Does my loved one need home care help? 

March 5, 2020

How to go about getting home care can be confusing and overwhelming for families. The difficulty often begins with simply deciding if now is the time to hire home care help, especially if it’s for a parent, grandparent or spouse who once took care of you. You want to make the right choices for their well-being and your peace of mind, but you also want to honor their pride and dignity. How to coordinate care with their current physicians or other health care providers and how to pay for it are things you may have to consider, too. 

Start by asking the right questions 

To help determine if it’s time to find in-home care for your mom, dad or other loved one, think about what a typical day is like for them. Here are three sets of questions to help assess what kind of care your loved one might need.  

  • If the phone rings, do they hear it and answer it in a safe and timely manner? 
  • Can they hear the other person on the phone and have a conversation? 
  • Do they store food safely and throw it away when it’s no longer safe to eat? 
  • Do they keep their kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom clean? 
  • Do they clean up after meals? Wash dishes, put them away, wipe down surfaces? 
  • Do they see to it that the lawn is mowed, yard is tended to and sidewalk and driveway are shoveled, if needed? 
  • Are they doing their own laundry? Carrying it safely into the laundry room, transferring it from washer and dryer, folding it and putting it away? 
  • Do they drive safely and with confidence? To the bank, store, place of worship or to friends’ and relatives’ homes? 
  • Do they shop for their own groceries, selecting and paying for healthy foods and transferring the groceries from store and car to kitchen? 
  • Do they stay on top of their finances such as paying mortgage or rent, utilities and other bills? 
  • ​Are they attending social and family activities they enjoy, like book club, bridge club, going to restaurants, religious services, reunions, birthday parties, etc.? 
  • Do they talk and socialize with their friends, neighbors or relatives regularly? 
  • Are they able to do the activities they enjoy on their own, such as crafts, light gardening, puzzles, etc.? 
  • ​Are they able to take care of any pets they have, taking them for walks or cleaning litter boxes and cages? 

If you answered NO to any of the above questions, then your loved one might benefit from companion care. The more “Nos” you check, the more likely they need support. 

  • When your loved one wakes up, can they get out of bed easily? 
  • Can they walk from the bedroom or bathroom to the kitchen without risk of falling?
  • Can they get into the shower or bath safely? 
  • Do they bathe regularly and completely? 
  • Do they groom themselves and maintain good overall hygiene? Brush teeth, shave, comb hair, trim nails, etc.? 
  • Do they dress in clean clothes and put dirty clothes in the laundry? 
  • Do they prepare and eat regular nutritious meals, following any special dietary requirements? 
  • ​Do they take the right prescription dosages at the right time? 
  • Can they manage any illness needs (e.g., testing blood sugar) safely and effectively? 
  • If they require medical equipment (e.g., oxygen), can they manage it on their own? 
  • Do they make it to their medical appointments and understand their plan of care? 
  • Do they get at least 30 minutes of exercise that’s safe for them every day? 

If you answered NO to any of the above questions, then your loved one might benefit from skilled and/or personal care. The more “Nos” you check, the more likely they need support. 

  • Can they remember events from the previous day or week? Are they able to remember names of people close to them? 
  • Do they always remember to turn off burners and running water? 
  • Do they continue to come and go from their home without confusion?
  • ​Are you able to go through your day without worrying about their safety? 

If you answered NO to any of the above questions, then your loved one might benefit from care provided by nurses or caregivers who are experienced in caring for those with memory loss

Talk with family and others 

Understanding a loved one’s need for care should also come through discussion with family members and others involved with their care. Part of that discussion should include whether or not family members or others are available, willing and able to provide the level of care that’s needed. As you explore home care options, it’s also important to consult with the professionals in your loved one’s life such as their:  

  • Physician or specialist  
  • Nurse practitioner  
  • Pharmacist  
  • Financial planner or accountant  
  • Long-term care insurance provider  
  • Lawyer  
  • Social worker or mental health professional  
  • Religious leader  


What’s next? 

Once you’ve completed the exercise and discussions, you should be better prepared to talk with your loved one about the right care options that will help them live at home safely and happily. Still have questions? Download our complete Home Care Planning Guide. 

If you think your loved one would benefit from any of these services and you’d like to learn more, call us 24/7 at 866-618-7827, contact us online, or find a location near you. Our team of professionals are always ready to help.