At Home with Memories: Home Health

home health

At Home with Nanas, Grannies, Pop-pops, and Granddaddies

by Lydia Hill 

My Dad’s mom was “Grandma”. Grandma would pull out her false teeth, turn them around so that the wet, pink gums faced outwards, and scare the living daylights out of me with growling monster noises. To this day, I still love a good scary movie. I wish I had spent more time with Grandma.

We were ghost-hunters together.

My son calls my mother “Gran-Gran” and my father “Popsy”. Gran-Gran takes my son swimming and has taught him how to float like a buoy in the ocean, withstanding waves and ripples and splashes. Whenever we go swimming, he talks about how Gran-Gran taught him to weigh less than water.

They are fishes together.

Popsy introduced my son to his favorite reading series, “Captain Underpants.” My son, who is 6 years old, can’t go a full hour without referencing a term (most of which fall under our category of “potty words”) from these books and quietly thanking Popsy.

They are comedians together.

Grandparents, whatever ever you name them, are treasure-keepers. They have the ability to shape us, school us, and teach us the beauty of a bit of harmless rule-breaking. The world is a better place with grandparents. Home is a better place when you’re with a loved one… perhaps a grandchild (or great-grandchild), if you are so lucky.

In my line of work, I think of my Grandma often. I think of how we would walk together, sing together, and eat Lorna Doone shortbread cookies together. On occasion, I also think about how she died when I was 12 years old, and I just didn’t get to spend enough time with her. This loss left a much bigger hole than I understood at the time, but I’d like to think she’d be awfully proud of me for how I’ve chosen to connect with all the grandparents who aren’t mine in the big, wide world.

I work in home healthcare. This is an industry where Medicare can temporarily cover the cost of a nurse or therapist coming to your home. Home health is prescribed by your doctor when it’s difficult to get around town due to a medical reason, but you still need minor medical care. This type of healthcare not only provides a benefit to you physically, but it can be emotionally rewarding, too. How nice it will be when you’re able to walk around the block with the grandkids again, or read a full line from your favorite book aloud without gasping for breath?

While home healthcare clinicians may be too old for poetic readings of “Captain Underpants”, these professionals care about you and what you have to say. It is a privilege to serve you in your home. They want to understand your health problems from your perspective, relay your concerns and needs to your doctor, and with your doctor’s consent, form a plan to treat and give you confidence in dealing with your condition.

Perhaps you’ve had a recent fall and are a bit nervous about having another one. Maybe you’ve recently been diagnosed with CHF, diabetes, or COPD and you need a little help understanding your symptoms, and how to safely avoid an emergency room visit. Or perhaps you’ve had to call or visit your doctor several times in the past few weeks, and you feel like you’re repeating yourself. These are all reasons why you may be a candidate for home healthcare.

Home healthcare professionals will help and teach you. They discuss your health goals (or help you set them), and then work with you a few times a week to reach those goals. Visits average about 30 minutes in length, and depending upon your needs, occur 2 or 3 times a week for several weeks. Your clinician can be a nurse, physical therapist, or a speech therapist—or some combination of all three types of experts. Services that can be added-on include occupational therapy, an aide to help with bathing, and social work to help you identify resources in the community at-large. Regardless of what you need, each clinician wants you to gain confidence, become stronger, and feel better… all in your own home.

If you think you could benefit from home healthcare, your next step is to reach out to your doctor. Your doctor can help you determine if home healthcare is the right fit. Take care of yourself. Trust me, those grandkids (and great-grandkids) need you.

You have ghosts to hunt, oceans to swim, and cookies to eat.