When is it time for senior help at home?
It’s the little things. It starts with a little oversight. “Thought I could reach the remote”, or “was picking up the newspaper”. Maybe it was a little icy. Almost never because of some risky hurried tromp down the stairs or some dramatic leap over the cat. Occasionally the dog got in the way or the grandkids left a Lego on the living room floor but the real reason seniors fall are rarely dramatic. Maybe the laundry basket was in the way of Mom’s feet, or Dad was just putting away the groceries, but big falls usually happen for little reasons.
At Always There Home Care our caregivers provide daily care for elderly home bound seniors in Columbus, Ohio. We’ve been building our team since opening our doors in 2004. Since then, I have been meeting with concerned families of senior loved ones each week for nearly 2 decades. In one way or another these meetings and the subsequent care plan we create during them are a direct result of a fall. ‘He was getting out the leaf blower from the garage’ or ‘she was putting away her sewing machine’.
It’s safe to say, we have heard about almost every fall you could imagine.
We’ve all taken a spill, but as we age our bones are more brittle, our reflexes slower, our muscle mass has decreased. Our protective fatty cells diminish (apparently, I’m not aging fast enough for this one yet). Our senior loved ones fall because of any combination of these things, and they sustain markedly worse injuries, or their injury from the fall catapults their pre-existing condition into a frenzy.
Waiting until After the Fall to receive care
Like many of the families we serve who need senior home care in Columbus, Ohio they waited to get a care plan started until after the fall. Or the 2nd or third fall. Several families we know who receive senior care in Hilliard, Ohio have actually been presented with an invoice from the local fire department for a visit to lift them off the kitchen floor! That’s adding insult to injury. Rumor has it the first fall is free. Does fire department charge a fee to assist with lifting someone off the floor? YES, many fire departments do! It makes one wonder if there is a punch card involved. Maybe the 10th visit to lift Dad off floor is free? Our clients have reported invoices of over $500 for rescue lift visits like these.
Senior Care After A Fall
Have slow healing injuries made life at home without assistance impossible? For many this is indeed the case. Without the strength or stamina to stand and make their own meals, many seniors require a care plan that covers each meal of the day. This means caregivers also shop for their groceries, plan and prepare meals, make sure the food in the fridge is fresh. Being dependent upon caregivers for every meal means you have a rather large care plan. Typical assignments that cover each meal could range from 7 or 8am until 7 or 8pm. While this will cover the greatest amount of the day, it’s a higher cost than a more modest care plan. This is why we suggest starting with a modest care plan whenever possible.
Preventive Maintenance in senior care means getting care Before the Fall
A few years ago as my wife and I were in a rush to get the kids out of the house and off to school, something important was missing from the driveway. We live in a nice neighborhood, and after scratching our heads for a minute wondering who ‘borrowed our van’, it became clear that it had in fact been stolen. Have you ever experienced this headache? We realized we needed a car immediately and hadn’t done any research about what kind of car we would buy, where we would get it from, or what pricing we could handle at the moment, etc.
Or have you ever been in a long line at a restaurant and suddenly a register opens up and you’re next in line and you have totally forgotten your order? Being thrust into a market to make a decision almost always results in a bad decision! “Yes, I will have 7 Big Macs, I guess.”
I never miss the opportunity to congratulate families who are pro-active and begin to align care for their senior loved one before they have to pick up the pieces and suddenly require 24/7 senior care in Columbus, Ohio. And the reason they are congratulated is the reality that in the long run they are going to save money. They have also succeeded in adding a layer of protection which could potentially avoid a catastrophic fall for their loved one.
The Greatest Reward in Planning Senior Care
The rewards far outweigh the risks in beginning to receive senior help at home. Selecting a care plan before the onset of a disaster enables a critical relationship to start long before it is mandatory. The specific benefits to a unique care plan are different for everyone. Follow the image link by clicking on Nancy’s story to hear what it has meant in her life. Suddenly the laundry is getting done, bathing is being done safely, meals are made hot and fresh at home. Doctor visits don’t require you to take a half day off of work. But the greatest reward in planning senior care always the relationship that Mom or Dad begins with their caregiver and care team. This is the greatest gift of all! Securing a compassionate caregiver assigned to doing little things at Mom and Dad’s speed. The caregiver spends their day understanding your parent prefers for their day. Developing this relationship means the caregiver knows what day Mom prefers for laundry, what kind of milk Mom likes, or how to get to Mom comfortably into her favorite place to sit in her house to watch her favorite program on her television.
Falling as we age isn’t because of some big event. It’s almost always from some little thing Mom or Dad decided to do that maybe they shouldn’t be doing anymore. And just like falling, great care doesn’t have to be dramatic. Great care is about the little things.