll on your life as well as your mental health.

When caregiving for elderly parents becomes too much, it’s vital to seek help. This will allow you to keep your marriage while still ensuring that your parent gets the assistance they need.

For starters, consider any other family members who can temporarily take over for a week or so. That way, you can take a vacation with your spouse and work on maintaining your healthy marriage. Even if this isn’t possible, finding someone to look after your elderly parents for even a weekend can make a huge difference.

In addition to that, adding an in-home care provider can ease a lot of the day-to-day burdens that come with caregiving for elderly parents. They can provide a variety of services that free up your time, including feeding, dressing, grooming, hygiene, toileting, and assisting with exercise. This can help out when you’re trying to do what’s best for your elderly parent while still maintaining a healthy marriage with your spouse.
 

Caregiving While Maintaining a Healthy Marriage

One of the most important things to remember is this: you shouldn’t take everything on yourself. You also don’t have to choose between your elderly parent and your spouse.

An in-home care provider can help you with the daily care of your elderly parent while still allowing them to remain in your household. Now that you know more about managing elderly care while maintaining a healthy marriage, seek the help you need today.

Whether you’re looking for at-home personal care or companionship services, we have you covered. Contact us today. Our phone lines are open 24/7, and we’d love to help you find the right care for your loved one.

Making Sacrifices for Family

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

July 13, 2020


Life can become a bit of a rollercoaster when you have elderly parents to take care of. You want to offer them the best care and assistance possible, but at the same time, you’ve got your own life to live and can only do so much. 

Some 8.3 million adults receive some form of elderly care each year. 

A large number of people find themselves taking on the effort of being the sole caregiver for their parents. 
 

Assess Whether Caring For Your Elderly Parents is Taking Too Great a Toll

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with taking care of your elderly parents. As a matter of fact, it’s admirable.

However, you could be taking on too much in the process. Here are some signs that you’re taking on more than you can handle, and should consider bringing in professional help. 
 

1. You’re Not Able to Live Prosperously

A big sign that you’re taking on more than you can handle is that you’re not considering your own life anymore. If your hopes, dreams, and goals aren’t taking priority in your life, you need to take a step back and breathe. 

Set benchmarks in your life and be sure that you are pressing forward to accomplish them no matter what. 
 

2. You Find Yourself Stressed and Dealing With Anxiety

When you have undue stress and anxiety in your life from taking care of your parents, it can be more detrimental than you think. You can even begin experiencing stress to the point that it creates physical pain and suffering. 

More than 11 percent of people who serve as caretakers even experience a physical breakdown in their health. 

If you’re losing your own health while taking care of your parents, you’ll need to take a step back and consider the situation. 
 

3. You’re Spending Too Much Money Doing it All Yourself

When you’re acting as a sole caregiver, you’re often flying by the seat of your pants. Rather than having professional care that you pay a flat fee for, you’re constantly burning gas money, buying supplies, filling prescriptions, and more. 

These expenses can add up if you aren’t careful, to the point that you go into crippling debt. 
 

4. You’ve Had to Quit Your Job or Sacrifice Too Much

You’re definitely facing an uphill battle if caretaking has made you sacrifice your work. Whether that means you’ve lost your job or future opportunities, you may find yourself in financial ruin that you can’t bounce back from. 

In fact, about 67 percent of bankruptcy situations happen due to medical bills. 
 

5. You Aren’t Equipped to Give Them the Care That They Need

It’s also best to leave the care of your elderly parents to professionals if you can’t offer them adequate assistance. 

This is especially important if your loved ones have serious physical limitations or cognitive issues. Getting the help of a professional that is equipped to take care of them will be ideal for you both. 
 

Don’t Do it Alone

Whew. Take a deep breath and realize that you absolutely don’t have to do it all yourself. Hiring a professional will be best for you both, and will help you take a load off your mental health. It’s important to know when it’s time to get help taking care of elderly parents.

Here are some of the professional services that can help you out:
 

1. Companies Can Set You Up With Personal Care Services

When your elderly parents need personal care on an ongoing basis, professionals will be helpful. Some of the services that professionals can offer include feeding your parent, helping with bathing and using the bathroom, providing exercise opportunities, and helping them get dressed. 

This is important if your parents have day-to-day living needs. 
 

2. Home Care Services Can Look After Specialized Healthcare Needs

A professional is especially helpful when your loved one has specific needs. This might include things like care for patients who have Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

They can also help your parent rest and recuperate if they have had some sort of surgery or medical procedure. For the child of an aging parent, this kind of break can be just what caregivers need.
 

3. Professionals Can Also Offer Companionship 

Human beings require companionship — never lose sight of this fact. Your parents can get lonely over time — especially if you have things going on in your life and aren’t able to provide full-time care. 

Professionals can also offer companionship that can make up for this. In addition to spending time together and having a friend they can talk to, these professionals can also handle things like taking care of bills and errands. 
 

4. They Have the Training That Will Give Your Loved Ones Much-Needed Expertise

With a long-term caregiver, ou’ll know that you are getting top-notch care from professionals that are properly trained and certified. This means holding certifications in things like dementia care, hospice care, and post-acute care — in addition to backgrounds like nursing. 

This way, you will know your parent is getting care that is better than what you can do on your own. 
 

5. Make Sure You Can Afford the Elderly Care Services

Finally, be sure that you budget some money and plan out the care that your parent needs. Look into their Medicare and Medicaid plans and find an elderly care services company that you can afford. 

Shop with a few different companies so that they’re looked after without it being too expensive. 
 

Give Your Loved Ones the Care They Need

Elderly parents require some TLC, but you also need to live a life of your own. You’ll get the best of both worlds when you hire the help of a professional elderly care company. 

Commonwise Home Care can help you with whatever kinds of services you need. 

We have offices in Richmond, Charlottesville, and Charleston. Take the time to contact us in order to give your loved ones the care that they need. 

Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

 

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Reasons to Consider Putting Elderly Parents in a Nursing Home

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

July 10, 2020


According to recent statistics, there are about 1.5 million Americans currently living in nursing homes.

This may sound like a lot, but it does tell you that you’re far from alone when making the decision when to put a loved one into a nursing home.

Here, we’re going to discuss some of the most common reasons for putting elderly parents in nursing homes. Read on for some help in making the difficult choice of whether or not it’s time to take this route.
 

They Can’t Take Care of Themselves

If your loved one can’t care for themselves, this is a surefire sign that they may need assisted living. Some other signs about when is it time to place a parent in a nursing home are:

  • Your loved one needs help eating, using the restroom, standing, walking, laying down, and performing personal hygiene routines
  • Your loved one no longer remembers to eat, bathe, or perform other important rituals
  • Your loved one is often confused and forgetful
  • Your loved one ends up in dangerous situations because of their confusion

However, while a nursing home is a viable option, it isn’t a good idea to immediately put your loved one into these facilities.

There are some advantages of at-home care that nursing homes can’t provide. For one thing, you will be able to spend much more time with your family member. Since you no longer will need to be the primary caregiver, you will have more time to relax with your loved one. You can talk, play games, watch movies, and allow them to feel relaxed and loved.

At-home care also provides your parents with a more comfortable and familiar environment to rest in. They won’t be confused by the change of scenery and lack of familiar faces.
 

You Are Feeling Constantly Drained

When you need to care for an elderly parent on your own, you likely will come out feeling drained and mentally unwell. After all, it’s both physically demanding and emotionally grueling to oversee the care of someone you love when they’re unable to do it for themselves.

Making a nursing home placement decision may make you feel guilty, but it truly is for the best. If you are unwell or unhappy, your mood will rub off onto your elderly parents and further distress them. You also will not be able to help them when you’re physically drained and exhausted since you can’t focus all of your energy on them.

However, just because you can’t take care of your loved one alone does not mean they have to immediately be placed into a nursing home. There are at-home care options that can make your life easier and allow you to get the rest that you need and deserve. They can also help your parents to feel less lonely because they will have the ability to accept visitors at any time. Additionally, an at-home caregiver will provide your parents with companionship.
 

Professional Care Is Required

When professional care is required to ensure that your parent has the means to live comfortably, many people determine that their parent needs to go to a nursing home. This is a completely valid decision because it allows them to get the opportunity for expert care 24/7. Nursing homes also provide an established community that your parent can become a part of and host activities meant to engage seniors.

However, what if your parent refuses to go to a nursing home? What if they want to stay in their own house?

In-home care provides an alternative that allows your parent to get professional care. This is a good choice when your parent is partially self-sufficient or when you can take over caring for them during some hours. Make sure that you do your research and consider this potentially more comfortable option before deciding to put a loved one into a nursing home.
 

You Don’t Live Nearby

While you likely are willing to stay at home and help your aging parents, this may not be possible for extended periods of time. Jobs and other obligations may get in the way, and it’s unfair to expect you to quit your job or put your career on hold indefinitely.

Having an at-home caregiver will work if your parents are at least in part self-sufficient. When they aren’t, though, a nursing home might be your best bet. You can ensure that your loved ones are getting the care that they need, whenever they need it.

You can then go back to your regular home, life, and career. While this will likely make you feel guilty, remember that you and your livelihood are also important. You can always come to visit your parents for long weekends and spend time with them. Plus, Skype chats make remote visits possible, too!
 

You’ve Exhausted the Alternatives

While at-home care is a more comfortable and generally superior alternative to a nursing home, it can sometimes not be enough.

After trying at-home alternatives, you may determine it best to find a good home for your parents. When doing your research, look into the credentials of the professionals that work in the facility that you are considering. Also, make sure that the reviews of the community are positive. You may even want to schedule a visit to the nursing home and make sure that the building is well-maintained and the residents are happy.

While a nursing home may feel like a last resort, it sometimes truly is the correct choice.
 

Beyond Reasons for Putting Elderly Parents in Nursing Homes

Now that you know some reasons for putting elderly parents in nursing homes, it’s time to get started. 

Look into the services provided by Commonwise Home Care so that you can develop a greater understanding of your role in caring for your loved ones. From personal services to home care services and companionship, our nurturing and caring experts will make your parents into their top priority.

We know that this is a difficult time, but remember: you’re not alone.

Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.
 
Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

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