As people age they often require increased assistance in everyday activities. Decisions on what is the best type of care for a senior can be difficult and often complicated. Here is help on how to decide between assisted living or senior care in their home.
The choices between assisted living professionally at a nursing home or relying on care in the home can be an agonizing choice for the family of a senior. There are pros and cons to both options and they should be carefully considered before an arrangement is in place.
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Life expectancy has increased, and the senior citizenry will make up a larger percentage of the population for a longer period of time in the near future. More than 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring daily and eventually will need senior care services due to acute or chronic health issues. It is widely accepted that nearly 90 percent of elderly people prefer to live independently.
Senior care services become increasingly necessary within the community when an elderly person's independence is interrupted either temporarily or by long-term needs. As an elderly person's physical capabilities diminish, ordinary tasks such as driving, cooking, housekeeping, and other daily activities are also affected. These everyday functions can be aided by the introduction of a home health care professional. Many people do not know that this type of assistance is often available and funded by local, state, and federal sources supplemented by Medicare. In-home care could be the answer to maintaining independence and living at home. Local agencies provide information to connect older people to these senior care services.
Senior care services are designed to offer assistance in developing the best and most practical personal plan for each individual. Collaborations are formed between medical teams, concerned family members, and social advocates to find the best solutions for an older adult to maintain his or her independence. Each case is handled with respect and compassion. The safety of the elderly person is always of primary importance and should take precedence to independence when physical conditions warrant.
Senior Care: In-Home or in a Nursing Home?
Seniors who choose to hire a private senior care agency or caregiver to provide for their care services can benefit from a professional plan of care. A senior care plan will guide the caregiver to maintain a consistent routine and include all the necessary activities for healthy aging.
What information should a senior care plan include?
A senior care plan should provide a list of the senior's medical conditions, medications, medical doctors, pharmacies and other care providers.
What daily activities should be monitored?
All Activities of Daily Living should be listed along with the time meals are eaten, the time medications are taken and other physical and mental activities along with other job duties for the caregiver. The information should include the following:
Nutrition: Food prepared and meals eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, fluid intake (number of glasses of water)
Health & Hygiene: Transfers from bed to chair, bathroom visits, showers, dressing, hair care, skin care, nail care, dental care, exercise routine
Daily Routine & Vital Signs: Wake-up time, nap times, bed time, blood pressure, weight, doctor appointments
Physical and Mental Activities: Exercises, walks, physical therapy routine, reading newspaper, magazines, books, mental exercise games
Household Cleaning: Cleaning kitchen, bathroom, laundry, changing bed linens, sorting mail, sweeping floors, dust rooms, vacuum, run errands, pet care
Seniors should also ask their doctors if there are any activities they would like to track to monitor the success of medications or the symptoms of their medical conditions. By monitoring daily routines such as times of sleep, meals and exercise, doctors can better measure the impact of medications and the progression of memory loss or the loss of physical capabilities. This can sometimes result in better diagnosis and slowing down the progresion of age-related diseases.
It is a good idea to maintain a daily log for the daily activities. You can create a notebook to contain all the care plan notebooks and take this along with you to the doctor's appointments. The care plan can also be a great resource for medical professionals if there is ever an emergency situation.
Senior care agencies usually will provide a plan of care for their clients, as a way to train, monitor and manage both the caregiver and the care. One of the benefits of hiring a professional senior home care agency is receiving a complete professional care plan, along with active management of the caregivers. Quality senior care agencies will also employ the caregivers as their employees which provides the added protection of worker's compensation insurance, professional liability insurance and payroll taxes to make sure the senior and their family members do not need to worry about caregiver employee issues. In addition, the caregiver has support and training along with benefits, as senior care can be emotionally challenging and sometimes physically exhausting. Good agencies will provide a care for the caregiver program to make sure quality caregivers can continue to succeed in providing care.