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From Our Experts: Identifying Your Caregiving Needs

When it comes to figuring out whether or not your elderly parent or loved one needs a caregiver at home, the process can be a little confusing. What exactly should you look for? How do you know what type of care they might need? How many hours a week would they need in-home care services?

Luckily, our team at Tandem has some answers for you. We sat down with Brittany Taralson, one of our lead Senior Care Specialists, and Maureen Tyra, our Director of Careplanning, to discuss how to best determine your loved one’s caregiving needs.

Figure Out Why You Need A Private Caregiver

Brittany, who has a background in behavioral health and addiction counseling, handles day-to-day calls from clients and prospective clients and she always likes to start the process with a new client by having them explain why they’re calling.

“It really helps to create a foundation for a care plan,” says Brittany. “We’ll help clients set up a profile over the phone and can walk them through any issues they might face in the process. Some are struggling emotionally, and it helps to have someone hold your hand through it sometimes.”

Brittany will address whether or not their loved one can bathe themselves (and if not, are you, as their friend or family member, comfortable with bathing or assisting in the bathroom?), if they have any memory loss or signs of dementia, if they are bed-bound or incontinent, and whether or not they still drive to determine the initial level of in-home care services that are needed.

Personalize Your In-Home Care Services

As the Director of Careplanning, Maureen is uniquely qualified to help identify caregiver needs. With over 20 years of experience as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker within hospital systems, Maureen has assisted hundreds of families through the challenges of planning for their caregiving needs.

“I believe in doing in-home assessments, which we are implementing at Tandem,” says Maureen. “It allows us to really see what’s going on with your loved one, gain an understanding of the full picture, and know how to best prepare our caregivers for your parent or loved one.”

When making an in-home assessment, Maureen considers environmental, physical, and mental factors, which all play a role in determining the level of resources needed.

“Your physical space that you live in is a reflection of your mental space,” says Maureen. “If someone cannot maintain a clean and healthy environment, we look for the underlying reason behind it–sometimes it’s physical, sometimes it’s cognitive–but we always want to provide them with what they need to remain in their homes safely and independently.”

Coming To Terms With Your Own Feelings

Both Brittany and Maureen have experience talking to family caregivers who are in denial about what is going on with their parent or loved one.

“We get a lot of calls from people who know on some level that their parent needs care at home, but are in denial about the urgency of the need,” says Brittany. “Most often what ends up happening is they call us back after a health crisis has occurred, and we can begin assisting them to coordinate care within 24 hours. What I’d really love for people to do, however, is to start planning now, before a crisis happens, because maybe having a caregiver in the home would prevent it from happening in the first place.”

Being proactive about the situation can be helpful for the whole family. Maureen recommends getting a third-party opinion as an unbiased set of eyes about the situation.

“Some families are in denial about what their parent needs, so outside advice from an expert can be incredibly valuable. It can really help everyone see the reality of the situation and improve the quality of life for their loved one sooner rather than later,” she says. 

Tandem Is Here To Help

When you feel ready to move forward with providing your parent or loved one with care at home, our Tandem team is standing by to guide you in the right direction. Call one of our Senior Care Specialists today, and don’t be surprised if Brittany is on the other end of the phone!

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