MA Home Care News & Bits
As an only child, Meredith had the ultimate responsibility of dealing with the well-being of her parents as they aged. They had divorced many years ago and each lived alone in Marshfield, MA, both within 30 minutes of their daughter. Several years ago when her father reached 90 and was beginning to experience some health problems, including some cognitive issues, Meredith’s immediate response was to look for an assisted living facility that would care for him rather than home care.
“Frankly, it was a knee jerk reaction,” she said. “I work, have a family, and felt I just wouldn’t be able to care for my father as his needs increased. He was very social and I thought he’d like living near people his own age. I also believed the care would be good. At the time, I never really considered home care.”
What she quickly learned after she helped sell her father’s house and moved him into the senior living community was that perception doesn’t always equal reality. “I regret that I wasn’t as familiar with home care as I should have been,” she said. “In hindsight, that should have been my first option.”
While her father did make several friends at the assisted living community, and enjoyed playing cards with them and singing in the choir, Meredith was unhappy with his care. “I think the people there were very caring, but let’s face it, when you have the responsibility of caring for dozens of elderly people who all have health issues of one kind or another, it’s hard to be proactive or even stay on top of things. You can’t be there to stop someone before they fall or make sure they’re eating properly.”
She reached this conclusion a short time after she moved her father into the facility. Yet, she felt she was past the point of no return; it would have been more trouble than it was worth to move him somewhere else. She was thinking of bringing him home to live with her and her family when he died. A couple of years later when her mother started to show signs that it was no longer safe for her to live alone at home, Meredith knew what she needed to do. She went in a totally different direction: she immediately began researching local MA home care agencies.
“My mom still had some friends and relatives living nearby, and I figured the home health aide would keep her engaged and busy, so I didn’t feel the need to move her to a senior community she would be socially stimulated during the day,” said Meredith. “But, much more importantly, I wanted her to get the kind of one-to-one care you can’t get in a facility.”
Three years later, Meredith believes she made the right decision. The same home health aide is still with her mother, and the two have become close friends. The caregiver is there to make sure she takes her medicine and eats properly. She bathes and grooms her, does her laundry, takes her out to the nearby park on nice days, and keeps her home spotless.
“It’s been a great situation,” said Meredith. “My mother gets to stay in her house and receive home care in Marshfield, MA where she wants to be, with a good friend who is always there for her. And I’m not dealing with the bureaucracy you deal with in a South Shore senior living facility where everyone passes the buck to someone else. Here, if I have a concern, I tell the home care aide and it gets done. I only wish I had done this with my dad.”