Dividing and Conquering: How to Put Together a Caregiving Team for Your Aging Loved Ones

The majority of seniors say that they would prefer to “age in place”—by growing old in the homes they love. But when the time comes for your loved one to get extra help, how do you go about the complicated task of figuring out how much assistance they need?

Luckily, there’s a process for this. Our ally companies offer seniors a wide range of care options, including care navigation. They can perform an at-home assessment to identify how much, and what kind of daily care is needed. During the assessment, they take a comprehensive look at everything a senior needs, including:

Daily Activities of Living

These are the basic tasks seniors must be able to do to take care of themselves. And how well a senior is able to do them will have a bearing on whether or not their extra care will be covered by state-based assistance programs or supplemental insurers. They include:

  • Personal Hygiene—bathing, showering, brushing teeth, nail care, oral care.
  • Dressing—the ability to make appropriate clothing decisions and dress and undress oneself
  • Eating—the ability to feed oneself, if not make food.
  • Continence—the ability to get on and off the toilet and clean oneself
  • Mobility—the ability to move from standing to sitting, and walk without assistance.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living:

Once the senior’s basic skills have been assessed, a secondary evaluation is done on other essential daily living skills needed to be fully independent. How well a senior scores on this can be very telling about the amount of total support they need. The Instrumental Activities of Daily Living include:

Basic communication skills—such as ability to use a phone, mobile phone, email or the Internet

Transportation—being able to drive oneself, or conversely, arrange rides for oneself or use public transportation

Meal Preparation—being able to not just cook meals, but do meal planning, clean up and store food properly

Shopping—making appropriate food and clothing purchases

Housework—including laundry, washing dishes, dusting, vacuuming, and keeping the home generally clean and hygienic

Managing Medication—taking accurate dosages at the right time, and handling the refilling of the medications

Budgeting—operating within a budget, writing checks and paying bills on time, and avoiding scams.

Balancing Caregiving with Professional Care

How much help a senior needs with the Activities of Daily Living will determine whether they need a little help during the day, or whether they need round-the-clock care. While professional caregivers can come in to the home and handle tasks such as food prep and light housework, many of the other instrumental tasks of daily living fall to family caregivers. Often they can seem like a full time job, in and of themselves.

If you are fortunate enough to have siblings or other family members nearby willing to pitch in, sometimes it helps for each of them to take ownership of a certain task. Perhaps one family member is in charge of the senior’s medications, and arranging their doctor’s appointments. Another handles budgeting and bill paying, and purchasing groceries. And another could purchase clothes and other sundries needed. Having a well-coordinated care team, working hand in hand with your professional caregiving team, can make the load a little lighter.

If you’d like advice on how to strike the right balance for your family, find an ally company in your area.  Our experts would love to help.