Care Options for Aging Family Members

Raziel Ungar

Raziel Ungar

January 2nd, 2012 - 2 min read

This guest post is by Terri Neill. Terri is a Principal and Director of Client Services for Senior Assist of the Peninsula, with offices in Burlingame. Senior Assist provides in-home assistance for seniors from San Francisco to Palo Alto. All of their caregivers are company employees.  She is also a volunteer member of the San Mateo County Fall Prevention Task Force.

Care Options for Aging Family Members

Many of you had the opportunity to spend time with aging family members and friends over the holidays. Did you notice any of the following?

  • Weight loss
  • Physical instability
  • Unkempt appearance; i.e., soiled clothing, lack of personal hygiene
  • Discussion of loneliness
Older refrigerator model, with freezer compartment

If you visited their home, did you notice…

  • Piles of unopened mail
  • Outdated or no food in the refrigerator
  • Unkempt house; especially bathroom and kitchen
  • Unsafe conditions such as fall hazards, unlocked doors and windows, paper piled on or around stove,  heaters or on the floor
Any of the above could signal the need for assistance. It could be something as simple as a housecleaner once weekly, bi monthly or once a month depending on the need.

If you answered yes to two or more of the above, more monitoring or care might be required.  Some suggestions are as follows:

  1. Emergency Alert System – For a monthly fee of approximately $35, the individual wears a pendant or wristband to call for help in the event of a fall.  Cell phones carried on the person can also be utilized for the same purpose.
  2. Well Check Call-In Service – Again, for a low monthly fee, telephone check-in calls can be made to seniors or housebound individuals.
  3. Food Delivery – Safeway stores can take on line orders for delivery.
  4. Home Safety Modifications – A handyman or family member can easily install grab bars.  These can be purchased at stores such as Home Depot or Lowes.   You can also call Home Safety Services (650 571-7774) who are experts in the field of home safety. From grab bars to railings to wheel chair ramps to stair lifts, they assist with the practical modifications that enable seniors to maximize their independence.
  5. Visit a medical supply store to research items such as side bedrails, commode lifts, canes, walkers, etc.  These items can make activities of daily living easier and safer.
Another option for assistance is hiring an in-home caregiver who can provide non-medical assistance with activities of daily living such as:
  • Meal preparation
  • Transportation
  • Food shopping and miscellaneous errands or appointments
  • Medication reminders
  • Companionship
  • Bathing, dressing and grooming
  • Light household chores
Long term care insurance or veterans “aid and attendance” benefit can cover or defray some of the cost.  (Please check eligibility guidelines for the veterans benefit).

We suggest hiring a caregiver employed by an agency.  The agency provides the following…

  • Criminal background checks
  • Worker’s compensation and liability insurance
  • Crime bond
  • Extensive training
  • Payroll tax responsibility by the employer
  • Fingerprinting
  • TB testing
  • A bench of substitutes in the event of illness or vacation
  • Care management
It is always best to research and obtain assistance before a crisis occurs!



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