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Bringing Care Home: The Journey to In Home Senior Care

Volume I:
Is It Time to Seek Private Home Care?

ExPO Compassion

Why Do People Seek In Home Senior Care?

For many seniors, a key component of living well and aging gracefully is being able to remain in the home that has been their primary residence in the later years of their lives. This type of goal makes sense because the home environment is familiar and holds sentimental memories; therefore making it the most comforting place for the elderly to spend their golden years.

Today, more people are remaining healthy for longer periods of times as they age. The longer that someone can remain healthy, the easier it is to make living at home a realistic goal for seniors. As we age, however, our bodies will change, creating physical and/or medical limitations that prevent us from following the routines that we were able to maintain independently for most of our lives. What happens when seniors have gotten to the point where living completely on their own is too challenging? How do you know that it’s time to seek help? Furthermore, how do you know what kind of help is needed or who is best equipped to meet the needs that are identified?

In home care solutions is a growing trend in senior care because it can provide seniors with the assistance they need to maintain their usual routines, while allowing them to remain in the comfort of their own home. Aging in place has been shown to demonstrate substantial benefits to those who receive in home care, including those who suffer from cognitive disorders and problems with mobility, because the familiarity and convenience of the home environment. It also helps family members and friends who spend lots of time with senior because they will be able to visit them in the same place.

 

What Kind of Care Does My Family Member Need?

There are over 43 million adults in the U.S. who currently receive long-term care. Of that number, just under 65% (27 million) are being cared for by a relative[1]. The number of people who will require private home care is anticipated to grow, as the life expectancy of each generation has been increasing. By the year 2025, the projected average life expectancy will reach to 81, four years greater than the average projected expectancy of 77 from ten years ago in 2005[2]. This trend will lead to more seniors who need care for extended periods of time.

Of the 27 million family caregivers today, many start by assisting with simple tasks. They may help their family member by writing up some bills, taking them to doctor’s visits, do light housekeeping and running errands for them. The longer that people care for their relatives, however, the more likely it is that they will observe a gradual increase in the level of assistance that is needed. These increased needs will likely expand beyond the tasks that the family caregiver is able to manage on their own. When that happens, how do they know that it’s time to look into alternate home care solutions?

Read the Signs

Here are a few signs that you may see that will help you determine that it’s time to enlist help.

  • Personal Grooming: Does your family member struggle with bathing, brushing their teeth, combing their hair or getting dressed?
  • Dietary Requirements: Is it difficult for your family member to prepare their own meals? Do you know if they are getting the right nutrition for their body’s needs?
  • Reduced or Lack of Mobility: Does your relative seem to have a harder time walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of bed? Do they rely on a walker or wheelchair to get around? Has your relative recently suffered from a fall?
  • Medicine Regimens: Does your parent take multiple medications, which have differing dosage requirements on a regular basis?
  • Incontinence: Does your relative have special needs when it comes to elimination? Do they use a catheter or ostomy bag?
  • Medical Equipment: Does your relative require the use of special equipment in the home for transfer or as a medical treatment?
  • Upkeep in the home: Have you noticed that routine household chores are not getting done? Does your loved one struggle to maintain the home the way that they used to?
  • Driving: Is your relative leaving the home less frequently? Have they had any recent traffic accidents?
  • Fearfulness: Does your loved one call at all hours of the day or night with some form of concern or a complaint about their safety? Do they no longer seem to be comfortable being home alone?
  • Wandering: Has your loved one wandered off unannounced on their own, having no specific destination in mind?
  • Forgetfulness: Does your family member seem to need more reminders to do routine things like take their medication, take a shower or eat regular meals? Do they struggle to remember other people or forget appointments?

It’s Time to Get Help, Now What?

If one or more of the scenarios listed above apply to your loved one, it is time to evaluate options for enlisting the hands-on care that your family member needs. When considering this, you want to think about the feasibility of having your relative remain at home. Is it a safe environment for them to continue living in? Are there appropriate accommodations for someone else to stay in the home long-term? How affordable is private home care in comparison to other senior living options?

Identifying the best care option for your loved one is the first step to bringing senior care in home; there are a number of tasks that come after making this important decision, such as exploring options to pay for the service, seeking out the right home care agency to meet your needs, determining the best care plan to ensue the welfare of your relative, completing a service agreement and finally, assimilating the caregiver into the home environment.

We will walk you through all of these steps involved in engaging the process of private home care in this series of articles. Each article will cover a specific topic, highlighting each of the steps one at a time. Our next article will cover discussing senior care options as family, from recognizing that it’s time to seek care, to addressing concerns about bringing someone new into the home environment and all of the things that fall in between. Check back next month to learn more.

[1] Selected Long Term Care Statistics, (2015, January, 31) Retrieved from https://www.caregiver.org/selected-long-term-care-statistics

[2] Life Expectancy- United States, (n.d.) [Table Data] Retrieved from http://www.data360.org/dsg.aspx?Data_Set_Group_Id=195

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