Often the individual who needs some personal assistance at home is the last to recognize or admit that fact. We know this to be true from our many years spent in home care and from personal family experience. Some individuals don’t see personal assistance as help, but as a loss of control and dignity. Many families have asked us, “How can we tell if assistance is really necessary, and how do we discuss this with a loved one who may not wish to acknowledge the need?” Allow us to provide some common-sense guidance.
In the healthcare profession, ADLs, or the Activities of Daily Living, are the barometers by which we measure a person’s ability to function autonomously. These are concrete things to look for. Examples of ADL’s are eating, dressing, moving about, and personal hygiene. When an individual is unable to accomplish these basic functions, their health and wellbeing will suffer. If the need exists, how should you encourage some assistance in a non-threatening way?
One thing that should be said is, home care can’t, and isn’t meant to, replace the loving care of the family. Home care is provided in assistance to the family’s care to keep a person at home, encouraging both their autonomy and individuality. That statement begins a good description of the goals of home care; autonomy, individuality, and dignity are important when someone needs help.