How you can assist loved ones to access support while they wait for a Home Care Package

Happy senior man with walking stick relaxing in a nursing house

The every growing wait list for a Home Care Package is leaving families in crisis, however access to immediate, affordable, flexible support can be found if you know what to look for.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is in full swing, with escalating waiting times for people receiving home support a major focus of the proceedings. Delays for Home Care Packages of up to two years is putting pressure on families to provide the support that’s needed to help ageing parents remain at home while they wait for government support.

There are so many benefits for people to age in place, in the comfort and security of their own home. By encouraging independence and self-directed care, ageing at home can extend and improve quality of life. However, ageing at home without appropriate support can have the opposite effect, causing a more rapid deterioration as well as the more obvious immediate dangers it presents to someone’s health and wellbeing.

The situation has seen families in crisis, forced to take on the care of their loved ones themselves, or moving them into a residential facility prematurely. However, people who find themselves on a waitlist for home support can get access to affordable, flexible care immediately by engaging the support they need directly through Mable. With average rates for independent support workers on the Mable platform between $35 and $40 an hour, it’s an affordable solution, however given that you’re likely to be paying out of pocket while you’re waiting for a Home Care Package to become available, it’s important to make sure your money is going a long way.

Making the time count

A common theme that we hear from people who have worked with a home care provider is that an (often well-meaning) care worker will spend too much valuable support time undertaking work that’s not crucial to the health and wellbeing of the client.

Assessing these priorities and using the limited hours you may have wisely can go a long way to ensuring your parent or loved one can remain at home safely while they wait for a home care package. Easier said than done though, right? We know that arranging care for someone can be a daunting prospect, particularly if that person is not likely to communicate where they need assistance. When looking at care options, it can be helpful to consider the five basic ‘Activities of Daily Living’, a set of criteria that’s used in health care to determine whether someone is capable of caring for themselves at home.

In this situation, these principles can be used to prioritise the kinds of activities you would like an independent support worker to undertake during their visit.

  1. Personal hygiene – are they adequately washing, bathing and brushing their teeth?
  2.  Dressing – can they make decisions on appropriate clothing and are they able to dress themselves
  3. Eating – you may be able to provide food, or have food delivered but even in this instance, are they preparing the food adequately and eating regularly?
  4.  Maintaining continence – issues in this area could stem from a mobility issue, or a cognitive one.
  5.  Mobility – are they able to walk independently from one location to another and if not, can they move themselves around their own house?

Once you have determined which, if any of the above your loved one may need help with, you can consider the frequency of support that’s required. For example, will shorter, more frequent visits provide more assurance than an independent support worker who visits for a whole day once a week?

Lastly, have a think about what support you could find through existing networks like friends and neighbours, local government or retirement living facilities? Listing the crucial supports required and seeing who might be available to lend a hand so that professional care providers you engage can focus on the jobs that only they are trained to do.

Who, what, where…

Mable is Australia’s largest online marketplace for people seeking independent aged care and support workers. But it’s not just independent support workers who you can engage with. Nurses, physiotherapists, speech pathologists and dementia care specialists all offer their services directly to clients through the platform.

If you are seeking support for a parent who has additional health complications, you might wish to arrange for a nurse to visit once a week to ensure medication is being properly administered, and the additional health concerns are being addressed. Engaging workers directly means that you can decide who comes to provide the care, what they do and when they do it. You can also ensure continuity of care by continuing to use the same support team once a Home Care Package becomes available.

Start searching for independent support workers in your local area, and be on your way to finding the right support today.