Senior citizens have many concerns as they grow older in their homes, but moving is difficult at any age. And a facility is not always necessary. Using senior home care is a simple solution for helping care for the elderly. In-home care allows senior citizens to maintain their independence in the comfort of their own home.
While planning ahead is sometimes difficult as you may not know how or when your needs will change, consider the type of assistance that may be of use to you in the near future. Begin by thinking of any illnesses you may have such as arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease. Talk to your doctor and brainstorm how these conditions may affect how you are able to take care of yourself. Perhaps you will need help getting dressed, preparing a meal, or remembering to take your medicine. This sort of assistance can easily be addressed in your own home through in-home care.
Helping Older Relatives Stay in their Home
For many senior citizens, taking care of their homes and themselves becomes more and more challenging as they grow older. If this is happening to any of your relatives or family friends, talk to them about getting assistance. Think about how you and others can help, and offer your assistance. Talk to friends who may have loved ones undergoing the same life changes and see how they are handling the care for their aging relatives. Then, get together with the person who might consider in-home care and decide together what to do.
Staying in Your Home
In-home care can provide almost any sort of assistance you may want in your home. Below is a list of common concerns senior citizens have when living at home, along with different suggestions and services to make living at home easier.
Personal care. This includes washing your hair, bathing, and getting dressed. Perhaps a relative or friend can help. In other cases, it may be necessary to hire an in-home health care aide to assist you for a short time each day, like our Life Care Professionals.
Homemaking. This includes daily activities like household chores, shopping, and laundry. Certain grocery stores or pharmacies take phone orders and will deliver items. Cleaning services provide employees to hire and some will help with laundry. Also, there are laundry services that pick up and deliver clothing. Usually, in-home health care aides and caregivers also can help with these chores as directed.
Meals. This includes preparing food. It may be possible to share cooking with friends or family members a few times a week. Senior citizen centers, churches, or synagogues sometimes serve meals. Eating out with others is also an option. If it is difficult to get out, you could either ask a friend to bring a meal every now and then or look into Meals on Wheels programs that deliver hot meals to your house. Also, in-home health care workers will generally provide meal preparation as directed.
Money Management. This includes paying bills from utilities to doctor bills, and health insurance claim forms. Many banks will deposit the payment for regular bills, like rent or mortgage and utilities, directly from your checking account. Asking a trusted friend or relative to help may also be a possibility; if not, financial counselors or geriatric care managers can assist you. Make sure that the person you hire was referred to you by a trustworthy source.
Health Care. This includes taking medication. Some senior citizens find it helpful to set an alarm clock to remind them to take their medicines. If you need additional services, you may be able to hire a home health care aide. If you just got home from a hospital stay and need additional care from a home health aide, Medicare might pay for this service short-term.
Getting around. This includes getting around at home or in town. An electric chair or scooter may be covered by Medicare. Also, if you are not able to drive, there are volunteer escort services available, or you may take public transportation or taxis. Asking a relative or friend to take you is another option.
Staying Social. This includes remaining active and social. Senior citizen centers provide many activities and will help you connect with other senior citizens. If you cannot leave your home, it may be good to have regular visits with a friend or family member. Volunteers from your local place of worship or community center also provide companionship.
Safety. This refers to avoiding crime and elder abuse. It is important to contact the police if you experience elder abuse; this includes physical, sexual, financial, or emotional abuse and neglect. Or, if you are worried about becoming sick when you are alone and unable to call for help, an emergency alert system may be a good solution. Hiring a trustworthy in-home health care aide is also a good way to ensure your safety.
Outside Care. This includes adult day care. If you live with someone who works during the day and you do not want to be alone during that time, adult day care may be an option. Sometimes the day care center will provide transportation to and from your home.
Housing. This includes changes to the house to make it easier to live in. A ramp may allow easier access than stairs. Grab bars in the bathtub or shower help you maintain balance. Non-skid floors make the floor less slippery. More comfortable door and faucet handles can help ease pain associated with conditions like arthritis. Senior citizens can get help paying for these changes – check with your State housing finance agency, community development groups, State Area Agencies on Aging, or the welfare department.
Be sure to share this information with family members and friends, and use this as a means to begin talking about your present and future needs. And keep an eye out for a follow-up to this blog, where we’ll discuss the different types of resources available for senior citizens, from the local community to the federal government.