How to Build your Support Network from Home

Here at Burd Home Health, we often talk about the advantages of in-home health care, particularly in terms of client agency and quality of life, better health outcomes, and better affordability. There are undeniable advantages to institutional care as well. Such as in a hospital or nursing home, there is an entire network of care close at hand whenever it is needed, encompassing doctors, nurses, physical therapists, psychologists, and social workers.

In order to have similar support available for those who require in-home healthcare, patients must be proactive in assembling their own caring network. In today's post we'll discuss how to build your support network when you use in-home health care.

Medical professionals

Among the most crucial elements of a given support network are the medical professionals who oversee your treatment and care. You’ll most often interact with medical personnel in hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and medical appointments like physical therapy or scheduled check-ups.

Thanks to developments in technology, however, it is now easier than ever before for your medical professionals to keep an eye on your health even when you are at home. Remote monitoring, such as heart monitors for those with heart conditions or blood sugar monitors for those with diabetes, can allow the recording of your vital signs and transmission of these data points to your doctor.

If it is available from your healthcare provider, you may also take advantage of

or mHealth applications. Telehealth refers to getting medical support or advice over the phone, usually from a registered nurse. mHealth refers to the use of your mobile phone for health applications, like apps that can log medical information or the use of chat services for advice and support. These are a great way to stay in touch with medical professionals, especially if leaving the house is difficult for you.

Neighbors and friends

In addition to medical support, social support is extremely important not only for your happiness, but also for your physical well-being. It can be hard to admit to people with whom you have a close relationship that you are in need of help, but if you explain your situation then you'll find that many people will be willing to support you. It's important to remember that no one person can do everything you need, so you need multiple support people in your life. After all, having more people means that you don't need to ask so much of each one.

You can ask friends and neighbors for help with tasks like transportation, grocery shopping, being an emergency contact, or simply keeping you company. For your own peace of mind (and in consideration of other people's schedules), you may wish to set up regular weekly appointments with members of your support network to do a particular task – for example, going grocery shopping with a friend every Tuesday afternoon.

Community support

Not everyone has access to a large network of neighbors, friends, or family to help them out. Those who do may need support in ways that their network cannot offer. In these cases, you can look into community support that is available in your area. Many places have transportation so that those who are elderly or who have physical limitations can either call a car to take them where they need to go or have their taxi fares paid for. This is a great way to get to regular appointments or to do grocery shopping.

Other services will be available at support groups or your local senior center. If you are dealing with a physical limitation, then you may be able to find a support group for people in your situation advertised at medical centers or in the newspaper. These groups can be invaluable support in both psychological and practical terms. If you are elderly, then your local senior center will have support services such as food delivery and advice on applying for government assistance. They may also offer activities like exercise classes, arts and craft classes, and opportunities for socializing.

Finally, don't rule out groups like the YMCA or non-profit organizations. Some of these organizations will offer services like house cleaning or classes specifically geared towards older people or those with disabilities, which can be a good way to meet new people.

Veteran's support

If you are a veteran, then there are benefits that may be open to you, like home healthcare coverage and financial support. Some of the services provided by the Veterans Administration are free, while others require some payment depending on your particular financial circumstances. Check in with your local VA office to find out what services they have available.

Social activities

Finally, don't underestimate the importance of social activities. These are important for your mental health, and are also a good way to meet people who can offer support when you need it. You could look into hobby groups or meetups for an existing hobby. Or you could take on something new and learn a new skill through taking regular classes. Also consider learning another language, picking up an artistic skill like painting or pottery, or joining a book club for weekly critical discussions. If you are physically active, you could join a gym or exercise class, which has benefits for your health too. If physical activity is difficult for you, you could join a regular card or board game group.

Another option if you are physically capable is to consider volunteering for a local charity or organization. This is a good way to meet people who share your values, and can be great for those who miss the socializing and feeling of accomplishment from working regularly.

Finally, if leaving the house is hard for you, then you could join an online community. You can find websites, forums, and Facebook groups dedicated to any hobby or interest that you can imagine. While face to face contact is important, online groups can be an excellent addition to your support network.

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