What does it mean to get home care for yourself or a loved one “balanced”? To us at Support For Home, it means ensuring that all of the factors that make it possible for an individual (or couple) to stay safely in their home are understood and addressed.
So, what are those factors? We look at the problem as a four-legged stool. Each of the legs must be sturdy and in balance with the other three if the stool is to be usable. Ultimately, that stool is what allows our clients to live safely in their homes, rather than be forced to move to a facility.
The first leg of the stool represents support for the client’s Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental ADLs. This area is the primary focus of our Advance Living Directive tool, a major topic of this blog. The graphic below represents the first leg:
Not all ADLs or Instrumental ADLs will need support for any given client. Our task is to perform a thorough assessment that tells us where our home care services focus should be.
If our client can eat independently but cannot cook, we know that needs to be covered. If they have a need for a special diet – for example, if they are Type II Diabetic – we know we need to ensure our Home Care Aide is able to address that need.
The bottom line for this leg of the stool is that it pertains most specifically to services provided by a professional Home Care Aide from our agency or a family caregiver (or, quite possibly, a combination of the two).
Getting that first leg right is absolutely critical to enabling a senior or a disabled individual to live at home. Getting the second leg is equally important, even though it does not involve our services. In fact, for some of our clients, the second leg is even “larger” than the first:
The “Other Needs” area is not always so large, but we want to make the point that it absolutely can include needs such as the partial list, below:
- Home safety (we recommend a great non-profit agency that installs grab bars, ramps, transfer poles, toilet risers, … that help someone stay safe)
- Emergency alert system – a bracelet or pendant to call for help
- Adult Day Health Program – provides socialization, some physical therapy, even dementia and Alzheimer’s programs
- Fiduciary or trustee services
- Home health services – skilled nursing, physical / speech / occupational therapy for transitions from medical facility to home
- Manicures, pedicures, hair styling or barbering – “Can you find me a barber who will come to the house?”
- Durable medical equipment / mobility equipment – we had a client who neededed a power lift to help him into and out of his pool, his main source of exercise
- Financial assistance for care needed – Veteran’s Aid & Attendance or understanding and helping clients with their Long-Term Care Insurance policy benefits
Even though we do not provide these auxiliary services – nor would we ever take a dime in fees or commissions from anyone – we know that if these needs are not met the services that we do provide, supporting ADLs and IADLs, will be totally inadequate.
In Part II, we will talk about the other two legs of the stool that are critical to successful, balanced home care.
Best wishes, Bert