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Tips for Starting the Elder Care Conversation

images-3Thanksgiving in November starts off the Holiday season, which means time for families far away to reunite and phone (or Facebook) each other to “catch up” and reflect on the past year. As happy and joyous as these reunions can be, there are still some times when “catching up” reveals the health of a loved one in decline or in need of attention.

And this happens every year. When everyone expects to hear that everyone has been doing well and are enjoying the holiday season, others are surprised that their loved ones may not be doing so well after all.

It’s always best to prepare for these moments, as they come as the loved ones around us age. To help start a conversation about this, the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune offers some tips in their November 20, 2013 article for starting the elder care conversation:

  1. Gather everyone together: To start any conversation, the number one thing to do is to make sure that all involved family members are in on the discussion and know what’s going on. Create a Skype Group Chat, or gather together on Facebook, over dinner, or over the phone. The conversation needs to start when everyone is all ears so that important information can be conveyed to everyone at the same time.
  2. Discuss where care can be (and should be) received: Depending on the needs of the loved one, it may be best to receive care in different places. Most people prefer to age in the comfort of their own homes, but if additional care is needed, nursing facilities, assisted living communities, or care homes may need to be taken into consideration.
  3. Discuss how care can be paid for: There are different resources that help seniors and their families pay for care. Medicaid, Medicare, and disability insurance are some available programs, but most of these programs don’t fully cover the cost of care. Discussion definitely needs to take place in terms of what available programs can cover the cost of care, and how the remaining cost of care can be covered.

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One great point that the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune makes is that “[t]hose taking care of aging family members often are unable to fully convey to those living far away the true needs of an elderly parent,” which is why the Holiday season—when friends and family all come together—is when families get a “reality check” about what really has been going on with their loved ones.

But communicating with family members—especially those living far away—about the true needs and health of a loved one doesn’t have to be so difficult, and especially doesn’t have to take place once a year during the Holidays. Home care software and Home care system solutions today make this type of communication and connection easier than ever for families all across the country.

How a home care system or home care software can help families stay connected

The amazing thing about home care software and home care system solutions today is that they provide a centralized space and community where caregivers, family members, and health care administrators can all come together in one place for the health of a loved one.

For example, caregivers working directly with the loved one can leave comments about the senior’s health in the shared space for others to listen. For family members, especially those living far away from their loved ones, this means real time updates and reports about their loved one, even when they can’t physically be there. With these updates broadcasted to everyone in the shared space of the home care software or home care system, this means that everyone—all family members—can stay involved in the conversation without having to repeatedly contact or be contacted by one person most involved in the care.

We agree with the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune to start the elder care conversation by gathering together with friends, family and loved ones. However, if we were to add additional tips for starting the conversation, a private duty care agency using a home care software or home care system can help bring you and your family together year round.

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