Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Eldercare Testimonial: Home Care for Mom Saved My Sanity

Early dementia and a stubborn streak.  Not a good combination, especially when it's YOUR parent who refuses to move from her home.  The doctor says she must not live alone, yet she refuses to budge.

In-home care by a professional who understands dementia could just be your answer.  It was for John, who lived in the Midwest, and his brother and sister-in-law who lived in Washington.  For months they texted one another in the wee hours of the night, and during the day as well. "Guess what Mom did now? Her doctor says she makes such a ruckus in his waiting room that she's banned from his practice."  "Mom called 911 again, sure she was dying."  And when dementia caused her to forget to take her anxiety medication--or take too much--all hell would break loose.

Despite her doctor's advice, Mom refused to move.  At this point the siblings determined she was still competent--at least for awhile--so they didn't force the issue.

They did come up with Plan B a few months ago. They came to me, wanting a referral for a good home care agency.  Within days they'd selected an agency which I found for them.  Soon a caregiver came out to meet Mom. At first it was simple:  Her caregiver came in twice a week. She encouraged Mom to take her medications, took her to appointments and out to lunch, went on walks with her, and shopped for groceries and prepared meals, etc.  A great deal of the job was companionship, and also checking in with the family.

"Having structure to her day and things to look forward to has made all the difference," says John. "She seems happier.  And for the first time in several months, all of us are getting a good night's sleep."

John and his siblings know that at some point more care will be needed, either into the home or at an assisted living.  They've already begun planning for that fact.  Yet for now, home care works.

"For us, home care is a great first step."

Do you have any firsthand experience with home care?  How has that gone?

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