Your mom has had Alzheimer’s disease or another chronic health condition for several years. She’s reaching a point where a few hours of care a day are not sufficient, but how do you know when it’s time for 24-hour home care?
Her Doctor Says So
Listen to your mom’s doctor. That’s one of the best ways to get insight into her health and need for around-the-clock care. Her doctor can help you understand what’s going on with your mom, what her health needs are, and what may change in the future.
She Has Serious Health Concerns
Your mom has serious health issues that make her weak, lightheaded, or unable to take care of herself. Cancer is one example. Your mom is undergoing chemo and radiation and often feels sick at inopportune times. She’d feel better knowing someone was in the home to help her clean up or get to the toilet or sink.
She might have had a stroke. After the stroke, she’s unable to walk around on her own. She needs a walker or wheelchair and needs help with transfers from her bed, shower chair, or sofa.
Medications Are Taken Every Few Hours
Your mom has some medications that she takes every four hours. This means having a caregiver offer medication reminders and make sure she takes her pills at the right time. Overnight care is important if she cannot delay any of her doses, which is common with some antibiotics for UTIs or antipsychotic medications.
She Has to Have Support
Your mom’s mobility reached a point where she cannot stand up or walk on her own. If it’s gotten to this point, she needs around-the-clock care. If she cannot stand up and get to the bathroom on her own, she needs someone to take her or to handle toileting care, and this may mean having help with middle-of-the-night bathroom needs.
No Family Lives Nearby
Your family is spread out and no one is nearby. One of the worst situations is when you learn your mom fell and couldn’t get to a phone. She was on the floor for days until a neighbor said something. You never want this to happen, but it has happened to some families.
If you arrange to have caregivers with her all day, there’s no risk of this happening. Caregivers work in shifts, so she’s never alone. As one caregiver’s shift ends, the next caregiver arrives before the caregiver leaves. This pattern continues all day and night to provide around-the-clock care.
Once the need for around-the-clock care is determined, arrange services as soon as you can. Some areas have waitlists. If you find that’s true in your region, ask for tips on what to do in the meantime. It helps to have expert advice and suggestions to ensure you’re prepared for what your mom needs.