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
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 shouldbegin.
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.
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 –
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.
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
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.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.