Support for Family Caregivers

November is National Family Caregivers Month, in which we recognize the love, work and effort that take place daily to tend to the needs of those who can’t manage on their own. Among those who require care are older people whose health and faculties are in decline. At SmithLife Homecare, we are honored to help the helpers in the Montgomery County, Maryland area, and we have found that there are some crucial things caregivers can do for the health, safety and comfort of all.

Have a Plan

In life there are no guarantees. However, as adults age, they develop the need for assistance, and it is possible to anticipate some of these needs before they become a problem. For example, before a fall can happen, there are multiple ways to improve the safety of a home, from installing grab bars in locations like the bathroom to widening doors or investing in smart home features that allow for increased security and easier connection to help. Prepare a printout of key phone numbers and make sure you know the location of key documents (health records, power of attorney, etc.) so that you aren’t forced to scramble in the event of an emergency. If you know that you have a limited capacity to be present in the home of an older person who may need assistance, start researching homecare options to find the right fit for your loved one’s needs. 

Be Realistic

One size does not fit all when it comes to care. Everyone is different, and that applies to how people age, as well as how they feel about aging. So, an older adult might have an urgent need for assistance with daily living, but they refuse to admit to the challenge. Instead of forcing unwanted care, try understanding the underlying reasons like a fear of losing independence, and work on a solution that helps address this concern. It’s also important to acknowledge the capacity of a caregiver in the face of mounting needs. Are you in the same city? Do you have time to help on a daily basis? Are you comfortable with providing help with intimate activities like bathing and dressing? It’s important to recognize your own limits so that they don’t impede proper care.

Ask For Help

Taking care of another human being is often a labor of love for the caregiver, but it is not going to be easy all the time. As you assess your realistic capacity, you should take into account that there are resources available to help you with your responsibilities. Other family members, neighbors, and community are excellent resources, but they might be missing the training and professional experience that is needed for proper care. This is when a home health care service is an option to make sure your loved one is comfortable, safe and happy. 

Support Programs

Family caregivers need occasional breaks called respite, so they can return to their duties refreshed. Unpaid, primary caregivers of aging adults aged 60+ who live in the same Montgomery County residence can apply for coordination of respite through The Arc Montgomery County. Approved families are eligible for up to 140 hours of free respite care per fiscal year (July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022), with some restrictions. For more information on this program, email Kathleen McGuinness – kmm@smithlifehomecare.com

At SmithLife Homecare, we offer a range of support and services to make sure our clients receive the care that they need to live their best lives. Often, our team of trained professionals can expand the independence of an older person so that they can continue to live at home and feel the satisfaction of continuing to manage their lives within their capacity. We understand that no situation is exactly like the other, and we begin our services with an assessment to make sure what we offer is aligned with your needs. You can arrange service with a simple phone call to 301-816-5020. We will be glad to speak with you about your needs and how we can help anytime, day or night. For more information, you can also contact us here.

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