Home care isn’t for everyone. But frequent visits from carers offering services which can include everything from help with cleaning the house once a week, to regular visits several times a day to help with washing, dressing and other personal care tasks can be the perfect solution.
It is never easy to admit that we are struggling with everyday tasks but getting extra help around the home can allow your parent to live safely and independently for longer. There are lots of ways your parent can get help at home and recognising exactly what is required is the first step.
Let’s explore what to look out for and the questions to ask which will signpost you to whether or not your parent might need more help at home.
Look around the house and garden to see if things are less well cared for than they used to be: is the house looking messier than it used to, especially the kitchen and bathroom? Is laundry piling up and clothes left un-ironed? Is post unopened?
- Money: are bills getting paid, or are there reminders in the post? If you are able to look at a bank statement, does it look like spending patterns have changed?
- Medication: if your parent takes medication, do they have dosette boxes for their pills and do the pills appear to be taken regularly? Are there lots of full packets in the kitchen drawer or the bathroom cabinet?
- Personal hygiene: are they wearing clean clothes, and do they appear to be looking after themselves? Can they still get into the bath/shower? It may be worth asking this question directly, as this is often a real challenge as mobility reduces.
- Clothes: are they over or under-dressed for the weather?
- Food: check the fridge to make sure food is (reasonably) in date and to see if they appear to be eating regular meals. Are they still able to cook or heat food safely?
- Mobility: can they still get up and down stairs if they have them? Are they able to walk to shops or public transport, or to drive themselves safely?
- Hobbies and socialising: are they still doing the things they have enjoyed doing until now? Are they getting out to see friends or going to activities?
- Ask someone: ask a neighbour, cleaner or friend how they think your parent is doing – particularly if they see them on a regular basis; it’s not a great feeling to be “spying” on your parent but might be best in the long run.
If you’re concerned it’s time to speak to your parent
A subtle approach will go a long way. Suggest some extra cleaning help at first, this will allow you to judge whether your parent is positive towards extra help. Investigate help that is available in your local area, such as care agencies or carers; you will also find that there are charities that provide help from shopping, to driving or just companionship.
The NHS is a good place to start:
- East Cheshire NHS Trust
- Cheshire and Merseyside NHS
- West Cheshire NHS
Care Needs Assessment
If the conclusion is that your parent does need help and support at home, the next step would be to get a care needs assessment carried out by their Local authority. The assessment will identify the level of assistance and services your parent needs to remain independent. This plan for care is mandatory regardless of finances or eligibility. Your local NHS can conduct this for you.
If you have noticed that your parent is struggling to keep up with their household chores, such as cleaning, shopping or gardening, you can employ a home helper to support them. Home Helpers could make their life so much easier. Choosing help could maintain your parent’s independence for longer in their own home.
Age UK run their ‘Help at Home’ service across Cheshire to assist older people with domestic tasks around the house. Reliable paid helpers make home visits to support independent living. Help at Home can perform many useful tasks such as cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, vacuuming and helping with the laundry. They can also go shopping for your parent and even walk their dog. You can get a free home visit to determine your parent’s needs and then they charge hourly for every home visit.
There are many options of Home Care services, including, visiting care, dementia care, nursing care and personal care. You can even opt for a round-the-clock carer, such as Helping Hands.
Meals on Wheels
If cooking at home has become a struggle for your parent, their health can be affected. Meals on Wheels are a long running meal delivery service, bringing hot and healthy meals to an older person’s front door. Food delivery services that are available include icarecusine and Apetito.
The Royal Voluntary Service, the original provider of the meals on wheels service, offer various choices and dietary options. Their drivers are also a welcome source for social interaction.
Care for the Carer
As the primary carer for a parent or relative it’s easy to lose sight of you and find difficulty juggling family life, work and caring. Carers Trust 4 All offer the support you need when you need it. They offer advice, practical help or even a break from your caring responsibilities.