Your parent’s illness may be such that they require some degree of in-home care. There are various services available.
Your parent may find that due to their illness they do not have to be hospitalized or in an institution but can remain at home with some assistance. The extent of the assistance will vary. Depending on the circumstances you, your family or friends may be able to provide some of this help and this is an area where you should have an open and frank discussion with the interested parties to determine if this is practical. Your parent’s needs might be quite modest and able to be met without putting unreasonable demands upon anyone else’s time. In other cases you may come to the conclusion that outside help is required. Some of the areas of assistance to be considered are:
Your parent may be in the situation where they can manage to make themselves breakfast and lunch but do not feel up to making an evening meal. You and your family may decide that you can do some periodic shopping to keep them supplied with essentials as well as provide an evening meal. However, family schedules and proximity may make providing regular meals impractical so a popular alternative could be ‘Meals on Wheels’ or a similar program in your community. For a relatively modest cost, usually about $5, your parent will receive a nutritious, balanced meal delivered to their home.
When you parent is ill but still able to get around you will need to consider the extent of their mobility and needs. Devices such as canes and walkers can be of great assistance to people with reduced mobility. Electrically powered scooters are also available but can be rather expensive (~$2,000). If your parent is relatively mobile they may want to get out periodically to shop or attend doctor’s appointments. You and other family members or friends may be able to arrange a schedule to make these trips. If this is not practical, many communities have organizations that provide transportation services for those with limited mobility as well as volunteer drivers who can take the patient to doctor’s appointments or therapy sessions.
If your parent is still able to drive their car you should look into getting a disabled parking sticker to minimize their walking. The appropriate provincial ministry will require a signed statement from a qualified health professional that the applicant qualifies on medical grounds.
If your parent is able and prefers to remain at home, they will probably require some assistance in maintaining their home and garden. You and your family members may be able to arrange an acceptable schedule and list of responsibilities. Required assistance will probably include laundry and cleaning as well as garden maintenance, snow removal, etc. If family and friends are unable to manage these things there may be local volunteer services available that provide assistance for infirm/disabled persons. You may have to make arrangements with local companies that will require paying commercial rates which must be factored into the budget.
When your parent is at home, you will want to arrange for visitors to call on a regular basis. This will not only help to ensure that they are managing but provide some important social contact.
Your parent’s condition may be such that they will require more constant care with an attendant in their home for most or all of the day. This will be a more expensive option. You should check to see if there are government agencies to assist you in finding and paying for in-home care. The relative costs of having your parent live in a residential facility would need to be considered as well as the emotional factors since many elderly people are attached to their homes and are very reluctant to move to a care facility.
Many communities offer facilities where seniors can spend their days in a safe, social environment.
If you and/or other family members are providing in-home care for your parent there are Respite Care programs where a qualified attendant will visit periodically to provide care for your parent while the primary caregiver can ‘take a break’. This can be an important service to prevent the build up of stress for the caregiver(s).
Your advisor has access to a great deal of information on the type of support services available. For example, in Ontario, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care is an excellent place to start to learn about the options available to assist people in finding and funding in-home care.