If an elderly family member has spent a considerable time in the hospital and his or her discharge date is drawing near, you'll need to evaluate how to proceed. In some cases, the person will be able to return home, but in others, doing so won't be possible. Many families take in elderly members who can no longer live independently. If you're thinking about taking this step, one of your first priorities will be to hire a home health aide. This professional will be able to care for your loved one upon his or her arrival to your home, but it's worthwhile to have the aide visit your home in advance to go over these details.
It's possible that you'll need to make changes to the interior and exterior of your home in anticipation of your family member's arrival, but you might not be sure about what to do. The home aide can visit you and assess the living environment so that he or she can make recommendations. For example, the aide may suggest putting in a ramp leading up to the front or side door, or perhaps setting up a bedroom on the ground floor of your home. The aide will also look at areas such as the bathroom and recommend changes such as grab bars and no-slip pads in the tub.
It may feel completely overwhelming to think about having to care for an elderly parent. It's advantageous to discuss this topic with the home health aide to help you feel prepared for this major change in your life. The aide's experience with this type of scenario will allow him or her to talk to you about what changes will occur, and you'll also get a chance to ask questions to help calm your mind about this uncertain time.
You may also wish to devise a plan about how you and the home health aide will break up the responsibilities of caring for your loved one. Likely, you have daily commitments that may make this care impossible, so you may wish to plan for the aide to come to your home in the morning before you leave for work. This way, he or she can provide care throughout the day, and then you can take over once you get home in the evening. You can also decide what things you want the aide to manage. For example, if the thought of bathing your family member seems daunting, you may ask the home care aide to take care of this job during his or her shift.