If your aging parents live in a distant location, you and fellow family members may find yourselves in a position where you are trying to fill the gaps in elderly caregiving. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to do this, even if you are living hundreds of miles away. While these options are most suited for elderly parents that are still able to care for themselves most of the time, but simply need some additional help. Make no mistake about it, though – nothing can replace family caregiving simply because family members are going to care the most about their elderly parents.
How will you know when your aging parents need help? Check out Knowing When Help Is Needed.
Filling Gaps In Elderly Caregiving Isn’t Just For Piece Of Mind
Initially, finding a way to deal with the challenges of elderly caregiving gaps will provide you with a great sense of relief. But more than that, filling these gaps will help ensure that your loved one is receiving some level of elder care. Regular contact with others will help you ensure their health and safety are being monitored on a regular basis.
The top seven ways to help fill the gaps in elderly caregiving that you or other family members are unable to provide:
1. Meals On Wheels
This is a great elderly caregiving service that delivers nutritious meals to homebound seniors. But equally important is the fact that there will be regular contact with your aging parents. The meals on wheels volunteers will often be the first people to notice any health or safety issues your elderly parents may be facing.
2. Personal Emergency Response Systems
These systems are great for both your and your senior’s piece of mind. Your aging parents will wear a bracelet or necklace that is equipped with a radio transmitter. If they become in need of assistance, they can activate the transmitter by simply pushing a button. A message is then sent to the monitoring center who will then notify emergency services and an emergency contact. As someone who had a homebound aunt with health concerns that lived 3 hours away, I can tell you that this device was a life saver on both ends.
3. Telephone Monitoring Service
With this service – which can be a paid or volunteer service – your elder will be called once a day to check in on them. If the phone goes unanswered, either a volunteer or the police will visit the home. This service provides a great piece of mind for both the elder and the family.
4. Carrier Alert
This is a gap in elderly caregiving that you’ll hear about on the news from time to time. In this situation, mail carriers will alert a postal supervisor about an accumulation of mail. The supervisor will send a designated person to check on the resident. In many cases, letter carriers build relationships with their customers and know very quickly when something is amiss.
5. In-Home Heath & Assisted Living Services
Depending on the level of care your elderly parents need, local continuing care retirement communities, assisted living as well as skilled nursing facilities in your elder’s area may have an outreach program that provides assistance for nonresidents.
6. Respite Caregiver
If your family is fortunate enough to live close enough to have a family member as a primary caregiver for your aging parents, a respite caregiver can fill a significant gap in elderly caregiving. If a family member is the full time caregiver, having a respite caregiver is critical. Not only to provide relief on occasion, but in emergency situations as well. If you get called out of town, these folks can be lifesavers.
Most respite care agencies provide caregivers for as little as a fer hours at a time up to a month at a time. Local nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and senior retirement complexes are a great resource in your search for a respite caregiver. Another option is your local department on aging. If you are employed, be sure to check with your employer to see what – if any – benefits are available via their work-life benefit program.
7. Adult Day Care
If you find yourself in a situation where you or a family member can provide care for your elderly parents in the evenings, but you can’t care for them during the day due to employment issues, you may want to consider adult day care. Many adult day care operations provide services including health assessment and nursing care as well as social and recreational activities. Most adult day care operations require a doctor’s authorization.
In many cases, adult day care can be a godsend. However, there are number of things to consider before relying on it for elder care:
- Transportation options
- Staff / Participant ratio – Should be no more than one staff member for every 8 clients
- Ensure a weekly report is provided on your elder’s activities
- Be sure to get a written enrollment policy
- Understand the facility’s policy on disruptive clients
- Understand the facility’s policy on clients that abuse alcohol or drugs
Being Able To Bridge The Gaps In Elderly Caregiving Can Make A Huge Difference To Your Elder
If you are able to fill the gaps in elderly caregiving for your elderly parents in a safe and effective manner, you may be able to keep them out of a nursing home or assisted living facility. There is little question that most elders want to live in their own home. To be sure, there are times when that is simply not going to be a viable options any longer. But hopefully but understanding your options for filling in the gaps for elderly caregiving, you’ll be able to extend the time that your aging parents will be able to remain in their own home.