Whether you are thinking about it for yourself or for a loved one, there are several reasons to consider in-home elder care. While good reasons also exist to turn to nursing homes and retirement centers when appropriate, in-home elder care is usually agreeable, not only to the family members involved in making such decisions, but also to the person receiving the care.
Home care is usually provided in the form of visits that last between two and four hours. Assistance is available in many different forms, including services provided by an occupational therapist, a home health aide who provides help with personal mobility or a homemaker who performs household chores. Volunteers working through churches or community organizations may assist with errands or simply provide companionship.
About seven in 10 people now over the age of 65 will require long-term professional care.
For loved ones struggling to personally provide a satisfactory level of care to an aging relative, the decision to bring professional help into the home to assist with present needs may be a world-changer.
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So what are some reasons to consider home care for the elderly? Keep reading to learn the five important ones. Most people spend their entire adult lives caring for themselves. Our sense of independence is easy to take for granted, but never easy to relinquish. This alone makes it a difficult transition for an elderly person whose needs outweigh his or her desire to remain fully independent. The process of losing independence can be more stressful and troubling when coupled with leaving a home where he or she might have lived for decades. For some (but not all) elderly people, moving to a retirement home can be an upsetting and depressing experience. The environments they nurtured and created around themselves in their own homes are suddenly stripped away and replaced with something decidedly more institutionalized and, well, just different.
Remaining in comfortable, familiar surroundings -- be it one's own home, or the home of a relative or loved one -- can make transitions to later stages of life that much smoother.
All the familiar comforts are there. Routines that have been set in stone for years do not have to be drastically changed. Instead of being placed "away," loved ones in need of extra help can remain a present part of the family setting (or happily reclusive, whichever the case may be). The presence of a familiar face is not necessarily dependent on a nursing home visit made by a friend or relative.
For many people, the decision about how to provide care for an aging loved one is heartbreaking, and offers no easy answers. The need for a decision may be apparent for some time, or it may present itself suddenly (following a fall, for instance).
As we age, we begin to think about the later stages of our own lives, and few of us hope for an outcome that requires being placed in a nursing home. Similarly, it is hard to make the decision to place a spouse, parent or grandparent in a nursing home. Arranging home health care for an elderly individual can be a solution that eases your mind about meeting the needs of your loved one while alleviating worry and guilt that would have accompanied relocation of the loved one to a facility. You won't have to worry about your loved one adjusting to a new environment, or experiencing neglect or abuse. You will be able to keep closer tabs on your loved one without being the only one responsible for doing so. With in-home elder care, you're going to know exactly how your loved one is being treated, and enjoy all the access you want with the caregiver -- after all, they're coming to your (or your loved one's) home. Many services needed by an elderly person do not necessarily require professional help, such as dressing, transportation, keeping up with medications, help getting in and out of a bathtub and fall prevention. As their additional daily needs develop, family members can often provide assistance with these tasks.
However, these needs may in time increase beyond what loved ones can personally provide. That is when families need professional help. Until that help is obtained, the added stress of increasingly greater needs can weigh heavier on family members to the point of physical and emotional exhaustion.
In-home elder care can remove a large burden from the shoulders of a family member who has been acting as primary care giver. Having the extra help will allow you to worry less about the care of your loved one and pay a little more attention to yourself. Not only that, children and grandchildren can spend more time in a familiar environment with their parent or grandparent than would otherwise be the case. Visits will not necessarily be consumed entirely with personal-care tasks or other assistance, since the home health aide will have provided much of that already, leaving more time for simply talking and sharing companionship. The care can be tailored to fit the exact needs of your loved one. The visits from home care workers can last two to four hours, or more, depending on the needs of the individual.
Since care is provided on a one-to-one basis, your loved one will not be treated as one of many, or feel "herded" around to a series of scheduled activities. One visit may be focused on physical therapy, and another on cognitive exercises. By observing in-home elder care, friends and family can learn how to better care for the elderly family member, and have easy access to ask follow-up questions.
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