Home Care Up Close and Personal

Pawley's island

by Sheena Janse, Elder Care Advisor with Care for Life 

Non-medical homecare offers services such as transportation, meal preparation, light housekeeping, companionship, medication management, supervision and assistance with personal care.

Our concerns grew the day my mother couldn’t remember how to get to the mall, just 2 blocks from her home of 60 years. It had started when she couldn’t remember where she’d parked her car a few months before. Of course, there had been the lost items around the house, overlooked Birthdays and Anniversaries, missed appointments. But this was big-really big!

After an examination and testing, her doctor finally gave my mother the diagnosis she dreaded. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Upset and angry, she fired her doctor, but the diagnosis was undeniable.

As “good kids” we tried to take care of her. My sister began handling her finances, we provided transportation to the grocery store& beauty salon, took turns preparing meals, reminding her to take her medications and helping her get ready for bed. Eventually, as the disease progressed, so too did my mother’s needs.

During those years we encountered the all too familiar struggles families encounter- strife between siblings (&spouses), financial planning & depletion of funds, struggles to cover shifts when family members went out of town. I experienced the guilt of being the long distance family member. I felt guilty for not helping out more. I was frustrated by my lack of a voice in certain areas of her care.

Over the course of time her needs grew beyond our capability to meet them. It was difficult to admit we couldn’t take care of our mother alone. We decided to enlist the help of home care. The caregivers were kind, caring and knowledgeable. They provided insight into my mother’s behavior and offered approaches in handling some of her more challenging behaviors. Differences between siblings dissipated as stress levels decreased. While we “children” still assisted in her care, the caregivers provided us with much needed respite. They allowed us to be sons and daughters again. Our visits were no longer stressful and task oriented. Our time together became enjoyable again, listening to music and reminiscing.

The assistance offered by professional home care allowed us to keep my mother at home for a much longer time than we could ever have managed on our own. She was able to enjoy all of her familiar possessions, surroundings and memories. It also allowed us to make new memories. I cherish those last days in my childhood home when we strolled down memory lane together to the tunes of the Big Band era.

For more information regarding Care For Life services or to request an in home assessment please call us at (843)852-9090.