Frequently Asked Questions

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By Lisa Byrne & Lisa Ganem, Owners, Home Instead Senior Care of New Hampshire

Q:  My Dad is being discharged from the hospital and I can’t afford to take more time off from work – what do I do?

A: It’s been a tough economy and an even tougher winter as many people had to take a lot of time off from work due to weather and illness – or perhaps are just starting new jobs.  Either way, there are others in the same boat and you should know that help is indeed available for you and your family. 

Families need somewhere to turn when they simply can’t be two places at once. When a parent is being discharged from the hospital, it requires a lot more than simply signing some discharge paperwork and transporting them home.  It is important to take the necessary care and precautions so that loved ones don’t end up back in the hospital if the home transition does not run smoothly. This not only entails safely transporting them home – but picking up needed prescriptions to avoid infections or relapse and ensuring that meals are prepared and groceries restocked to help Dad regain his strength and ensure proper nutrition. You also need someone totally reliable to ensure that medications are taken properly and as needed.

This may sound like a very stressful situation, but it doesn’t have to be.  For families with loved ones coming home from the hospital, Home Instead Senior Care of New Hampshire developed: Returning Home: A Transitional Care Program to address this very specific need. The Returning Home program is designed as a collaborative effort: working together with the patient, the healthcare team, health care facilities and families to develop a customized, workable plan that ensures a successful post-discharge transition to home.

With the Returning Home program, Home Instead CAREGivers not only help by providing a safe ride home, but they will pick up needed prescriptions, prepare nutritional meals,  stock fresh produce and groceries, and assist with personal care needs  – all based on what you have outlined in your customized caregiving plan. 
Home Instead will work with you to develop an individualized plan that works in conjunction with other service providers – supporting both short and long term medical goals. Home Instead’s Returning Home program not only provides quality caregiving services, but its staff of highly trained CAREGivers make sure that patients’ belongings are safely packed before heading for home. CAREGivers also ensure that patients are comfortably settled back in their homes and that the house is tidy and ready for them.

For you and other families in similar situations, when you simply cannot afford to miss another work day, or don’t want to jeopardize losing your job, you can go to work with peace of mind - knowing that your Dad is well cared for and safely back in his own home with the quality caregiving services he needs. Home Instead’s Returning Home program was designed to be flexible for families, providing the help you need to assist with a smooth and worry-free transition from hospital to home.

For more information about Home Instead Senior Care’s Returning Home program, visit www.ReturningHome.com.

If you are in need of services for a loved one being discharged from the hospital, contact your local Home Instead Senior Care Office and determine when service should
begin.

Options include:
• Before returning home, so everything is fresh and tidy when loved ones arrive
• The day of discharge with a reliable ride home provided
• Visit after returning home to monitor for changes in condition

Once the service date is scheduled, Home Instead will work with you to develop a customized care plan, discuss preferences and assist in coordinating a successful transition home.

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Q:  My brother and I discovered a pile of overdue bills, spoiled food in the refrigerator and newspapers stacked ceiling high at my parents’ house. My brother is demanding we move my parents to a nursing home and they are visibly upset. I need my brother’s help and continued support. What should I do?

A: You’re not alone and should know that help is available.  In the U.S., more than one quarter of adults are caring for an aging parent, relative or spouse.  With more seniors in need of care, siblings need to communicate and work together.  We understand that family caregiving can be stressful, but there are ways you can approach it with your parents and your brother.  Whether you’re still close or you’ve grown apart, you share a strong common bond of love that includes planning quality care for your parents. 

Caregiving for your parents can be a wonderful, bonding experience, but it can also cause tension in families.  Adult caregivers who have jobs, are raising children of their own, or caring for their spouse can feel overwhelmed when elderly family members need help too. Those who are bearing the brunt of caregiving may resent siblings who are unable or unwilling to help. Situations like these – along with illness, money, inheritance and distance are what we call “hot button triggers” that can make caregiving difficult and can lead to family conflict.

Home Instead Senior Care developed the 50-50 Rule℠ public education program to address hot-button issues like these.  The 50-50 Rule refers to the average age (50) when siblings are caring for their parents as well as the need for brothers and sisters to share caregiving equally – 50-50.

The program helps to answer questions such as: Who takes care of Mom and Dad, and where? Do you seek outside support or try to do it all yourselves? What do you do when you can’t agree or when someone feels left out? Who takes charge when your parent is ill or even dying?  The 50-50 Rule Program also helps siblings to work through disagreements over financial matters, estate planning, and family inheritance or how to pay for a family member’s care. 

The program can help you develop an Aging Care Plan, offering strategies for overcoming sibling differences and helping families to provide the best possible care for their parents.

Research conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care network reveals that an inability to work together often leads to one sibling becoming responsible for the bulk of caregiving which can result in the deterioration of relationships with brothers and sisters.

Family caregiving doesn’t typically run smoothly when brothers and sisters can’t agree. Three key factors influence if relationships between the adult children will deteriorate and whether the quality of care to the parent will be compromised. Those factors include: the adult children’s ability to make important decisions together; their ability to equally divide the caregiving workload; and their level of teamwork.

Engaging parents in caregiving issues is also important and so are family meetings that involve a third party if necessary. A third-party resource, particularly a professional such as a doctor or geriatric care manager, can provide an impartial voice of reason to maintain balance in decision making.

The 50-50 Rule program helps to facilitate teamwork and communication in relationships with brothers and sisters, enabling them to make the most of their parents’ senior years and their own caregiving journey.
For more information about the 50-50 Rule program, go to: www.SolvingFamilyConflict.com.

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Q:  I am so confused about where to find long term care options for my parents that are personal, attentive and yet affordable.  I don’t even know what services are available. Who pays for the services? Where do I begin?

A: It is true — the health care system and the availability of services can be quite confusing these days and very difficult to muddle through to find answers.  Independent research conducted among adult children as well as seniors, administered by the Boomer Project (www.boomerproject.com) for the Home Instead Senior Care® network, revealed that there is a considerable lack of knowledge throughout all demographics about senior care options that are currently available and what they cost. Home Instead Senior Care of New Hampshire has put together some important information to help you find services that are right for your loved ones. 

The Boomer Project’s survey uncovered a considerable lack of knowledge among all age groups, particularly older adults. Half of the seniors surveyed said they had not started researching senior care and were not thinking about it.  73 percent of 35- to 64-year-olds have not started researching senior care for their parents.
In addition, the survey uncovered these alarming trends:
• A low familiarity with the range of senior care options available
• Incorrect notions about the costs of senior care, grossly overestimating or underestimating costs
• Inaccurate assumptions about how senior care will be paid
• No clear idea of where to find information to make informed decisions

The majority of seniors and adult children believe that Social Security or Medicare will pay for senior care.  Not true. Social Security only provides basic living expenses for most people and Medicare doesn’t pay for long-term care. You need to understand all of your options and what they cost. There are nursing homes, assisted living facilities, senior centers, independent living communities, adult day care, In-Home Medical Care and In-Home Non-Medical Care, just to name a few.  The following checklist can help you to make informed decisions and better manage the care of your loved ones.

1. Identify and list the needs that your senior has that will enable them to remain independent throughout the aging process. Tasks to consider include meal preparation, housekeeping, scheduling doctor appointments, bill paying, grocery shopping and companionship.
Key needs include:
• Medical
• Housing
• Activities of daily living
• End-of-life decisions, including advance directives such as living will and long-term care
• Estate planning and funeral planning

2.   Research options that can help you meet those needs.
• www.caring.com
• www.eldercare.gov
• www.homeinstead.com
• “Stages of Senior Care: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Making the Best Decisions” www.stagesofseniorcare.com
• Your local area agency on aging

3.   Once you list the needs, divide them into two categories: those that will be met by family members and those that need to be contracted to an outside support source.

4.  List the tasks for which those in your family will be responsible. Remember to keep the list flexible for the changing needs of your parents as well as the demands on you and your siblings or other family members and friends that are willing to help. You’ll need a plan overseer if you’re contracting outside services.

5.  If you are the primary caregiver, ask for help if you need it. If you are a long-distance caregiver, ask for ways to help the primary caregiver. Long-distance caregivers can help facilitate online orders and bill-paying, and provide companionship through telephone calls, letters and emails.


Assessing your parents’ needs and then working with the resources listed above will help you get started in developing a personal, affordable long term care plan.

Questions? Contact Us here.


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