Are your elderly parents safe while living at home?

This may be the preferred arrangement for all concerned family members, but the decision may not be clear-cut. Are they able to take care of themselves? Should parents move in with another family member? Would a move to an assisted living facility be preferable? Does their health require nursing home level care?

Consider the services and assistance provided by a home care agency. Whether hourly or on a 24/7 daily basis, the presence, attention, and help provided by a home health aide will enable aging parents to remain in the comfort of their home. Determine what services might be available from local providers and whether any might be covered by insurance.

I suggest enlisting the opinions of any family doctors, nurses, physical therapists and/or mental health care providers who may have history with your parents. Visiting nurses and home health aides can help you fill in gaps in your own caregiving efforts and improve the quality of life for your elderly parents. And certainly, your parents need to be involved in this discussion and decision.

Be sure their home is safe and accessible. Your parents may greatly benefit from stair ramps, lifts, grab bars and similar features in order to get around. Make sure there’s enough space around furniture for a walker or wheelchair. Rugs and loose wires can trip people who use walkers, canes or crutches. Easy-to-use remote controls for heat, air conditioning, entertainment systems and lighting can ease frustration for people who can’t readily get around on their own.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

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