Living Safely at Home

For most of us, our home is our castle.  It's where we feel safe and secure in familiar surroundings.  Many people express a desire to remain in their own home for as long as possible.

A loved one with increasing care needs may be able to continue living safely at home if the correct supports are available and put into place. This can be one of the toughest situations a caregiver and their loved one will navigate, especially if the person requiring more care decides they do not want or do not need any of these supports or services. However, in the submenu options for this section on the right, there are tools, tips, and resources to help you keep a step ahead of your loved one's needs, allowing them to remain at home safely and independently. 

In the end, it's all about safety for both the caregiver and the care recipient. However, most people don't appreciate how easy it is to injure yourself when caring for another person. Helping someone up from a chair, in and out of a vehicle, or into and out of the bath are just a few tasks that many caregivers assist with every day. Professional care providers, such as nurses and CCAs, go to school to learn safe ways to transfer, bathe, and care for patients; but the same education or training is not provided to caregivers who are giving the same care at home to family and loved ones.

Therefore, many unpaid caregivers are at risk of injuring themselves because they do not know how to do certain tasks properly, or how to assist others while protecting their back and neck.

Canadian Virtual Hospice and the Family Caregivers Alliance have several helpful demonstration videos that show how to safely assist, move, or transfer a family member or friend.

For help starting difficult conversations with your loved one and family about introducing supports at home, see the Caregiver Tips section below.

Caregiver Tips

Our Where to Begin guide is a helpful tool in assessing your situation to see where additional supports may be needed.  We suggest you familiarize yourself with the 6-page guide first and then review it with your care recipient.  Going through it together is a great way to get the conversation started, and once you get it started, keep coming back to it so the lines of communication remain open.

It is important to remember that your loved one has the right to make their own decisions, even ones that you may not agree with, unless they have been deemed to lack the capacity to do so.  It can be both frightening and frustrating for you knowing that if something goes wrong or if there is an incident, it may have a profound effect on your life as well.  We cannot force a loved one to accept services, but we can encourage them to live well and safely while keeping a sharp eye on our own health as well.

If you have concerns that your loved one may no longer have the capacity to make their own decisions, you may want to read about the Adult Capacity and Decision-Making Act on the Public Trustee page of novascotia.ca, the province's official website.

Planning ahead to help your family members age in place is critical.  By being proactive, thinking ahead, and getting your loved one on board with the idea of making changes early in order to stay at home as long as is reasonable, may help you avoid problems and issues that can cause friction and stress later on.

There are a few resources that may help.  9 Strategies to Help a Parent Who Refuses Care offers some guidance on how to introduce the idea of support at home.  How to Convince Your Parent to Move to Assisted Living takes a closer look at this common issue faced by many caregivers and families.  Also, reviewing the material in the Starting a Difficult Conversation section of our website might be helpful at this time.

Although some changes may be on the horizon, even if they are years in the future, they ought to be considered in the big picture now.  If you are noticing changes in your loved one, contact Caregivers Nova Scotia and we can help walk you through the programs and services that may be available to you.