Sunday, October 23, 2011

In-home care compared to pricey retirement homes

This has been a hard question to answer cause when it comes to choosing between the two a lot is at stake and there isn't an easy answer to this question to compare the two options.

I want to think about quality of life. I think both options have some major pros and cons to them both.

If a person were to stay in their own home... they are right where their memories of a lifetime might be. Most of the elderly that I have came in contact have really spacious houses and even those that have downsized seem pretty spacious to me. If they are in their home then they can have a cat or a dog and having a pet has been proven to help lower blood pressure. It's been proven to lower the risk of depression. It may also keep someone fit if they need to walk the dog. They have a full kitchen and can take part in what is being cooked. They can assist in the housework and help the caregivers learn how they like things done and how to do this or that. I have learned that most are still set in wanting towels folded their way even though maybe they can no longer do all the work.
In their own home.. the family and the person can decide how many hours they would like a caregiver come to their house. They can select as a little as 2 hour shifts or longer. They might choose to have help come in a few times a week or daily. They can add or reduce the hours as they see fit. However, with my company once the caregiver gets her assignments the client can't out of the blue so I don't feel like having Sally come over today. So, cancel the service for the day just cause they don't feel like it will result in them being charged for the service anyways. Unless, it was a medical thing then that is different.

Caregivers are limited to what they can and should be doing. Families shouldn't just think we hired a caregiver now all Mom's and Dad's needs are taken care of. Most companies will provide light housekeeping but we are not deep cleaning maids. We will not be out there mowing the lawn and pulling weeds. We won't be shoveling the driveway unless it's maybe to clear a walk to make it safe for those coming and going. If the caregiver is willing you might get some that will go beyond what they are told are the job requirements and help Mom pull weeds or plant a flower or two. I personally will do a little bit of that if my client is trying to do it too. then, it's interactive caregiving.

Caregivers can suggest Mom or Dad write check for this bill or that but if their minds just don't work like it used too and they insist that they paid it already or they don't need that magazine that they been getting then it's out of our hands. We can't write the checks for them and can't make them do it. We can notify our office if we think stuff isn't getting done.

In the retirement homes a lot of the stuff as in housekeeping and cooking is going to be done without them having a say in it. They get menus and have an alternative if they don't like what is being served. They do get the choice of sitting with other residents to enjoy their meals. I was sitting with my client until the family member decided it was best if she didn't have a caregiver with her for lunch. One little old lady said I would give anything just to bake one more cake again.

They don't have kitchens in their rooms so cooking is out of the question. Most of the residents living quarters is about the size of my living room plus bathroom and tiny kitchen with a sink. Not all the residents even get a refrigerator/freezer in their room.

I think some good points for the pricey retirement homes is that they do seem to have a lot of events going on for the residents. I can only speak for the one that I have been working at through my company. The residents get a monthly calender showing them what events are going on and where in the center it is. I have seen some pretty awesome stuff keep life fun for the residents. Also, this home is a Christian home so it meets the needs of people who want to have a place where they feel they can worship God and be around others who believe the same thing.

I think the homes might be a little better at keeping the elderly occupied with something to do cause they have more resources and idea on what to put on. Almost everything they do is free to the residents except rides to places and in my job sometimes finding things to do outside of the home that don't cost can be a challenge. The client has to pay for us if we go out to eat or do something that costs and at times for me that makes it hard for me to really be assertive and say let's go get a movie and dinner. I feel like they might think that I am taking advantage of them.

I have on a few occasions brought a movie and once I even paid to order us a pizza. So, it can be done it's just not as easy.

I think most homes probably have a big bus and people can sign up to go to outings like Walmart and other stores but it's always going to be on their time and their destination that was already picked. Most pricey homes will have almost everything that you can think of wanting or needing. Women go to the beauty salon and get hair and nails done without ever leaving the campus.

I do think that sometimes people may begin to feel like the walls on closing in on them. My client when I have taken her out of the home as acted like it was Christmas morning. She was just so happy to get out that she actually cried.

With all that being said.. I think the best place for most people is in their own homes if all possible. If your exploring your options ask lots of questions and communicate with your old person and with the caregiver and tell them what your old person likes to do and not to do cause the more informed they are the better they can be at taking care of them and making life worth living. And if in come care is the route you go be prepared for it to take some time. Don't expect for even an experienced caregiver to come and start making Mom and Dad do this and that cause it takes time to build that relationship before results can happen.

Just for the record. These are my thoughts and feelings and has nothing to do with my company's thoughts.

1 comment:

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