Posted on Jul 14, 2016
If you or your loved one are considering home care services, you may be confused by the conflicting advice presented by friends or the media. Whilst it is important to do your research and select a reputable service provider, there are quite a few misconceptions which cause unnecessary stress.
Reality: The cost of home care services is related to the amount of time a carer will spend and the level of expertise required. Many family caregivers are surprised to discover that the hourly cost of care is very affordable. When opportunity costs such as loss of salary from being out of the workforce or diminished social life are factored in, family caregivers further appreciate the affordability of home care services. In addition, government subsidies are available based on needs.
Reality: Reputable service providers will have skilled staff who specialise in caring for those with Alzheimer’s or other dementia conditions. In fact, the best service providers will develop an individualised plan which revolves around the abilities, needs and interests of your loved one. Research shows that sufferers who age in place with assistance from trained professionals tend to live longer and have a better quality of life.
Reality: Depression and social isolation can greatly affect a senior’s health. An inability to drive and the death of close friends are just two factors which contribute to reduced social interaction. An in-home carer can provide companionship and help keep your loved one mentally stimulated. Such activities as board games, gardening or cooking together, going to the movies or visiting a coffee shop can greatly improve your loved one’s outlook. An in-home carer can also report any physical or emotional changes observed.
Reality: Quality home care service providers will seek to match the right carer for your needs. They realise that even if a carer is highly skilled, he or she may not be a good fit for your loved one. In that case, you will be able to request a different carer. Your loved one will have the opportunity to build up a relationship of trust and mutual respect with his or her carer rather than deal with a different person each time. Reputable providers hire staff who have a genuine love of the profession and see it as a vocation rather than a mere job.
Reality: If you are a caregiver, you need some respite in order to meet your own needs and remain physically and mentally healthy. Sometimes, family and financial commitments make it impossible for you to commit to full-time caregiving. In other cases, you may not feel that you have the skills or emotional capacity to be a caregiver. It is your responsibility to identify the needs of your loved one and put in place a suitable carer who will be able to ensure his or her well-being. It is also your responsibility to monitor your loved one and liaise with the service provider if your loved one’s needs change.
Utilising home care services should provide peace of mind for both you and your loved one. The Australian Government offers advice to help seniors and their loved ones understand the facts about home care services. The My Aged Care website is a good place to start.