Bruce Lee, owner, ComForCare Home Care

Home is where our comfy place is. When we think of our “golden years,” we don’t see ourselves in a nursing home or living outside our homes. So, what do we do when that becomes challenging? What are the options? When is it time to consider getting help?

It’s common for a family caregiver to become overwhelmed with the responsibility of care of another. For the purposes of this example, let’s say the caregiver is a daughter, and the family member is her mother. Most often, things start out innocently enough with the daughter stopping by occasionally to make sure things are OK. As she visits, she starts to notice things like there is not enough food in the fridge or the dates are expired. Making a mental note, she picks up a few things at the grocery store and drops them off the next day. Things progress, time passes, and she begins to notice more things: the dishes aren’t being done. The laundry is stacking up. The floors need sweeping and vacuuming. Mom is wearing the same clothes she had on three days ago.

As a dutiful daughter, she takes care of things. However, the time commitment is becoming a noticeable burden. In fact, when she gets home, her husband gives her a hard time because she is late again, and she is feeling guilty because she missed another soccer game. To top it off, every time she goes to help, mom is agitated because all she ever does is take care of the tasks on the list, and she never has time to visit. At her wits end, the daughter has the conversation she never wanted to have: Is it time to put mom in a home?

As we or our family members age, one of the most difficult challenges we face is trying to decide when to get help. Each family will likely need to work through the process of figuring out how to navigate these murky waters. Using a home care agency can significantly improve the quality of life of those receiving and providing care.

If the objective is to stay in the home for as long as possible, don’t wait too long before getting help. Home care doesn’t need to be a major event in a home and generally costs about the same as a maid service. Care can be provided in increments as little as a couple of hours each week. Introducing caregivers to perform simple tasks like cleaning, laundry and shopping can make it easier as more personal services, such as bathing and dressing, become necessary later.

When selecting a provider, make sure they are properly licensed and insured, and that the staff has been through background checks and skill qualifications. Having the right help can make it possible for all involved to live their best lives, regardless of the challenges they may face.