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Carol Bradley Bursack, Published September 14 2008

Agencies advocate discussion

Dear Readers: In-home care agencies are abundant in the metro area. Some are local only, and others are locally owned franchises. As with all care services, if you are looking for in-home care, ask for references. Also, as with all care options, it never hurts to stop by from time to time, to check on how care is going.

My experience with in-home care was much like any other care. It’s all about the people. My friend Joe had some in-home health care workers for awhile after an injury. Some he tolerated. One woman he’d lock out of his home. But one young man became a friend Joe looked forward to seeing. They had a common interest in golf and, though Joe hadn’t golfed for years, they could talk about it for hours. I considered that a success.

For some people, in-home care offers the ideal transition between keeping an elder in his or her home and moving to assisted living or a nursing home. I do believe the time will come when there will be more financial assistance available for such care, as it is less costly than a nursing home, but it’s not too plentiful now.

Two home care agencies with franchises in this area seem to be working hard at their advocacy programs.

One of them is Home Instead. This agency has a booklet aimed at boomers and their parents, about discussing plans for how the elder wants to handle aging issues. They began with “The 40-70 Rule: A Guide to Conversation Starters for Boomers and Their Senior Loved Ones.” I wrote about that booklet when it was first released. They suggest that you have a talk with your elder about his or her health care wishes when the adult child is 40 and/or the senior is 70.

However, Home Instead got wise to the fact that many times it’s the adult children who don’t want to have “the talk.” They now offer a dual version of the booklet, which still offers the 40-70 Rule, but flips to the 70-40 Rule to help seniors get their adult children to start talking about issues of concern. I’m not sure I’d wait that long to discuss aging issues, but this is a good,

free booklet that offers conversation starters. For a copy of the booklet, you can contact Home Instead at (701) 478-1010. You can also find them online at www.homeinstead.com.

The other company I’ve heard from lately is Comfort Keepers. They have a campaign going to help people understand why their elders are often resistant to help.

The main premise is that the adult children often come on too strong and take over doing a job while helping the parent, rather than doing it in an interactive manner. This taking over can create a negative feeling for the elder and they will resist help. If a project is set up so the elder can do as much for him or herself as possible, and the adult child or other helper just does what is needed, there will generally be less resistance.

I can see the wisdom in this campaign and applaud Comfort Keepers for their public effort. The local Comfort Keepers office phone number is (701) 237-0004. You can find their online site at www.comfortkeepers.com.

Bursack is the author of a support book on family elder care. To submit questions to “Minding Our Elders” and view past columns, go to www.inforum.com and click on columnists. Readers can reach Bursack at cbursack@forumcomm.com or write her at The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.