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.
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"My sisters/brothers don't lift a finger; I do everything for dad!" and "My mother's become my child!" Common cries among adult children caring for elderly parents at home. I ask in return, "Why are you the caregiver?" It's an admirable job; after all they raised you and loved you as you were growing up; now it's your turn. Or is It? Why only you and not your siblings? Is there another way to care for them and still show your love? There is a high incidence of caregivers' health failing before their loved one goes.
It is a stressful job. It's often a 10 hr/day, 7 day/wk job, if not 24/7, without breaks, days off, vacations, or even pay. It is one that involves chef and shopper, chauffeur, self-care manager, social events and appointment scheduler, bath aide, nursing attendant, laundress, companion, financial manager, and.... Then mom complains because you don't do right. And that's just your job with her. What about your own life?
6. Reduce the risk for falls: modify the house for safety by using a room-by-room safety checklist (see a comprehensive one in the book Dad's Home Alone); provide grab bars, shower seat, and a high toilet or raised toilet seat, for bathroom safety. Don't forget a medical alert pendant or wristband. In case of a fall help is just a press-of-the button away. Falls can't be prevented. Gravity is the same whether in a nursing home, at home, or standing next to a loved one.
Remember, elderly people, just like you and me, want to remain as independent as possible. Respect who they are and make sure your parent weighs in on the decisions. But also, know that they may not be as realistic about their safety and care needs. You are there as their safety net, not their "parent".