Better care for Grandma
May 15, 2012 7:03 PM Subscribe
Please tell me about your in-home elder care solutions in the US, specifically in the rural Northeast/upper Midwest.
posted by Snarl Furillo to human relations (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Or anywhere rural, really, but I am in the rural Northeast.
My 90-year-old grandmother lives in her own home and her family would like that to remain so. She has diabetes, is unsteady on her feet and uses a walker, and needs assistance in the restroom. She also has frequent bouts of minor illnesses like nausea, back pain, or depression that require a little medical know-how but mostly some attentive sympathizing.
We currently have home health aides that we hired privately who care for my grandmother and do cooking and housekeeping. They are, for the most part, lovely, good-hearted people, but they require a lot of guidance on things like an appropriate diabetic diet, how to give medications (ie, should a liquid medication be dissolved in water or given straight), and how to engage my grandmother socially to help assuage some of her boredom. They also require a certain amount of interpersonal management- the day shift caregiver has problems with the afternoon shift caregiver, the night caregiver doesn't do enough cleaning and it's not fair to the afternoon shift caregiver, etc. We pay $1800-$2000/week for this level of care.
None of my grandmother's children are really happy with the level of care or the caregivers themselves- but they believe that we have the best level of care for the price we are willing to pay and that there are no better options. They feel that working with a home health agency (to get a better quality of caregiver) or a social worker/visiting nurse (to manage the caregivers to some extent and give suggestions on stimulating sedentary activities or meal preparation and possibly manage household funds for things like groceries and occasional meals out) would not provide enough benefits to be worth the cost.
I suspect that there might be a better solution, but I'm not sure what that is. Are they right that we would pay an HHA agency substantially more than two grand a month? Did you use a similar service recently and are willing to say what that cost? Am I right that an elder-care social worker could light up my grandmother's world or at least have better ideas about managing an elderly person with declining cognitive abilities? Did you work with a social work who lit up your elderly relative's life? Did you get a financial conservator or attorney to take charge of your relative's finances? Is there some other elder-guru we could consult? If so, I would love to hear all about it.