Today's guest post is from Sara Fields. "Sara is a businesswoman from Boston. In her free time she enjoys blogging and writing on various topics, such as elderly home care and healthcare in general." I think it's always interesting to hear the perspective of someone shopping for care for their loved one. Please enjoy Sara's article:
Once a great American politician, Frank A. Clark, said that we are putting more effort into helping folks reach old age than into helping them enjoy it. And I could not agree more.
When several years ago my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, my first reaction was that I will not leave her side, just like she never left mine whenever I needed to be taken care of. Since long working hours prevented me from being full-time family caregiver, I had to find a suitable alternative in order to avoid quitting my job.
Like many other elderly folks, she too expressed her desire to age in the comfort of her home where she has been living for the last 47 years. I always hated the light blue facade of that house, but the memories we have of that place, memories that are a present tense to her, were simply too precious to be so easily disregarded. Even there she would get lost on her way from the store, the route that was very much familiar to her. She started misplacing items around the house, could not manage finances anymore, but most importantly, she put herself in danger way too often. Poor decision making caused by Alzheimer’s more often than not compromised her safety and I knew it was time to either put her in a home or hire a caregiver. After careful consideration, I decided it was best to find a professional to take care of her in her own house.
Before going into details when it comes to details of the thorough research I conducted, I would like to emphasize that I have no regrets whatsoever when it comes to opting for home care instead of nursing home. My mom enjoyed utmost comfort and was completely independent. Every meal she ate was prepared according to her taste, she could do whenever she wanted to do and go wherever she felt like, the only difference being that she had a reliable person by her side. One thing is certain – she would have never had such freedom in a nursing home. Finally, when it comes to finances, we ended up saving much more than we initially expected. People told me that home care pays off in the long run, but I was still pleasantly surprised once I did the final count.
Norah, our licensed practical nurse that comes to my mother’s home only once a week for a regular checkup, whereas Linda, the caregiver is with my mother from Monday to Friday, 5 hours a day in two shifts. She would work for one hour in the morning, help her dress and then prepare the meal. Later in the day she would return to help her eat, clean up after she finishes and then spend some free time doing different activities. Linda would either read a book while my mother drank her green tea or she would take her for a walk around the neighborhood. My mother simply adores her and loves spending time with her. I take over on the weekends, and when lucid, Linda is all my mother talks about.
Let me just tell you that at first, I did not disregard nursing home as an option completely. I flipped through a multitude of brochures of local nursing homes and even visited a fair number to get to know the places and the staff in person.
Internet too was my source of information. My research went so far that at one point I ended up browsing and learning about home care in Austria. I was amazed with the outstanding platform they established that connects all home care services providers in the country and enables you to find the one that is nearest to your home.
After browsing through both home care services and nursing homes in Boston area, I thought to myself that I cannot rely solely on the promises they made on their websites, nor testimonials of strangers. I turned to my friends and family who were in similar situation and asked for recommendations. Interestingly, every single person was an advocate for home care and were totally against putting my mother in a nursing home.
Some of their strongest arguments included the lack of privacy and individuality. They warned me that even though my mother would move to a place where she will have people her age to socialize, that place is not her home. It is not the environment she is used to and the place she feels most comfortable in. Furthermore, what made home care even more attractive option in this unfortunate state of economy is the fact that it is much more affordable in comparison to nursing home. Once I put everything down on paper, home care stood out as an obvious choice. In the end, all of their stories turned out to be true and in the future I’ll certainly recommend home care to people in who find themselves in similar situation.
We are certainly hoping to have Linda by my mother’s side everywhere she goes for years to come. She is an absolute professional and I can rest assured that she will tend to my mother’s needs no matter how serious health issues are. Home care is definitely shaping the realm of elderly care
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