Seniors who are considering home care services almost always fall into two categories: those who fiercely cling to their notions of independence and decline such services, and those who see the benefits of extra help and welcome it. But with both groups, how do you know if this type of assistance is a handy “extra,” or something the senior truly needs in order to get by?
When home care service is helpful
Many seniors associate home care with being old, or even “feeble,” preferring to put it off for as long as possible. But it can be a very helpful option. This is especially true for those who wish to enjoy their retirement years while letting someone else take care of things like chores and meals. In fact, that’s a great way to present such services to a senior who is reluctant to consider them. If they tire easily after preparing food, washing disks, running errands, cleaning the house, et cetera, a home health aide can shoulder some or all of those burdens for them. This leaves them more time to rest, relax, and enjoy whatever hobbies they can. Many seniors also take pleasure in home care services simply for the companionship, although some are reluctant to admit it. When friends have passed on, and relatives are busy, or live far away, it can be nice to see the same smiling face day after day. Socialization is important at every stage of life, and seniors often need someone to talk to on a daily basis – just like all other age groups.
When home care service is recommended
At times, home care services aren’t necessary yet, but it would be a good idea to have them. Seniors who fall into this category might be those who want to keep their independence and stay in their homes longer. They may still be able to perform necessary tasks both with self-care and around the house, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult. Other times, a senior suffers from conditions that leave them unable to care for themselves on an intermittent basis. Perhaps they are prone to fits or seizures, for instance, or their arthritis flares up at inconvenient times. If they have an auto-immune disease such as lupus, or are susceptible to bouts of bronchitis, it’s a good idea to have a home health aide as a backup means of support. Finally, if a senior is taking many different prescriptions and finds it confusing or tiresome to keep track of them all, having someone provide medication management is extremely advantageous.
When home care service is necessary
Any time severe physical impairments make ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living) difficult or impossible to do independently, home care should be considered an absolute necessity. For instance, if a stroke leaves a person with limited mobility on the dominant side of their body, they may not be able to feed, dress, or bathe themselves with the ease they once did. Multiple heart attacks can also leave the victim with permanent weakness and fatigue, putting them in much the same predicament. Naturally, this would also apply to any scenario where the senior in question is bedbound, although home care recommendations are called for in less obvious situations as well. Perhaps your loved one has mental or cognitive limitations, especially pertaining to illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. This can make it just as difficult for them to perform daily tasks as if they had a physical disability, and, therefore, home care services are essential.
Home care services for every senior
The truth is, unless they are completely independent, there are few seniors who wouldn’t benefit from home care services. Whether these services are “wants” or “must-haves” can only be decided by the seniors themselves. However, if you notice elderly family members struggling from a lack of day-to-day help, it’s not a bad idea to gently suggest the idea of home care. With time, your senior will see its myriad benefits, and in fact wonder how they ever managed without it!
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home senior care. Contact us to find out more.