By Dr. Jeanne Porter-King
As many of us know, there is no guidebook on caregiving. We have all stumbled through it and done the best we can. Choosing home healthcare was one of the many challenges we had to navigate on our caregiving journey as a family.
When my sister who lived closest to Mom in Ohio expressed that Mom should no longer live on her own, all of us agreed. My Mom initially stayed with my brother and his family, with the intention that she would eventually come to live with me and my husband.
This is where we learned how extensive her health challenges were. My brother called one night and said, “Jeanne, you’re going to have to find a home health agency to provide care for Mom when she comes to live with you in a few weeks. You should start looking now.”
As I look back, that transparency meant everything to me. Knowing what I was walking into, and what I had to deal with was essential to me seeking the care that Mom deserves. As caregivers, we need to have honest conversations amongst family about the condition of our loved ones. Sugarcoating it doesn’t help; ignoring it is even worse. Why? Because this hinders you from making the right decision for your family.
As a natural go-getter, I immediately went into problem-solving mode. I am an entrepreneur and church leader, I’ve got this! But I soon realized that I was out of my element. This was not an issue I could resolve with a quick meeting or a task I can just delegate to my assistant. This was much more. This is Mom, the woman who loves me, sacrificed for me and raised me. I felt a responsibility, pressure even, to make the right decision.
I had no idea where to start. So when I got off the phone with my brother Joe, I posted the following request on Facebook:
Hey FB Fam! I need recommendations on Home Health Aide companies for a senior that are reliable, provide quality care, and service the south suburbs. Of course, they have to observe strict COVID-19 safety protocols. Please provide your recommendations and contact info, if possible. Thanks in advance.
It was late so I didn’t expect to hear from anyone until morning, but God has ways of reminding me that God will always supply my needs. Within minutes, I received a recommendation for the owner of a home healthcare agency tagged on the post: Dan Franklin– Essential Home Healthcare. Perfect! It turns out Essential Home Health Care was servicing a dear friend of mine and it was his son that reached out to give the recommendation.
Dan immediately reached out and began the process of helping us to navigate the labyrinth of Medicare, supplemental insurance, home medical equipment, physical therapy, and so much more. His agency was essential in providing Mom with a Nurse Practitioner as her primary care provider.
Having my mom live with my family was not easy at first. Mom had been hospitalized twice and each time after rehab, Essential Health Care provided the at-home medical service Mom needed, including a wheelchair, nurse, physical therapy, and more. This was such a relief for my family!
My advice to you is that seeking a Home Health Care agency should be your first step. There are home health agencies that specialize in coordinating medical care and home caregiving agencies that help with non-medical assistance. They each provide vital services that can help you as a caregiver. You’ll save yourself the heartache of having to navigate such a complicated process on your own.
Know that home healthcare is a viable option that can work for you and your family with the right kind of support and resources. We also need to make sure to address the initial guilt we may feel for not being the sole, hands-on caregiver. We should instead shift our mindset to the fact that seeking help will be positive for both you and your loved one.
There are many agencies that offer similar services. However, Dan has been such a blessing to my family and has made our caregiving journey so much easier. In a follow-on blog post next week, he will discuss the services you can expect with this type of agency, the difference between a Home Health Care Agency and a Home Caregiving Agency, what a family should look for in a Home Health Care Agency, and more. We will focus on home caregiving assistance in a future blog post.
In the meantime, you can learn more about Dan’s Agency at https://essentialhh.org/
Continue to follow our caregiving blog series at https://www.drjeanneporterking.com/blog.