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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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.
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Home care generally refers to health care or support provided in the patient's home, but this term is usually applied to non-medical care or custodian care provided by persons who are not licensed medical personnel. Family and friends, who are referred to as caregivers, primary caregiver or voluntary caregiver in this context, can also provide home care. Mostly, however, services are provided by agencies or independent providers.
Seniors comprise the majority of the recipients of home care. Of these, studies show that more women than men need in home senior care. There are other individuals who would typically use this service, such as people with disabilities or special needs and people recovering from major surgeries.
This type of care makes it possible to remain at home and in the environment they are most comfortable with instead of using long-term institution-based nursing care. It allows them to be near loved ones and gives them a feeling of living a "normal" life as opposed to long term stays in a hospice or nursing home. There is also a variety of options available for home care services, depending on the type and frequency of assistance needed.
Billing can be on an hourly, daily or weekly basis with payment coming from the patient and his or her family members or through a variety of public and privates sources. Professional health care services are usually ordered by a doctor and may be covered with insurance. Some community organizations, such as the local cancer society or Alzheimer's association, may also provide funding to help pay for home care services.