Searching for Home Care During the Pandemic
You can find just about anything on the internet: a chair, a car, a house. And if you find yourself in need of a specific type of service or job that needs to get done well, there is probably "an app for that."
Sometimes, though, you can't find what you are looking for. That was the position my Mom and I found ourselves in when we began looking for home health services and companion care for my Dad.
What were we going to do once both of us had to work in person again? Who was going to stay with Dad during the day?
Beginning our search for home health services
Our search for home health services began about 3 years after Dad was diagnosed.
Being medical professionals, we recognized and understood the need to get him enrolled in the therapies: physical, occupational, and speech.
Initially, he was resistant to it, "I'm fine," Dad told us. It wasn't until he started to express his frustrations with his communication skills that he finally relented.
We started by contacting our medical insurance company to determine what in-network providers we could utilize. Once this was identified, he was evaluated for and started in-home speech therapy sessions. He benefited from these sessions for a while but eventually, he reached his limit.
His neurologist recommended in-home physical and occupational therapies as his disease was progressing. We began looking for physical and occupational therapy services. However, one of the biggest events of our life hit: the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Searching for home care during the pandemic
When the world came to a grinding halt in those early months of the pandemic those services weren't available. Even when non-emergency healthcare opened up, my Mom and I were hesitant to have anyone come into our home. Alzheimer's patients fell into the "high risk" category. We decided to wait a little bit longer. The longer we waited, the more his disease progressed.
In the spring of 2021, I was due to go back to in-person work. As a nurse, my Mom never had the option of remote work, so I had been working from home with Dad for the previous year and a half. The deadline to find care during the day was fast approaching.
We searched the internet only to come up empty. To our dismay, like many areas of healthcare, there was a shortage of home health aides near us. If we couldn't find anyone to come into our home and provide companion care - what were we to do?
An unexpected saving grace
Enter our neighbor, and for our purposes, we will refer to him as Ben. He was pursuing a degree online at-home and working part-time. At this point, my Dad needed "light assistance" around the house, commonly referred to as companion care.
He needed someone to prepare meals, go on walks with him, keep him company, and most importantly assure his safety while we were out of the house. Ben became Dad's companion and provided those things when we couldn't find the support our family needed.
Finding help in an unlikely place
Like many families, mine felt the impact of the pandemic and its influences on care. We consider ourselves lucky to have found the assistance we needed in an unlikely place.
Help can come in all kinds of ways and sometimes, all you have to do is look down the street.
Did you have to look for home care during the pandemic? Tell us about your experience in the comments below, or share your story with the community.
Are you a male caregiver to a loved one with Alzheimer's disease?