If I could give my mother advice on how to use her homecare package

Does your mother have a home care package that she could be using better?

Is she struggling with the same problems she had before home care because she is resisting help?

Is it taking longer than you expected to use the home care services that are available in her home care package?

Chloe, one of our client’s daughters met with St Louis Home Care to reflect and share her experience of helping her mother get the support she needed through a government-funded Home Care Package. Chloe thought others might be in a similar situation and would benefit from her experience with her mother.

Chloe’s mother has had a home care package for two years and continued to live safely and happily in their family home with Dad, with support from their home care provider, St Louis Home Care. She recollects the experience has had its challenges.

My mother has a vision impairment and a heart condition and wants to remain living at home with Dad for as long as possible. My mother is proud and values family, she has always been extremely capable, fiercely protective, and independent. With Mum’s health problems, she relied on Dad, this was challenging for him both mentally and physically, and he looked to us for support. We love helping but like many busy families, we don’t always have the time or availability.

We didn’t know what to do for Mum and Dad, then a friend told me about Home Care Packages and providers like St Louis Home Care. I’d like to say, that the rest was history but really it was just the beginning.

We made a call to St Louis Home Care they offer a free one-hour consult to discuss our situation and our home care options. This was a huge help as this helped us navigate through my aged care and know what to expect in the process and what the costs could be in our situation. After registering with My Aged Care, we waited for an assessment and then a home care package to be offered, and then we had to choose a home care provider.

We looked at several providers until we chose the one that best suited our situation. It came as no surprise that Mum resisted getting support and help early and we were grateful for the knowledge, experience, and expertise of our home care coordinator during this time.

Like Chloe says, “It’s about trusting the people whom you meet when you look for a home care provider and whom you feel understands your situation and can provide the right support.”

When Mum had a major change in her health, she started to expect more than what her home care package was funded for. Her St Louis Home Care Coordinator explained her support hours and level of care are funded by her home care assessment, and when her health and support needs change, we contact my aged care for a new assessment to change this.

Looking back if we had known about home care support, we would have organised it earlier as Mum and Dad’s health and well-being deteriorated the most when they did not have support in their home.

If I could give my mother some tips on how to best use her home care package, this is the advice I would offer her. I hope this helps you if you are in a similar situation.

This article has been written with permission of a St Louis Home Care client

Tips for the parent who needs home care but doesn’t want it.

I wish Mum would have started Home Care support earlier.

If Mum would have embraced the support of her home care package earlier. I wish Mum knew from the start the support gave her the independence and choices they were looking for to meet their goals to remain living at home safely.

I wish Mum knew that this is the most confident we have seen her since her health problems started and we all love seeing her work with her coordinator to manage her own support plan. We really appreciate that no matter what happens to either Mum or Dad they now have the support to help them manage their time at home safely and with independence. We have now registered Dad with my aged care for some support as he has some health problems.

I wish Mum understood that getting a Home Care Package did not take family support away. Since Mum has started her home care package we are still involved in her care and support. The few hours a week of support have improved Mum and Dad’s health, well-being, and relationship! We have all benefited as we have family visits instead of carer visits and this is important for us at this stage of Mum and Dad’s life.

Get to know your Home Carer Coordinator and Support Team

Right from the start we arranged for her home care coordinator to meet in our home so my mother had time to get to know them and give her the confidence to call her coordinator when she needed. The home care coordinator went through the home care assessment to make sure it was up to date and gave my mum choices to meet her support needs and understand her budget.

Have a team of care workers as a support network

My mother found the home care process quite overwhelming and she feared having anyone in her home other than known family or friends. We spoke to her coordinator and arranged to have a team of care workers for support. As she was introduced to each new care worker in her team we arranged for a family member to be with her. Mum needed us for the confidence to communicate with the care worker as she had never asked people outside the family to do things for her. We found it better to have a small team of care workers introduced early so we did not have to face this each time there were changes. All care workers are trained, respectful, very professional, and personable and this made the process very easy. We only needed to do this at the beginning as Mum now has confidence with all care workers.

Find out what services the client can be actively involved with

As mum was losing her sight she was struggling with the housework, and she has always been meticulous with cleaning and tidiness. This led to Mum assisting with the cleaning as home care encourages the person receiving support to be involved. Mum can give directions about the quality of cleanliness and do some of the lighter duties with the care worker.

It is the little things that make the biggest difference

Another problem with losing her eyesight was she could not find the brands and products she wanted in the supermarket. Mum stopped cooking because my father was not buying the brands she liked. He could not find them in the supermarket even when they went together, and this caused them to quarrel, inside the supermarket and at home. We suggested a care worker take her grocery shopping. The care worker patiently wrote the shopping list with the brands Mum liked and was able to find them in the supermarket, unlike Dad!

Mum looks forward to grocery shopping with her care worker, after they finish shopping, they have a coffee at her local café – she is still recognised by the staff as she has been going there for years!

Include exercise - physiotherapy and walking

Exercise and fitness have always been important for my mother. She started complaining about many aches and pains. In her care plan, she started physiotherapy at home to help ease muscular tension and to take her for a walk outside in the fresh air and sunshine. Mum has started to build some strength, her movement has improved and she feels fewer aches and pains.

Related article: Walk toward better health with your Home Care Package and make new friends too

Social support is an important part of the home care support plan.

My Mum’s reluctance to get home care support affected them socially. She was not able to get out on her own, so Dad went everywhere with her, then he was not able to manage to take her, so he left her at home, then she didn’t want to be left at home on her own, so she didn’t let Dad go out.

My Dad had become my mother’s social life and during this time Mum became isolated and lonely. Loneliness leads to all sorts of health problems, not just mental health conditions but also physical health problems. After Mum got a home care package and included a few weeks of social support in her care plan, Mum was happier and reconnected to activities in her community and this time provided Dad with much-needed Carers respite.

Thanks to the expertise, professionalism, respect, and knowledge of our home care coordinator and the team from St Louis Aged Care the process of getting the right home care was a lot easier.

Talk to our home care coordinators to help you with your loved one.

At St Louis, the home care coordinators are the contact point for our clients and their families.

Our home Care support team takes the time to get to know each of our clients and make sure that that home care support plan provides choices to meet the needs of their clients in their own homes.

Call to arrange a time for your parent or loved one to have a chat with a home care coordinator from St Louis Home Care to find the right support to meet your needs. Please phone St Louis Home Care in Adelaide 8332 0950 or St Louis Home Care in Victor Harbor 8552 1481.

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