With the collapse in real property markets, seniors are unable to quickly sell off their houses to pay for assisted-living communities or full-care facilities. Families had no choice but to choose in-home senior care, and contribute to help their elders pay for the costs of senior care. Many seniors want to retain their independence in the performance of their daily tasks. They also have to keep their dignity as much as possible. As they age seniors will need more care and assistance whether in-home, in a retirement community, in an assisted living facility or a full-care nursing home.
There are two kinds of in-home senior care: care provided by Home Care Aides and care provided by Home Health Aides. The former provides non-medical care and assistance with daily living activities like dressing, bathing, housekeeping, laundry and transportation. The latter includes basic skilled care like taking the temperature, respiration, pulse rates and blood pressure and sugar levels monitoring and assistance with the taking of medications and the use of medical equipment as well as skilled nursing. Both aides can be hired through an agency dealing with home care or they can be hired as private caregivers. They usually visit their client for a few hours or more several times a week, depending on the agreement with the client. The Home Health Aides’ visit is typically shorter but more often and more expensive on a per hour basis.
In spite of the obvious advantages of retirement homes and full-care facilities, many seniors still prefer in-home care. Seniors want to stay in a place where they know who their neighbors are and in a familiar community. Moving to a new place can be intimidating and even threatening for many elders. In advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, family members have no choice but to find a full-time care facility for their loved ones. While the senior can still function independently, in-home care is possibly the better option to keep their loved one happy.
In-home care for seniors is possible if the family live nearby and there is a close network of neighbors and friends who can be called on in times of emergency. The home should also be in a safe neighborhood where transportation is available and readily accessible. The homes of aging parents and loved ones should also be modified to cater to their infirmity or changing needs. An example is the installation of grip bars and non-slip tiles in the bathroom or construction of ramps and leveling of the floors between rooms to avoid accidental tripping or slipping.
A little housework and gardening is a good form of exercise for seniors who do not need a high level of medical care, but areas should be closed off if the house and yard is too large so that the senior will not feel inadequate and always think of the huge cleaning task. In-home care is a good option for many seniors, but it is also important to plan for changing needs and the eventuality when full-time nursing care may be necessary.