Does Mom Need Home Care?
Signs Mom needs more help around the house can be right in front of you. Piles of unopened mail or an empty fridge are obvious signals, but subtler signs sometimes hide in plain sight.
Declining hygiene, memory or enjoyment of favorite activities, for example, might suggest she’d benefit from assistance at home. The trick is confirming those needs — for someone accustomed to doing things for herself, getting that confirmation might be easier said than done. Simply put, fear of appearing weak or needy might prevent her from asking for help, even from trusted friends or family. Even from you.
Meet her halfway — start the conversation. Candidly but gently discuss needs and how support in the safety and comfort of home can promote greater independence and quality of life.
Key questions to promote care
Conversations might start generally and go from there:
- “How are you feeling?”
- “How’s your appetite?”
- “Have you had any company lately?”
- “How often are you getting to the supermarket?”
- “Have you been to the doctor?”
- “How are you managing on your own?”
Leave questions open-ended — avoid inquiries that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”.
If it’s clear she’s not ready to have the conversation, try again another time. But if she is receptive, it might be OK to ask, “Is there some way I can help?”
For basic needs, such as meal preparation, running errands or transportation, companion care affords an unobtrusive alternative. Companions can be present as little or as much as a client chooses — from a 10-minute drive to the drug store to a full day of socializing and support.
More intensive needs, such as toileting and bathing assistance, help with mobility or skilled care, can be met by a home health aide. Home health care agencies are experts in matching your Mom’s needs with the right caregiver to ensure rapport, safety and the best care possible.
Learn more at the N.J. Division of Aging Services.