With recent reports highlighting the Health Service Executive’s financial deficit reaching €170 million, Home Instead Senior Care is offering advice to those whose home help packages have been affected.
There are currently 6,000 people awaiting home help packages and HSE budgetary constraints may curtail the provision of new packages to those who wish to live independently at home, rather than enter long-term nursing care.
Danette Connolly, Director of Care at Home Instead Senior Care Waterford, said that it can be a very worrying and uncertain time for those with elderly relatives. “Home-help hours are particularly vulnerable to being cut and that will have consequences for seniors who are waiting to be discharged from hospital or are in receipt of home-help hours.”
“While not an ideal solution, there are a few things that families can do to help alleviate the stress of the situation.”
“If at all viable, family members can apply for extended leave from their employers while a more comprehensive care plan is put in place for their elderly relative. It may not be a long-term solution, but employees are entitled to take carers leave of at least 13 weeks to look after a sick or elderly relative.”
“If a family member takes extended leave, they may qualify for Carer’s Benefit. This payment is made to insured people who leave the workforce to care for a person in need of full-time care.”
Having a hospital discharge plan in place for an elderly relative coming home from hospital is imperative. While it may take plenty of time-tabling and co-operation amongst family member, it will make the discharge process easier and less fraught with unforeseen difficulties.
Danette suggests collaboration between family members. “Identify common care responsibilities you need to handle for your family member and work with other family members to ensure these needs are met. Chores such as bathing, dressing, toileting, cooking, cleaning, medication management and medical appointments can be allocated to family members most suited to that particular need.”
“There are community organisations that can help with services such as transport or meal delivery. While it may take time and research, having all the bases covered in rolling out a discharge plan will provide peace of mind and assurance.”
Private care is another alternative to those in need of home care, temporary relief or ongoing care. Tax relief can be claimed by the bill payer at their marginal rate of tax (either 20% or 40%). In most instances the bill payer is a son or daughter and up to €75,000 can be claimed.
Home Instead Senior Care provides services to seniors in their own homes to help them retain their independence by assisting with activities of daily living such as meal preparation, laundry, shopping, light housekeeping, and personal care.
To find out more information visit www.citizensinformation.ie, or call your local Home Instead Senior Care office for a free consultation.