Caring For an Elderly Loved One

Conversation with a Senior Care Expert

Jennifer Musket is the Regional Director of Home Care Assistance San Diego, a premier home care provider for seniors and older adults. We recently had an opportunity to talk to Jennifer about the growing need for home care in San Diego and how children of elderly seniors can cope with the stress and anxiety of caring for a loved one.

1) What is home care and how did you start in the home care industry?

Jennifer Musket: Home care is when someone receives services from a personal caregiver in the comfort of their own home. Caregivers help clients with bathing and grooming, meal preparation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, and even transportation. Caregivers are also wonderful companions. Depending upon the level of care needed, a caregiver can visit clients for a few hours a day or actually live with them in their home 24/7.

I got my start in this business when my parents and I were looking for care for my grandparents. We were all frustrated by the lack of options when it came to high-quality in-home care. And my grandparents, like most seniors, did not want to go to a facility. So my parents decided to start their own company, with the goal of hiring the highest caliber caregivers.

2) What would be some of your recommendations for families who are struggling to care for elderly loved ones?

Jennifer Musket: First, know that you’re not alone. Attend a local caregiver support group and meet others who are also caring for older loved ones. Second, make sure to take time for yourself. Caregiver burnout is incredibly common. Exercise should be an integral part of your daily routine. Also be sure to schedule regular breaks to go out to a nice dinner or see that latest romantic comedy. Most home care agencies offer respite care, which makes it possible for family caregivers to take a break without having to worry about their aging loved one.

3) What does effective senior care entail?

Jennifer Musket: Older adults are such an important part of our society and effective senior care means making sure that older adults can age with the dignity and respect they deserve. It’s also something that can not be done alone. Effective senior care require that families, doctors and other care professionals all work together to help seniors thrive.

4) Why do you think home care is the best option for most seniors?

Jennifer Musket: Home care is the best option for most seniors because it allows them to remain where they want to be most: in their home. Seniors can continue going to the same church, grocery store, or pharmacy that they’ve always gone to. In short, thanks to home care, older adults can maintain their independence and normal daily routines, while families can rest easy knowing that their loved ones aresafe and being well cared for.

5) Why is an agency a better choice than a private hire?

Jennifer Musket: Although it may seem like an attractive and cheaper option, hiring a private caregiver comes with many risks. All agencies perform background and reference checks on caregiver employees to make sure they are compassionate, trustworthy, and reliable. Most families do not have the resources to do such thorough checks themselves. In addition, if the caregiver gets sick or has some other emergency, agencies can always send a backup caregiver, so that care is not interrupted. We often get calls from families who were left stranded when their private caregiver quit with little or no notice.

6) What makes Home Care Assistance so unique?

Jennifer Musket: At Home Care Assistance, we train all of our caregivers in our proprietary Balanced Care Method. Based on scientific research done on the longest living people in the world, the Balanced Care Method is a program that emphasizes healthy body, mind, and spirit. Our caregivers work with clients to ensure that they are getting proper nutrition and regular physical activity. But caregivers also encourage regular socialization, an active and engaged mind, as well as calmness and life purpose. Through our unique Balanced Care Method, Home Care Assistance caregivers extend and enhance the lives of seniors, helping them live happier, more balanced lives.

You can also check out other Home health care providers in La Jolla.

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