One of the biggest decisions family members must make is how to best care for their aging loved ones. Many families rely on agency-based care models such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities to meet the person’s physical and emotional needs. However, in-home care models are often preferred by elderly patients who wish to maintain their independence and remain in their own homes. Before settling on agency-based care, take the time to learn about the many advantages of alternative care service models for aging adults
When it comes to elder care, each patient is different. While some seniors may need help with all of their basic daily tasks, others may only need assistance with more complex tasks such as cooking or housework. What’s great about in-home care services is that they can be customized to your loved one’s unique needs. Care providers can be hired for daily, long-term care or as-needed for recovery after injuries or illnesses.
Unlike nursing homes where residents may receive care from different individuals on a day-to-day basis, most in-home care models are set up so that a patient is matched with a single caregiver. This allows your loved one to build a trusting relationship with his or her caregiver. Caregivers are carefully matched with patients based on a variety of factors, such as male or female preferences, personality traits, and the physical and emotional needs of the senior.
Many elderly individuals require daily care, the extent of which depends on their health, both physically and mentally. Home-care models support activities of daily living (ADLs) to ensure that your loved one remains well cared for and active. Caregivers can help with a variety of day-to-day tasks and personal care duties, such as bathing, grooming, and medication reminders. These tasks are completed in a way that preserves the client’s dignity and quality of life.
Skilled Nursing Care at Home
Many people are under the impression that their loved ones will not receive the same level of care at home as they would in an agency-based facility. However, this is often not the case. Elderly individuals can gain access to skilled nursing care in the comfort of home. Medical care is available through licensed nurses who are knowledgeable about medications, medical equipment, and elderly care. The main goal of home-based care is to ensure your loved one’s needs are met.
If you’re concerned that your loved one is not getting proper nutrition, a home-based care model can give you peace of mind. Research shows that between 29 and 61 percent of elderly individuals suffer from malnutrition. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as illness, injury, bed rest, or just a general loss of appetite due to aging. Many home care models offer nutritional counseling, home-cooked meals, and other services to protect against malnutrition.
Just as important as your loved one’s physical health is their emotional state. Regular social interactions promote better health, especially in aging adults who may live alone. Care providers can help give your loved one caring companionship through conversations, walks, games, reading, and other activities. They can also accompany them on various errands, such as to medical appointments, grocery shopping, and other activities.
In-home care is typically a more affordable option than staying in a hospital, nursing home, or senior facility. Home health care services typically range from $15 to $27 an hour, while nursing homes can cost upwards of $140 to $771 per day. Assisted living homes can range anywhere from $2,525 to $5,745 a month or more if you include the additional cost of Alzheimer’s or dementia care. With in-home care, elderly adults can stay comfortably in their own home and get the services they need while staying within budget.
Many older adults are resistant to change. Not only does staying in your own home provide security and comfort, it also allows your loved one to maintain their regular daily routine. He or she can have friends and relatives visit at their discretion and leave the home to attend activities as they see fit. When suffering from an illness or recovering from an accident, in-home care can also promote faster and safer healing.
Personalized One-on-One Care
What makes in-home care different than nursing homes and senior communities is the one-on-one care patients receive. With in-home care, seniors are typically paired with a caregiver who will provide the care and attention needed to ensure that your loved one remains happy and healthy. Most care providers get to really know their patients which help them notice red flags that could influence their health, such as a poor appetite or problems with mobility.
Reduced Stress and Guilt
Moving to a nursing home or senior facility can be stressful on older adults. This move can make many seniors feel like they’re losing their freedom and independence. Their family members also suffer from guilt as they don’t have the time to properly care for their aging loved ones. With in-home care, elderly adults can stay in their own home while still receiving the help they need. Family members can remain guilt-free as their loved ones receive a consistent, high standard of care.
Advanced Care Options
In some instances, elderly adults may require advanced services. Home medical care may be required for individuals who have recently undergone a surgery or other procedure. During recovery, medical staff will perform regular visits to ensure that your loved one is healing well. Advanced care services may also include assistance for adults with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or a certain disability that requires medical intervention.
Having prompt, reliable services can provide significant peace of mind to family members. When you can’t be there yourself, it’s reassuring to know that a trusted medical professional is making regular visits to your loved one. It’s also satisfying to know that you can contact an entire staff of individuals who only have your loved one’s best interest at heart. With a care provider available, you’ll also receive updates and notices when something is awry.
Reduced Risk of Injuries
Along with quicker recoveries, in-home care can also reduce your loved one’s risk of falls and hospital readmissions. If your loved one has mobility issues, you may be concerned about falls and other types of accidents in the home. While these types of injuries are quite common in hospital settings, individuals are less likely to suffer such an event at home. With a personal care provider to assist with day-to-day care, the rate of hospital readmission is also reduced.
Breaks from Caregiving
If you’re currently a caregiver for a parent or loved one, you know how stressful, time-consuming, and challenging it can be. When you’re the only one caring for an elderly loved one, you often get no relief. Sick or disabled loved ones are even more difficult to care for day-in and day-out. Many home-based businesses offer respite care which allows temporary relief for caregivers while the elderly adult is well-cared for by medical professionals. This temporary situation can provide caregivers with a short period of rest or a much-needed vacation.
Signs Your Loved One Needs At-Home Care
Now that you know the many advantages of at-home care models, you may be wondering if your loved one really needs these types of services. If your parent or loved one displays any of the following red flags, it may be time for in-home care.
- Sleeping for most of the day
- Changes in mood
- Difficulty keeping track of time
- Confusion when performing familiar tasks
- Problems with balance, walking, or mobility
- Weight loss or poor diet
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies
- Difficulty standing or sitting
- Leaving food out or the stove/oven on
- Stacks of unopened mail or bills
- Unexplained injuries or bruising
- Forgetfulness regarding appointments or medications
- Using poor judgment (falling for scams)
- Infrequent bathing or showering
- Extreme clutter or unhygienic living conditions
- Noticeable decline in grooming habits
- Little to no healthy food in the home
- Dirty laundry piling up
- Utilities being turned off due to non-payment
Aging at Home
Many seniors prefer to stay at home after retirement but unfortunately not all have the ability to care for themselves and their household as the years move onward. When this happens, many seniors are forced to seek assistance in a nursing home or other senior care facility. For seniors who desire to age in place, at-home care models provide an alternative option. With at-home healthcare, seniors and their families can choose from temporary or long-term care. They can also take advantage of other great services such as Alzheimer’s care, respite care, and assistance with transportation and ADLs.
It can become very difficult for family caregivers to meet the high demands of providing eldercare to their loved ones. Such extensive care often requires caregivers to miss time from work or give up their careers. Caregiving can also result in little relief for family members who are forced to juggle their caregiving duties with their personal life. Fortunately, a personal, individualized in-home care agency is designed to care for and support seniors and their families no matter their circumstances or difficulties.