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.

A Basic Guide to Getting Power of Attorney for Elderly Parents

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

November 2, 2020


It can be scary how quickly time changes things. At one point in your life, your parents were helping you make big decisions. They taught you to drive, helped you when you were sick, and taught you how to handle money.

Now as they age, the tables have turned. You are finding yourself in a position where you need to help your parents with some of the same decisions they once guided you on. 

Do you need to get a power of attorney (POA) for an elderly parent? Are you starting to see signs that your aging parents need more help and support? Are you wondering how to get power of attorney for a parent with dementia?

If you feel like it might be time to protect your parents and make sure you have the legal right to make decisions on their behalf, read on to learn all about becoming a power of attorney for elderly parents.

 

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney gives one person the legal power to make decisions on behalf of another person. Depending on the type of power of attorney, those decisions might be legal, financial, or medical.

As parents age and need more help, many children opt to get a power of attorney for aging parents to help them in making decisions. If you are granted the power of attorney from a parent, then you are considered the agent. The parent granting the power of attorney is considered the principal. It can be hard to know what to do when an elderly parent is mentally incompetent, but a power of attorney can help make the situation easier to navigate.

 

What Rights Does the Principal Have With a Power of Attorney for Older Parents?

When a parent agrees to grant a power of attorney, they can also make decisions about what kind of authority they want to grant. In essence, the power of attorney can be granted the right and task of making decisions for elderly parents. 

The agent acting as power of attorney can make financial decisions. They can sign checks and move money around as needed, for example. It’s important to make sure the bank your parents work with will recognize your power of attorney paperwork. While they should if it’s done correctly, many banks have their own power of attorney paperwork.

The agent can also make medical decisions on behalf of the principal. This would include signing for treatments and deciding when to grant treatment and when not to.

They can also make general welfare decisions on behalf of the parent. 

 

Types of Power of Attorney

As you consider getting a power of attorney paperwork drawn up, you might also consider the type that will work best for you. Many parents are reluctant to give up the autonomy they have as adults. It might not be that they don’t trust their kids. It is more that knowing someone else is making decisions for them can be hard. 

There are several different types of power of attorney to consider based on your individual needs. It’s important to not wait too long to complete this process. You need your parent to be signing this paperwork when they are of a good mind if possible. 

 

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney is the most basic type of elder care power of attorney. It covers a variety of options and gives the agent authority to make decisions in a variety of scenarios. These might include:

  • Signing documents for the principal
  • Handling banking matters like opening and closing accounts or making withdrawals of money
  • Asset management
  • Handling real estate in the name of the principal
  • Paying bills
  • Managing commitments

Many will refer to this type of power of attorney as a financial POA since much of what the agent will do involves making financial decisions.

 

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney gives the agent the authority to make all medical decisions on behalf of the principal. This might include things like:

  • Medical therapy
  • Surgery release
  • Medical treatments
  • Whether to put in or remove feeding tubes
  • Health care selection including senior living choices
  • Organ donation

This is another important time to make sure your parent has granted you this type of authority before they are considered incapable of making this decision in their right mind. 

 

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney allows the agent to make all types of decisions on behalf of the parent. This is often the most comprehensive option to choose when getting this paperwork arranged. It allows you, as the agent, to make all decisions on behalf of your parent no matter their condition or state of mind. 

 

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney grants the agent POA authority for either limited decision making or for a limited period of time. This is not always the best choice for an aging parent as you would need to keep doing the paperwork again and again as it expires. 

You might, however, get a limited power of attorney, if your parent wanted you to handle something specific on their behalf. 

 

Springing Power of Attorney

A springing power of attorney is sometimes a good option for the parent who is reluctant to sign the immediate POA paperwork, saying they want to retain their autonomy.

In the case of a springing POA, the agent doesn’t retain the power to make any decisions until the principal is declared incompetent. Only then can a springing power of attorney go into effect. 

 

The Process of Getting a Power of Attorney for Seniors

The sooner you can go through the process to get a power of attorney with an elderly parent, the better. It is best if they still have their faculties as the process is smoother and doesn’t need to involve the courts. Having an elderly parent declared incompetent is something you’ll want to avoid having to do for everyone’s sake.

First, talk with your parent. Explain a power of attorney and how it will help you provide care for them. Write out the power of attorney. It’s best if you have an attorney do this step or find a free form online. Make sure the parties involved in the POA are clearly identified. 

If it is important to your parents, you can identify specifics for what authority it gives you. You will want the paperwork witnessed, too. 

 

Understanding the Process to Get Power of Attorney From an Elderly Parent

Now that you understand how to get power of attorney from an elderly parent, it’s important to do it sooner, rather than later. You don’t want to wait too long and risk your parent not understanding. 

Whether you’re a senior in need of a helping hand or wondering how to get help caring for an elderly parent, read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Dehydration and Aging: A New Solution to an Old Problem

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

October 26, 2020


Dehydration is the most common fluid and electrolyte problem among the elderly population. Dehydration in seniors can be a problem when it comes to their daily function. Do you ever wonder: “why are older adults at risk for dehydration?”

Learning about dehydration can help you understand why consequences of dehydration in elderly adults can be more serious. You can also learn how to come up with new approaches to ensure adequate hydration in the elderly.

To learn more about dehydration and aging, keep reading. We have compiled information about hydration in the elderly and some tips for making sure that your loved one is adequately hydrated.

 

Why are the Elderly More Susceptible to Becoming Dehydrated?

Dehydration is more common in older adults because of their level of susceptibility to many of the risk factors of dehydration. Dehydration is simply an overt loss of fluid within the body. There are many ways that our body can expend too much fluid. Nonetheless, hydration in seniors is very important, and causes of dehydration must not be overlooked.

There are several different causes of dehydration in older adults:

Medications can cause dehydration. You may want to look into what medications your loved ones are taking. They could be taking a pill that causes an increase in urination, such as a diuretic or blood pressure pill.

If you do find that the medication may be causing the dehydration, you will want to make sure that your loved one is taking in enough fluids to replace what is being lost.

Health conditions can cause dehydration. Some health conditions can also cause a loss in fluids, whether by symptoms or mechanisms. For example, diabetes and kidney disease can both cause someone to urinate more frequently.

If you find that your loved one has a health condition that causes fluid loss, you may want to consult a doctor about how to combat this. When in doubt, have them drink more water.

Illness can cause dehydration. Depending on the illness, there may be symptoms that can cause dehydration. For example, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever can all cause dehydration.

If you think this may be the issue, you should encourage your loved one to drink water to replace the lost fluids. However, some people may not be able to keep these fluids down. At that point, you should consult a physician.

Heat exposure can cause dehydration. Your loved one may be spending a lot of time in hot or humid environments. This can also cause a loss of fluid through sweating.

You should make sure that your loved one has access to things like air conditioning, a fan, and other cooling agents to prevent fluid loss. You should keep in mind that elderly people have trouble keeping a constant body temperature, causing them to be more susceptible to high temperatures.

Mobility issues can cause dehydration. Believe it or not, the ability for your senior to get up and get water can actually cause dehydration. If they can’t get up to get a glass and fill it with water, they’re less likely to drink water.

Make sure that your senior has access to water whenever they need it. The more convenient it is, the more likely they are to drink it.

 

What Are the Symptoms of Dehydration?

There are several symptoms that you can look out for when it comes to dehydration in seniors. Some of the most common signs and symptoms include dry mouth, generalized weakness, a decrease in the frequency of urination, dark urine, generalized body aches, and lightheadedness.

There are some more serious symptoms that come with urgent dehydration. If you find that your loved one has any of these symptoms, you should seek out medical attention for them as soon as possible:

  • Fast heart rate
  • Fainting
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Trouble walking

 

What Could Happen If They Don’t Receive Medical Attention?

If you find that your loved one has any of the more serious symptoms, you should make sure that they get medical attention. If they don’t receive medical attention, you could be looking at some serious complications.

Your loved one could develop heat exhaustion or heat stroke if their dehydration was caused by high temperatures.

They could also develop seizure-like activity. This is the body’s response to low levels of potassium and sodium. Without enough water, these electrolytes will deplete, making it key to keenly look out for geriatric dehydration symptoms.

Your loved one could also develop urinary and/or kidney problems. There are several different conditions that they could develop, including urinary tract infections, kidney stones, kidney failure, kidney infection, and more.

Arguably, the most serious condition that your loved one could be facing if their dehydration goes untreated is hypovolemic shock. This is a complication of dehydration that is marked by low blood pressure and low oxygen levels. It is your body’s response to having lower than normal blood volume levels due to the decrease in fluids.

 

How Can I Help Prevent Dehydration?

If you’re looking to prevent dehydration in your loved one, there are several tips and tricks for how to increase fluid intake in elderly adults:

  • Encourage your loved one to drink water throughout the day. It may help to have specific goals to meet at different times in the day.
  • Let them know that taking small sips of water is okay as many elderly adults complain that drinking too much liquid causes nausea and stomach pain.
  • You should encourage your loved one to eat more foods that have a higher water content. Many of these foods are fruits and vegetables that you can include in their regular diet. Soups are also high in water content and easier for some seniors to ingest.

 

How Can I Ensure My Loved One’s Care?

If you’re looking for more help to ensure that your loved one does not suffer from dehydration, you should look into home care. At Commonwise, we pride ourselves on our ability to give wonderful at-home personal care.

We have a variety of services that your family might find useful, especially if you believe that your loved one may suffer from dehydration or another illness in the future.

Contact us today to make your first at-home appointment. 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.

A Complete Guide to Senior Events in Richmond, VA

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

October 19, 2020


Studies have linked loneliness in elderly people to serious conditions like dementia, so it’s vitally important for seniors to stay engaged in social activities for as long as possible. Simply attending events isn’t enough, seniors need to find things that excite them and get them fully involved with their peers.

If you or your elderly parents live in Richmond, you’re in luck. This city has plenty to offer in the line of appropriate senior events and get-togethers. 

These are some of the top senior events Richmond, VA has to offer.

 

The Senior Center of Greater Richmond

This Richmond senior community center is the focal point for many of the senior activities in Richmond. All these activities take place at the Peter Paul Development Center in Richmond’s East End.

Some of the events hosted by this club include:

  • Fellowship events on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Battery Park Fellowship Hall
  • The Potluck Picnic during August at Joseph Bryan Park
  • Field trips to locations in the greater Richmond area
  • Brain Boot Camps at Battery Park
  • Annual Senior Safety Days

The best way to keep tabs on all these Richmond senior center events is by checking their website regularly for updates. 

Apart from these onsite occasions, this hub of senior entertainment also facilitates a few offsite events at various locations around Richmond. 

 

The Richmond Travel Club

The senior travel club meets at the Imperial Plaza or Brookdale Plaza in the Azalea building at 1 PM on the fourth Friday of every month. These exciting, informative, and informal get-togethers focus on the travels of Senior Club members.

During these events, seniors get to share all their exciting adventures with their peers. These could be memories from the past, or recent trips anywhere in the country or the world.  

All you need to do is contact the event facilitator or the senior center office to book your spot at the next Travel Club meeting, or to request a chance to share your experiences.  

 

Wellness Group Richmond, VA

Many senior living facilities offer senior wellness programs in-house, but if you’re still enjoying your home life, you can join in the programs offered by the Senior Center of Richmond. 

Here you can join in their Joy of Wellness program which offers informative talks on health-related topics as well as the chance to loosen up with some fun and appropriate exercises. This event takes place from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm and includes a boxed lunch.

These events take place at various venues around town. You can book by calling the Senior Center of Richmond.

The Westminster Canterbury Club is another organization with wellness at its heart. The club offers regular talks on wellness issues like fall prevention, ways to combat movement disorders, and diabetes.

You can also join in their weekly aquatics and group fitness classes. 

When you place your health at the center of your activities as you age, you help ensure you’re able to enjoy fun, social activities for much longer. 

 

Senior Swimming Richmond, VA

If you’re a water baby wanting to reap the benefits of aquatic exercise, you’ve got quite a few options when it comes to fun, social swimming events in Richmond, VA.

You can join in at the Richmond Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities’ water aerobics classes at Swansboro Pool.

The YMCA also offers masters swimming classes for seniors at all five of their Richmond locations.

AQUAFIT Pool Exercise Classes welcome seniors to join in their water aerobics classes for a small fee at 11:15 am on Mondays and Wednesdays. 

Swimming is an excellent, low-impact exercise for seniors that places no strain on the joints. It’s also a lot of fun.

 

The Richmond Walking Group

Seniors with an interest in keeping fit with walking can gather at Battery Park before the regular Senior Center of Greater Richmond weekly events. These walks take place outdoors if the weather is nice or indoors during cold, wet weather.

They’re guided by a qualified physical trainer who’ll help you set goals and achieve them.

Other great places for seniors to put one foot in front of the other in Richmond include:

  • Monument Avenue
  • Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden 
  • The Virginia State Capitol
  • The Richmond Canal Walk
  • Richmond’s Fan District
  • Maymont Park 

Walking is a wonderful and often scenic way to preserve your health and fitness as well as interact with other enthusiasts. So, round up your friends from the Richmond Senior Center and get going.

 

Other Senior Outdoor Activities in Richmond, VA

Richmond’s many parks offer excellent opportunities for birdwatching around town. The Richmond Audubon Society welcomes seniors to join in their frequent field trips as well as monthly meetings.

The Cars and Corks event takes place at Maymont Park during September. Here you can join fellow motor vehicle enthusiasts to admire some of the world’s most classic cars.

The city also offers some great events designed for children to spend time with their grandparents. These include time spent admiring the indoor and outdoor exhibits at the Virginia Aviation Museum, Maymont or Agecroft Hall, and The Children’s Museum of Richmond.

 

Aging Gracefully in Richmond, VA

There are so many ways to make the most of these golden years, especially when you have the help you need close at hand.

Save yourself for the fun things by letting us take care of those energy-sapping daily tasks. 

Whether you’re a senior in need of a helping hand or wondering how to get help caring for an elderly parent, read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

The Best Caregiver Options for Seniors

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

October 12, 2020


Did you know the average life expectancy for American seniors is nearly 79 years? We’re living longer than ever before, but that doesn’t mean we’re immune to the effects of aging. In fact, the longer we live, the more important it is to think about how we’ll take care of ourselves and our loved ones.

Do you need help taking care of elderly parents or other family members? Are you overwhelmed looking for help for an aging mother through the different caregiver options for seniors?

Take a deep breath—we’re here to help. In this post, we’ll review 4 options of how to get help taking care of elderly parents, along with some other resources to make your decisions easier. 

 

4 Caregiver Options for Seniors

For most families, nursing homes are a last resort. Rest assured that there are many alternatives that allow your loved ones to remain at home while still getting the care they need.

Here are some popular options to consider.

 

1. Informal (Unpaid) Caregiver

Do your parents need actual medical attention, or do they just need some help with daily tasks? If your aging parents need help but don’t need professional round-the-clock care, you might start with informal caregivers.

Is there an existing network of family members and friends who can step up to the plate and provide support? Perhaps they can help with grocery shopping, meal preparation, or rides to appointments. Practical help around the house, like basic maintenance tasks or organizing pills, could also be a huge help to aging parents.

Adult children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and other extended family members often fill this role, along with close family friends. If your parents are members of a church, temple, or community center, you could see if they have any volunteer programs in place. There are also federal programs that provide grants and other support to voluntary caregivers.

 

2. Professional (Paid) Caregiver

Home health aides, certified nursing assistants, and other similar professions fall under the umbrella of paid caregivers. They often work in conjunction with an agency or government-sponsored program.

Paid caregivers can provide home health care for elderly parents with an array of daily tasks like dressing, bathing, and meal preparation. Others specialize in medical care for elderly ones with certain conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Typically, caregivers come to the home on a set schedule, ranging from a few hours a week to several hours each day. Not only do they provide practical assistance to the person in need, but they offer respite for the primary caregiver (such as the spouse).

 

3. Adult Day Care

Speaking of respite, adult day care centers have become increasingly popular caregiver options for seniors. These are ideal for people who require some daily assistance or are otherwise isolated in their homes.

Much like day care centers for children, a senior spends a certain number of hours each day in a safe, monitored environment. Adult day care centers offer medical support as well as activities such as games, arts and crafts, and exercise classes.

This is a great option because it gets seniors out of the house and allows them to socialize. Meanwhile, the primary caregiver(s) have time to rest and attend to their own needs.

 

4. Live-In Caregiver

A final option we’ll consider is hiring a full-time, live-in caregiver to assist your parents. They can manage the day-to-day affairs of the household, as well as providing personal care and assistance.

This could be the right choice for your parents if they need more care or supervision than the other options provide. It’s also an excellent solution for allowing them to continue living at home while receiving the care they need.

 

Comparing Care Options for Elderly Parents

For many seniors, a combination of informal and formal caregiving is the best solution from among the many options to care for elderly parents.

For example, a widow with severe arthritis but a sharp mind could benefit from home care a few days a week to help with daily tasks. Meanwhile, friends or family members could pick her up for church, doctor’s visits, or grocery shopping.

Alternatively, for an elderly couple where the husband has advanced dementia and the wife is unable to manage his physical needs, the family might decide it’s best to hire a live-in caregiver to attend to the husband while adult children offer other practical support to their mother.

Here are some factors to consider when making the decision for your family:

  • How much support is available from nearby family and friends?
  • How safe and accessible is the home?
  • Do your parent(s) have chronic medical conditions or mobility limitations?
  • How much can you realistically afford to spend on care?

If possible, sit down and discuss these questions as a family so you can arrive at a decision that is best for everyone involved.

 

Other Resources for Caring for Aging Parents

As mentioned above, you might have resources available to you at your church, community center, or VA office. There are also state and federal non-profit organizations that provide more information for families.

Another option is to consult with an elder law attorney in your area. These lawyers can help you find senior care options in your locale while protecting your family’s assets. They can also help you navigate the complex world of Medicaid and VA rules.

 

Do You Need Help Taking Care of Elderly Parents?

None of us likes to think about our beloved parents getting older. And it can be overwhelming to consider how to support elderly parents while caring for our other responsibilities too.

While there’s no single answer that works for everybody, the good news is that help is available. Review the information listed above as you decide how best to care for your aging loved ones.

When it comes to caregiver options for seniors, many in your shoes choose to bring professional caregivers into the home. Whether it’s companionship care a few hours a week or full-time Alzheimer’s and dementia care, there’s someone who’s perfectly suited to your family’s needs.

Contact us today to discuss your family’s circumstances and learn about the best care options for your aging parents. Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

A Complete Guide to United Way Caring for Community Awards in Charlottesville, Virginia

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

October 5, 2020


COVID-19 has brought hardship to the world, the nation, and right here to our home state of Virginia. A recent report revealed that there are currently over 140,000 positive cases in the Commonwealth, alone. 

During these difficult and uncertain times, it is important that members of the community come together for safety, security, and joy. We are proud to continue to offer our at-home care services to the Charlottesville families who depend on our caregivers. 

It is an absolute honor to announce that Commonwise Home Care was one of the organizations given a United Way Caring for Community Award. It is both humbling and affirmative of our work to receive such wonderful recognition.

What is the United Way Caring for Community Award? Read on for our complete guide.

 

What Is United Way of Greater Charlottesville?

The United Way is a national organization devoted to resolving any pressing issues that exist within individual communities. Through partnerships with nonprofits, government agencies, schools, businesses, financial institutions, and other organizations, United Way looks for community-based solutions that better human lives.

In Greater Charlottesville, our United Way branch is focused on three major goals: school readiness, financial stability, and community connection. Through programs like their Early Learners scholarships, tax assistance awareness, and the Annual Day of Caring, United Way of Greater Charlottesville brings the community together. 

 

What Is the Annual Day of Caring?

The Annual Day of Caring was established 29 years ago by Laurence E. Richardson. The objective of the Annual Day of Caring is to engage the community through broad-reaching community service. For our Day of Caring, Charlottesville volunteers can participate in a one-day event and learn more about the organizations in our community that can use our help!

This year, the Annual Day of Caring, which took place on September 2nd, looked a little different. Normally, United Way encourages us all to gather together en masse and head out into the community to complete projects for our neighbors and other organizations. Due to the necessity of social distancing measures, many of us went out in smaller groups or participated in virtual volunteer programs.

 

Who Can Reach Out for Volunteers?

If you are a member of a local nonprofit, public school, or faith-based organization, you can reach out to United Way about the Annual Day of Caring. Members of these groups may submit proposals of projects that require volunteers and United Way will take care of the rest!

For example, this year several volunteers from Management Services Corporation paired up with the Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC). Together, these volunteers helped CATEC complete their education space, which utilizes both indoor and outdoor space, for the upcoming months. This space will go on to serve Culinary Arts students as they learn how to grow, cultivate, and cook a variety of plant-based foods!

This is just one of the dozens of projects that were completed this year. Some organizations provided technical training online while others performed traditional, hands-on work at a safe distance. 

 

Who Can Volunteer?

Interested in participating next year? Anyone in the Greater Charlottesville area is welcome to sign up for a Day of Caring service project!

Many volunteers come in groups, whether they are members of an organization, educational program, or business. Not only does volunteer work create a stronger community, but it also offers a unique bonding experience for you and your peers.

 

Who Sponsored the 2020 Day of Caring?

The 2020 Day of Caring was sponsored by the University of Virginia (UVA). UVA students and faculty often make up a large number of the volunteers present on the Annual Day of Caring.

The university considers community outreach an important part of its mission. Participating in volunteer work allows students to become more immersed in and proud of the wider Charlottesville area.

 

What Is the United Way Caring for Community Award?

This year, United Way of Greater Charlottesville created the first-ever Caring for Community Award. United Way understands how difficult navigating COVID-19 has been. Community members and organizations have worked hard to keep themselves and those they serve safe. Everyone here at Commonwise Home Care understands just how important caring for communities after a disaster is. 

To honor the tireless commitment and effort put forth by local organizations, United Way bestowed the Caring for Community Award on twelve different organizations. These organizations are part of the local faith community, government, nonprofit, and medical sectors. Each group was nominated by members of the wider community and selected for going above and beyond to provide care.

The twelve honourees of the 2020 Caring for Community Award are

  • Commonwise Home Care for Above and Beyond business
  • Siri Russell for Above and Beyond local government employee
  • Charlottesville Community Cares for Above and Beyond faith community
  • Cville Craft Aid for Above and Beyond group effort
  • All Blessings Flow for Above and Beyond nonprofit
  • Keevil & Keevil Grocery and Kitchen for Above and Beyond restaurant, catering, or grocery
  • Brassiere Saison for Above and Beyond use of space or product
  • Hospice of the Piedmont for Above and Beyond medical group 
  • Faith Christian Academy for Above and Beyond childcare provider
  • Dr. Taison Bell for Above and Beyond care provider
  • Heather Kellams for Above and Beyond nonprofit employee
  • Alex-Zan for Above and Beyond service–individual or family

All of us at Commonwise Home Care are grateful to the families we serve, the community members of Greater Charlottesville, and the hard workers at United Way. It is a great honor to receive such wonderful recognition and we could not be more proud!

 

Commonwise Is Still Here to Help

This year’s United Way Day of Caring was a big hit. We can’t wait to carry the spirit of caring with us through the rest of the year. 

Do your loved ones in Charlottesville need at-home care? Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

A Guide to Your Options for Taking Care of Aging Parents

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

September 28, 2020


An overwhelming majority of elderly people want to grow old in their own homes. As our parents age, though, sometimes they need help taking care of themselves.

Are you wondering what your options are for taking care of aging parents? Let’s take a look at different care options for elderly parents.
 

Options for Elderly Adults Who Require Frequent Care

If you’re searching for living options for aging parents who need help with daily tasks, you have a number of care options to choose from.
 

In-Home Care

In-home care is one of the best options for taking care of aging parents. Many elderly people are not interested in relocating, and you may wish to keep them out of nursing homes and other facilities.

In-home care can assist elderly people with:

  • Personal care services
  • Home care services
  • Companionship services
  • Care management services

This means assistance with things like housework, meal preparation, transportation, medication reminders, bill pay, personal hygiene, and exercise, to name a few.

Benefits of in-home care include:

  • Comfort: The most obvious benefit of in-home care is the ability for people to receive care in the comfort of their own homes.
  • Faster recovery: Research has shown that patients recover from illness and surgery more quickly and more successfully in their own home. They’re also less likely to develop an infection and have fewer hospital readmissions.
  • One-on-one attention: Your elderly parent will be the primary focus of the caregiver. The needs of your elderly parent will be met much quicker than at a residential facility.
  • Cost effectiveness:  Home care can be significantly less expensive than residential nursing facilities. Some long-term care insurance plans can assist in covering the cost of in-home care.
  • Independence: Seniors are often wary of losing their independence and reluctant to leave their homes. This way they can still choose their own schedule and have control over many aspects of their own life.
  • Peace of mind: With in-home care, you don’t have to worry about your loved one getting injured while performing daily activities. You can also rest easy knowing that they are in the comfort of their own home.
  • Companionship: Having in-home care can ensure that your loved one isn’t feeling socially isolated and lonely.
  • Pet ownership: Pet companionship can reduce loneliness and reduce the risk of heart disease. It can also be calming to dementia patients. When you opt for in-home care, your elderly parents don’t have to part with their beloved pet.

When it comes to long term care for elderly parents, in-home care allows them to age gracefully in the comfort of their own home. Without interrupting their daily routines and allowing them to sleep in their own bed, in-home care offers the help they need.
 

Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living residences are communities where elderly people can live on their own while benefiting from personal care services if necessary. Things like taking medicine, bathing, and getting dressed are services that are often provided by these facilities.
 

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes provide personal services and medical care. They are staffed with nurses and other health professionals 24 hours a day. This is a care option for elderly parents who need 24-hour medical and personal care.
 

Living With a Family Member

It isn’t uncommon for elderly individuals to move in with a family member. This allows them support with daily activities and non-skilled health care. They can also enjoy the companionship of a close family member.

Taking care of an elderly family member can be a lot of work, and incorporating in-home care could be incredibly beneficial. If you’re taking care of aging parents while simultaneously working a full-time job and raising kids, hiring in-home help could make a world of difference.
 

Options for Elderly Adults Who Are Independent

Sometimes elderly adults are capable of handling their own daily tasks but would like to live among others in their age range. If your elderly parents are largely independent but looking to relocate to a senior community, you have a few options.
 

Active Adult Communities

These communities are neighborhoods where there is an age minimum to live there. Typically, adults must be at least 55 years of age but it can vary between communities.

These neighborhoods can be made up of houses, townhomes, apartments, condos, or mobile homes. This is a great living option for aging parents if they are fully capable of living on their own. In these communities, residents are fully independent, meaning they manage their own homes and take care of themselves.
 

Independent Living Communities

Also known as retirement homes or retirement communities, older adults are able to purchase their own unit within independent living communities. While most residents take care of themselves and don’t need help with daily tasks, meals are often included.

If you’re looking for care options for elderly parents who are active and independent but looking for a little help with services like prepared meals and housekeeping, independent living communities could be the right fit. Another benefit is the built-in community of similarly-aged peers.
 

Taking Care of Aging Parents: We’re Here to Help With In-Home Services

Taking care of aging parents can be difficult and stressful, with each decision made potentially impacting your parents’ comfort and happiness. If your parents can no longer care for themselves but want to maintain the independence of living in their own home, in-home care is the best option.

Commonwise Home Care offers our services in Charlottesville and Richmond, VA, as well as Charleston, SC. 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.

Home-Care vs Nursing Home: What Is the Best Fit for Your Family?

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

September 21, 2020


Did you know that nearly 70 percent of Americans who reach the age of 65 will, at some point in their lives, be unable to care for themselves?

If you have aging parents, it’s likely very important to you that they receive the best possible care.

Many families are faced with the same conundrum. Home-care versus nursing home: which is right for my parents?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of putting elderly parents in nursing homes, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of home care for the elderly.
 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Nursing Homes

When an elderly person is no longer able to care for themselves, their children might consider putting them in a nursing home. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of an old age home.
 

Nursing Home Benefits

Nursing homes are staffed with medical professionals around the clock. This means if your loved one requires 24/7 medical attention, they’ll always get the help they need. The staff at nursing homes can fulfill both medical and non-medical functions.

Another benefit of nursing homes is that they tend to be quite secure. If your parents have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and tend to wander, this can help ensure that they stay safe.

At a nursing home, your elderly parents will have social opportunities they might not otherwise have. Surrounded by peers in the same age group, some residents find it nice to have people their age to talk to. It’s common for people to feel more and more isolated as they get older, so this is a plus.
 

Nursing Home Drawbacks

Living in a nursing home is incredibly expensive, particularly for high-quality institutions. The costs of nursing homes can be financially crippling even for families that are fairly comfortable. In 2018, the average cost of a private room was $8,365, amounting to more than $100,000 per year.

Nursing homes are also problematic because they don’t allow individuals as much independence as living at home. This can lead to your elderly parents feeling old and helpless. There are often fairly rigid schedules at nursing homes, and if it might be disagreeable for individuals to have to conform to this.

Another potential con of nursing homes is the possibility of poor care. There have been a number of nightmarish stories from nursing homes over the years including abuse and neglect. While there are many above-board institutions that provide good care, it’s important to do your research ahead of time.

An additional important consideration is the fact that 42% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have been linked to nursing homes. As the pandemic swept across the world, nursing homes around the country closed their doors to any and all visitors. This was particularly difficult for the families of those who passed away from the disease, as they were unable to visit them in their final moments.
 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Home-Care

An alternative to nursing home care is in-home care. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of elderly parents living in their own home and receiving home care.
 

Home-Care Benefits

One of the most obvious benefits of receiving home care is that individuals can stay in their own homes. Most elderly people would choose to remain in their own house if they had the option, and it can be difficult for them to make a big move so late in life.

Living in their own home affords elderly people the opportunity to “age in place.” They aren’t removed from their social network, their routines, and their normal surroundings. This generally leads to feeling happier and more secure, which is beneficial to mental and physical health.

Being in familiar surroundings can be especially important for individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. In a place they know and recognize, they can feel calmer and like they have a great sense of control. Any senior might find moving to a new place stressful, but it can be particularly unsettling for an individual with dementia.

With in-home care, your parents can maintain their own schedules. They don’t have to eat dinner or take a bath at a regimented time. Having the freedom to make one’s own decisions is a valuable aspect to anyone’s adult life.

In-home care is also much less expensive than nursing homes. You can also tailor the number of hours that your elderly parents receive care. For example, if they simply need help with some domestic tasks and don’t need extensive medical care, you may only pay for help a handful of hours a week.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are seeking alternatives to nursing homes. While the disease has spread quickly in nursing homes throughout the country, home care offers an option for your parents to socially isolate and receive the care they need.
 

Home-Care Drawbacks

If your parent is very social and lives alone, they’ll have fewer social opportunities at home than at a nursing home. While they will receive companionship, some seniors might enjoy having people their own age to talk to.

Occasionally older people are wary of accepting external support, as it can take away their sense of control to need outside help. In this instance, in-home care is still likely preferable to a nursing home. It’s important to take the time to talk with your parents about their concerns and find a provider they feel comfortable with.
 

Home-Care Vs Nursing Home: Which Is Right for Your Parents?

The home care vs nursing home question is one only you and your family can answer. Elderly care is a decision that is specific to each family.

That being said, while there are benefits of living in a nursing home, for many families the negative outweighs the positive. Home care allows elderly individuals to receive the care they need without making drastic changes to their everyday lives.

Are you considering home care for your aging parents? If so, 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.

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.

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