National Carers Week: Practical Tips for Carers of Loved Ones Accessing Home Care Services

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National Carers Week Practical Tips for Carers of Loved Ones Accessing Home Care Services

Every October, National Carers Week provides us with an important opportunity to recognise and appreciate the incredible dedication and hard work of family members and friends who provide care and support to their loved ones, including those accessing home care services

Caring for a family member or friend can be both rewarding and challenging, and it’s crucial to have the right knowledge and tools to make the journey smoother.  

In this blog, we will provide practical tips for carers to help them navigate the complexities of caring for a loved one who may be accessing home care services. 

Understand home care packages

Home care packages are designed to offer tailored support for individuals who wish to remain in their homes while receiving the necessary care and assistance. It’s essential to understand the specific details of the home care package your loved one has been allocated, including the level of care, services covered, and any associated costs. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions regarding their care and needs. 

There are four levels of home hare packages – Level 1 (basic care needs), Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4 (high-level care needs). The higher the level, the more funding and services you receive. For more on home care packages, read our comprehensive guide 

Effective communication

Open and honest communication is key when caring for a family member or friend. Establish a clear line of communication with your loved one, their care provider, and other professionals involved in their care. Regular updates, meetings, and discussions can help ensure everyone is on the same page and that your loved one’s needs are being met.

Respite care

Caring for someone can be physically and emotionally demanding. Don’t forget to take care of yourself too. Many home care providers offer respite care services to their clients, which can offer a temporary break for their carers, allowing them to rest and recharge.  

If these services are available to you, don’t hesitate to use them when needed to prevent burnout and ensure you can provide the best care possible to your loved one moving forward.

Seek support

You don’t have to navigate the caregiving journey alone. You may want to think about reaching out to support groups, organisations, and networks for carers. They can provide valuable insights, emotional support, and practical advice.  

National Carers Week is a great time to explore the resources available to you. Check out the Australian Government’s Carer Gateway for more information. 

Plan for the future

As a carer, it’s important to think about the long-term future of your loved one. Discuss their goals and wishes, and plan accordingly. Consider legal matters like wills, powers of attorney, and advanced care directives to ensure their wishes are respected in the event they can’t make decisions themselves. 

Be informed

Stay informed about your loved one’s medical conditions, medications, and care plan. This knowledge will help you better understand their needs and communicate effectively with healthcare professionals. Keep track of appointments and medications to ensure everything runs smoothly. 

Safety first

Safety is a top priority when caring for someone at home. Evaluate the home environment to identify potential hazards and make necessary adjustments. Install handrails, ramps, and non-slip flooring where needed. Ensure that fire safety measures are in place and consider emergency alert systems if your loved one is at risk of falling or requires immediate assistance. 

For more tips on creating a safe and secure home environment, we’ve developed this informative blog article. 

Help with activities of daily living

Assist your loved one with their daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and grooming. Home care services can provide support in these areas, but for some older Australians the presence and assistance of a friendly face and loved one can make a significant difference in their wellbeing, both physical and emotional. 

Medication management

Properly managing medications is essential. Keep a detailed record of all medications, their dosages, and the schedule. Make sure your loved one takes their medications as prescribed, and regularly review the medication list with their healthcare provider. 

Nutrition and meal planning

A balanced diet is crucial for health and wellbeing, especially as we age. If you’re able to, you can always consider lending support by helping plan and prepare nutritious meals tailored to your loved one’s dietary requirements. If necessary, consult a dietitian to ensure their dietary needs are met, or speak with their home care provider. 

Maintain social connections

Isolation can be a common issue for individuals receiving home care. Encourage your loved one to maintain social connections through visits, phone calls, or social outings when possible. Loneliness can have a significant impact on their mental and emotional wellbeing. 

Promote physical activity

Depending on your loved one’s abilities, engage them in appropriate physical activities to maintain mobility and overall health. Simple exercises and mobility aids can go a long way in preserving their physical independence. 

Provide emotional support

Caring for someone can be emotionally challenging. Be patient and understanding, and acknowledge their feelings and frustrations. Offer emotional support, and consider seeking professional counselling or therapy if needed. Again, if you recognise any major issues or red flags, speak with their home care provider to let them know and consider potential solutions. 

Legal and financial matters

It’s essential to address legal and financial matters early on. Ensure that your loved one’s legal affairs are in order and discuss financial planning, including budgeting for care expenses. You may want to consider speaking with an attorney or financial advisor to navigate these complex areas. 

Regular review and feedback

Home care services should be flexible and tailored to your loved one’s changing needs. Regularly review the care plan and provide feedback to the care provider. This will help ensure that the care remains effective and aligned with your loved one’s evolving requirements. 

Self-care and boundaries

Taking care of a loved one is a significant responsibility, but it’s crucial to maintain your own well-being too. Establish boundaries to prevent caregiver burnout and make time for self-care activities that you enjoy. 

Be patient and flexible

Caring for someone can be a demanding journey filled with ups and downs. Be patient, adaptable, and willing to adjust your approach as circumstances change. Flexibility is key to providing the best care. 

In summary

National Carers Week serves as a reminder of the invaluable role carers play in supporting their loved ones accessing home care services. While it can be demanding, caregiving can also be deeply rewarding. By following these practical tips and accessing the available resources, you can provide the best possible care for your loved one and ensure their well-being, comfort, and happiness. Remember, you are not alone, and support is available to help you on this journey. 

We’re here to support you

At Respect, we’re passionate about supporting older Australians to ensure the next phase of their lives are filled with purpose and possibilities.     

So whether it’s through our network or aged care homes or our home care support options, we are here for you and your family whenever you need us. Your future should shine with meaning, comfort and conveniences — and with our support, you’re backed by over a century of care and consideration for the way you want to live.        

We’re here to help! For more information about how to access a Home Care Package and get started with home care support, including the available opportunities and our range of services, download your Complete step-by-step guide to Care at home.   

Got questions or like to receive more support? Please reach our care at home advisors or call us on 1300 144 144 and choose “home care” as a service option. 

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