RESOURCES FOR CAREGIVERS
9 Home Health Care Terms Caregivers Need to Know
Whether you’re new to home health care or you’re learning more about it as your loved one’s condition deteriorates, you may encounter some unfamiliar terms or hear words used in new or different ways. Knowing the following terms can help you better navigate the world of home health care:
Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): ADLs are basic daily activities that healthy people rarely think about, but that can be very difficult for the elderly, ill or disabled. They include bathing, dressing, using the toilet, walking, eating and getting in and out of bed. Help from a friend or family member may not be enough if these challenges become too numerous or severe for your loved one to manage.
Geriatric/Senior/Elder Care: These interchangeable terms refer to the care of aged individuals.
Home Care: This is a broad term that generally encompasses both skilled nursing care and care provided by home health aides and companions in the home.
Home Health Care: Home health care, on the other hand, usually refers to services that are medically related, such as licensed nursing assistance or rehabilitation therapy.
Hospice: Also called end-of-life care, hospice provides a wide array of services, from medical to social to spiritual, to the terminally ill. It is important to understand that hospice is not a place, but a program of care that can be administered either at home or in a facility.
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs): These are not as fundamental as ADLs, but are necessary nonetheless. They include shopping, paying bills, cleaning house, washing clothes and shoveling snow.
Intermediate Care: This is a kind of temporary “bridge” between dependence and independence. It typically takes place after a hospitalization and before the individual has sufficiently recovered to resume care for him- or herself.
Intermittent Care: This care is applicable to those who need only occasional assistance, particularly when the primary caregiver has other obligations. It could range from a couple hours a day to once in a blue moon.
Respite Care/Services: This type of care offers a welcome break to family caregivers via outside assistance, and can be very helpful in preventing the care of your loved one from becoming overwhelming. Respite care may be intermittent or performed by friends or family, but it also refers to care performed by home health aides for a few hours or even a few days, so caregivers can relax and get relief from their responsibilities. Note that Medicare may pay for up to 80 hours of respite services per year, depending on certain requirements.
A look at family caregiving
Providing care for a family member in need is an age-old act of kindness, love, and loyalty. And as life expectancies increase, medical treatments advance, and increasing numbers of people live with chronic illness and disabilities, more and more of us will participate in the caregiving process.
There are many different types of family caregiver situations. You may be taking care of an aging parent or a handicapped spouse. Or perhaps you're caring for a child with a physical or mental illness. But regardless of your particular circumstances, you're facing a challenging new role.
If you're like most family caregivers, you aren't trained for the responsibilities you now face. And you probably never anticipated you'd be in this situation. You may not even live very close to your loved one. At the same time, you love your family member and want to provide the best care you can. The good news is that you don't have to be a nursing expert, a superhero, or a saint in order to be a good caregiver. With the right help and support, you can be a good caregiver without having to sacrifice yourself in the process.
Find caregiver services in your area
Explore the Family Caregiver Alliance's Family Care Navigator, a state-by-state resource intended to help you locate services for family caregivers and resources for older or disabled adults.
HEALTH SERIES VIDEO:
How to Recognize if Your Parent Needs Home Health Care (Video)
5 Indispensable Items for Caregivers
Caregiving is a tough, demanding job. And although each caregiver finds workable solutions to problems, there are a few incredibly practical tools that no caregiver should be without. We've found five indispensable products that caregivers can use to make their lives easier and to help keep their loved ones comfortable and safe at home. - See more at: http://www.vnsny.org/
A great resource for anyone caring for a loved one with dementia, motion sensors can be installed on any number of household fixtures, including stoves and faucets. If there’s no movement near the stove or faucet for a specific time, the sensor triggers an automatic shut-off. You can find product descriptions and reviews of various motion sensors at This Caring Home, a website run by Weill Cornell Medical College.
RISER-BLOCKS FOR FURNITURE
Furniture that is low to the ground can be challenging for those with arthritis or balance problems. You can make chairs, sofas and beds easier to get in and out of by placing adjustable riser-blocks under furniture legs.
Caregiving is often a tag-team effort between siblings, other family members and professionals. When there are multiple caregivers looking after your loved one on a daily basis, it is essential to find some way of keeping track of appointments, as well as eating, sleeping and medication schedules. Setting up a calendar or log book in which everyone can record and refer to your loved one’s activities is an easy way of getting everyone on the same page.
LED NIGHT LIGHTS
Dark hallways are difficult enough to navigate for anyone, but they can be especially hazardous for a person with limited vision or mobility. When you don’t want to turn on a bright overhead light, LED night lights that plug into a wall socket are environment-friendly, relatively inexpensive, and they’re automatic, which means they turn on and off depending on the level of ambient light in the rest of the hallway.
Hardwood floors may look lovely, but the slick surface can be dangerous for those with unsteady footing and slower reflexes. A few pairs of tractions socks—they have rubber grips on the soles—will make it easier and safer for your parent to move around with confidence. (Be sure slippers have nonskid bottoms, too.)