When thinking about what is best for an elderly loved one who is frail and needs assistance with activities of daily living, it may come down to the choice between an elderly care facility or home healthcare. If home healthcare is the more desirable choice, it is possible to build a system for the aging senior to remain living as independently as possible at home. There are unique needs for each individual, and the level of care needed is a determining factor for whether or not they can safely remain at home. Most of the time, the requirements for them to live in their own home are not complicated. The right home care assistance, assistive devices, and plan of action can make it possible for them to spend their golden years in the home they know.
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Evaluating Homecare Needs Realistically
In order to make a plan that includes aging in place, it is very important to think objectively about your loved one’s requirements and needs. Some seniors require just a few hours of support or supervision a day including housekeeping, medication reminders and assistance with daily tasks such as bathing and dressing. Other seniors need services that are more intensive such as direct medical care, physiotherapy, medication administration, and wound care. All seniors deserve care with dignity, and such care can often be provided at home with the right resources. An elderly person can be assisted to maintain a routine that is as normal as possible when he/she has the necessary level of personal or medical support at home.
Home Healthcare Benefits
Studies have shown that seniors who are encouraged to maintain a higher level of independence through home healthcare also maintain higher levels of mobility, emotional well-being, and bladder control. These seniors are less likely to have needs for urgent care as a result of injury, infection, accidental medication mismanagement, or falls. When a senior is moved into a residential or long term care facility they can often times feel less independent, leading to higher levels of depression or anxiety. More often than not, allowing a senior to age in place with the assistance of a home care agency is the most comfortable and effective solution for families.
Making the Situation Comparable to Facility Living
Not all families would know how to execute a plan to facilitating this kind of arrangement. The ageing loved one's needs and level of care should be assessed, and this can help build the support systems needed to meet their unique health requirements. Some families choose to have a mostly family driven care plan with intermittent assistance from a professional caregiver. Others, because of circumstance beyond their control such as job commitments and children, rely more on assistance from professional caregivers.
Every situation is unique and the plan to help the elderly loved one age in place should be customized to fit their physical, spiritual, and social needs, as well as their lifestyle and family circumstances. There should always be an open line of communication between the senior’s physician, other health care providers, and family members. Such communication helps to determine the most effective course of action, especially when remaining at home is the preferred option.
A successful home healthcare plan allows the aging loved one to have more control over their daily activities, while risks for injury, medication mishaps, and malnutrition are better controlled and reduced. Having family members care for an elderly and perhaps frail loved one can be a rewarding and less expensive alternative to hiring professional care. However, such responsibilities can be exhausting when handled alone. In many instances an elderly person living at home may needs someone available to provide personal support around the clock. Families in such circumstances should seek assistance and respite care.
There are support services funded by the government including home healthcare services. Many services for those requiring complex medical care at home can be coordinated by a local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC). Non-medical support to supplement CCAC services can be obtained from a professional home care agency.
Freedom and independence are important to everyone, but more so for an aging parent who may be on the verge of losing some or all of theirs due to health issues or an inability to continue to care for themselves. So, what is the best way to convince an elderly loved one that they are in need of at least some home health care? Though the discussions may be difficult, if done right, it may be easier than originally thought.
Begin Discussions Early
When discussing home health care with older parents, it is best to begin the talks early, when parents are still able to live on their own without assistance. This is important, because it then appears to be is a discussion of events in the far future, and they may be more willing to discuss their wishes openly.
It is also a good idea to include all members of the family in these talks, to ensure that there is no confusion between siblings, and that everyone understands what their role will be. If the plans regarding the elder’s care are decided on well in advance, there will be fewer surprises if and when assistance is needed, which will make the transition that much easier for everyone.
Discuss Financial Status and Needs
When discussing a parent’s wishes for their future, it is also important to discuss their income and financial status. This is to ensure that they can afford to take care of themselves in the future, or to assess whether or not any support will be needed from their children. With your loved one’s consent, make a list of where safety deposit boxes are located, any bank accounts and investments, and where they keep important documents, such as insurance papers or wills.
Also, take note of the names of lawyers, accountants, or any financial advisors they may use. And, although no one wants to think of such things, discussing how funeral arrangements are to be handled is a good idea at this time.
These discussion are ongoing, and it is essential for all family members of the aging individual to begin to pay attention to any health issues that may arise. Such concerns about their well-being could include any issues with memory such as missing appointments or repeating themselves often; impaired driving or loss of a driver’s license; a lower level of personal hygiene; or unexplained weight loss. These can be warning signs that an elderly parent may be in need of supportive home care.
Prepare Their Home for Easy Living
Whether living in their own home, or in their child’s, it is necessary to adapt it to ensure the safest environment for those with limited abilities. This doesn’t mean a complete overhaul of the home. A few simple additions can do the job, such as adding grab bars and a safety seat in the shower, lever handles for doors and cabinets, non-slip flooring instead of tile and hardwood, and touch switches or sensors for lights at every entrance in the home.
These small measures will ensure that receiving health care in their home will not affect their independence, or make them feel like a burden to their children because they can still do things for themselves for as long as possible.
Aging loved ones will always be more comfortable in their home, where they can still live with as much independence as possible, and ensure a continued life of dignity. Preparing them for their needs in advance will make their transition into an assisted lifestyle stress-free for all involved.