Summer is winding down and that means a lot of schedule changes for the Sandwich Generation – the generation, typically in their thirties and forties, who are raising their children while also caring for their aging parents. It takes a lot of endurance, compassion and organization to make your efforts effective and positive for your aging loved ones.
It is possible to balance everything, even as school restarts and schedules pick up speed. Our three-part series, How the Sandwich Generation Does It All (by Not Doing All of It), offers realistic and practical advice if you are caring for your kids and your aging loved ones. These best practices also apply if you are caring for aging parents without children in the picture.
There are three pieces to the puzzle: home care, empowerment, and communication. In every one of these categories, you must be ready to ask for help. Part One is focused on home care. Not just any home care, though, so you’ll start by asking this question: do you provide both Private and Medicare home health care?
To understand the importance of this question, one must understand the difference between Private home care services, and Medicare-funded home care services. When it comes to the specifics of home care, until this point you probably didn’t need to know different types of home care existed. You may have assumed that Medicare pays for everything your aging loved one will need at home. Unfortunately, that’s not true. For those who qualify (insert Medicare.gov hyperlink https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/home-health-services), Medicare pays for skilled home health care provided by a nurse and/or a therapist (physical, occupational and speech). Visits are approved by one’s doctor, usually occurring about two to three times per week, per discipline. Designed to help patients improve after a hospitalization or a qualifying decline in condition, Medicare home health care is not going to fill the gap when your aging loved one needs regular assistance and/or supervision. In that case, you’re going to combine Medicare home health with Private Services.
Private home care services are usually provided by a caregiver who has been trained to assist your loved one with their daily living activities. Help may be needed when getting up and down safely, showering or bathing, preparing meals and with general household upkeep. Private services can even expand to help going to doctor visits or other appointments. If there are cognitive issues including confusion and/or agitation, that can increase the amount of help and supervision your loved one needs to be safe at home.
These differences are why it’s important to choose a home care company that provides both types of services, so that you can expect more seamless communication and care than if you are using two different home care companies. Although it’s a generalization, there are many local franchises that offer only Private Services. Meanwhile, hospital-based companies may provide only Medicare-funded home care. (Cooperative Home Care provides both, and if you cannot afford Private Services, we also provide Medicaid-funded home care for those who qualify (insert Medicaid hyperlink here https://www.payingforseniorcare.com/medicaid/mo-hcbs.html)).
It is important to communicate regularly with your home care company. We regularly advise our clients and their family members to inform us how (text, phone call, or e-mail), and, how frequently, they want to hear updates from us. We confirm everyone that should be updated. Finally, we urge them to speak up when there is a problem even if it seems minor. The right caregiver match leads to great success with home care, but every caregiver is not a match for every client.
A common obstacle is when your aging loved one needs regular, but not constant, assistance. For example, they need help when standing up or getting in and out of bed, but they are fine when they are seated in a chair or lying down. Communicate with your loved one’s Medicare home health physical therapist, asking them to assess your parent’s home for safety. Tell them specifically when the goal is for your loved one to stand safely from a chair, get in and out of bed, etc. They can also suggest adaptive equipment and incorporate practicing with the equipment in their treatment plan.
You can also ask for help from family members and close friends. Balance Medicare visits, Private services, and their help, so that you are only paying for the services you need. Plan to reduce services as soon as your aging parent is ready.
- Choose a home care company that provides both Medicare and Private home care services
- Establish how you want to communicate
- Share concerns big and small
- Tell your therapists how they can help
- Build an affordable schedule combining home care and help from your support systems
Call Cooperative Home Care directly today, and schedule your free assessment!