In-Home Care: What to Do When Things Go Wrong
7 common problems and solutions
Home care problems: health or financial issues
When you're providing home care for someone, in your home or theirs, it's common to have problems -- and this doesn't mean you're failing. Some have easy solutions, while others take more work. Sometimes the best decision is to switch to a different care setting. Here are some ideas for addressing common home care problems. They may also help you decide if home care is the best choice for your friend or relative.
If the person in your care is showing signs of declining health, the first thing you should do is call his doctor. (Dial 911, if it's a medical emergency.) Before calling, write down all of your concerns and observations to prepare for your talk. Get input from others, professionals and nonprofessionals, who spend time with him.
It's also a good idea to have a list of his medications on hand when talking to the doctor. Have the person in your care talk to the doctor directly if he's able. (He may prefer privacy when speaking.) You can provide additional details to the doctor from the caregiver perspective.
What you can do: Start by brainstorming with professionals involved with the older adult.
- You may want to suggest to his doctor that you hold a team meeting. Include all health providers involved in his care, including -- and especially -- those making home visits. This is helpful for deciding what changes, if any, can be made in the home care setting, or if it's time to consider other options.
Providing home care can be expensive, especially if you're using lots of paid caregivers.
Consult with an elder attorney who specializes in senior financial planning. It may be worth even a one-shot visit to help you organize.
Ask family and friends to pitch in. With some extra help, you may be able to reduce paid care hours.
Try to be realistic about finances. Avoid getting yourself into debt.
Find out if he qualifies for Medicaid. If he's low-income and can't live independently, he may be eligible.