Advancements in medicine has enabled us to take care of our aging parents and other family members better than ever before. However, this is still not an easy task. Aging brings with it a loss of physical mobility, as well as a decline in cognitive function. Learning to cope with these difficulties is challenging for seniors, and in some cases, they may no longer be able to take care of themselves at all.
It is up to the rest of the family to help their aging parents and grandparents. After all, you owe them a debt of gratitude for bringing you into this life. That being said, there is no better feeling than having all the necessary knowledge and resources to return the mentioned favour properly. So, here are some information you need to have about home senior care for your loved ones.
Bringing Your Parents Home
There may come a time in the life of your parents where you need to re-evaluate their living situation. If they pose a risk to themselves, it may be wise to consider home care, or assisted care to help them cope with the challenges of daily life.
Hire an occupational therapist to assess your home for risks. The therapist will note all of the areas in your home that present a threat to the health of your folks. In Asia, you may not be able to find an occupational therapist so it is best to ask your parents’ geriatrician for advice.
Just like how you would child-proof a home, file down sharp edges and fit rubber bumpers to prevent accidents. Place anti-slip mats under rugs as well as in the bath and shower. A fall is a severe injury to a senior that could result in the need for an operation to replace a broken hip.
Place handrails on staircases and around the bathtub to help them to their feet when they are alone. If one or both of your folks use a wheelchair, make sure that you build access ramps to the front door and other levels of your home.
An occupational therapist will also outline a plan for improving the physical health of your parents. The OT can recommend nutrition guidelines, as well as balance and mobility drills to keep your relatives happy and healthy.
Leverage Technology for Better Care
Assistive-technology companies sell products that ensure the health and safety of your folks at all times. Monitoring equipment such as GPS watches that monitor vital signs. Motion sensors installed in the home allow you to track your (grand)parent’s movements throughout the day while you are out of the house.
In an unforeseen circumstance, tech can save the lives of your parents. Review the best medical alert systems of 2018 and ask your occupational therapist for assistance in selecting the technology solution that’s right for you and your folks. Teach your parents the value of the system and overcome their resistance to any devices or systems you feel may benefit their health and lifestyle.
Hire a Home Health Aide
Sometimes it’s just not possible for people to provide their aging parents with care around the clock. If you can’t be there to monitor your folks, especially if they are in poor health, consider hiring an HHA (Home Health Aide) to assist you with caring for your parents.
HHA’s are not registered nurses, but they receive dedicated training in caring for the elderly. Home health aides include personal care aides such as non-certified nurses, caregivers, or personal attendants, as well as CNA’s (Certified Nursing Assistants).
HHA’s are qualified to handle general medical care for seniors. This list of services includes taking temperature, monitoring heart rate, or administering medication. HHA’s are typically nominated by a Medicare-certified hospice or home health agency and require the supervision of a medical professional.
HHA’s receive remuneration from the agency. This situation means Medicaid or Medicare generally cover the cost of the aide as regulated by Federal law. Choose a reputable agency that’s Medicare-certified and staffed with qualified professionals, the health of your parents depends on it.
Again, if HHAs are not available where you are, you may want to hire a domestic helper with experience in elderly care. She also needs to be able to communicate with your folks, be properly briefed about your relative’s health condition and what numbers of call during an emergency. The Singapore government does have lower tax levy on domestic helpers hired to care for the elderly.
Tips for Evaluating Quality Health-Care Facilities
If you don’t have room in your home for your folks, or you live far away from them, an assisted living programme may be your best option. Your parents will prosper into their senior years with the right community.
Schedule a tour of a few assisted living facilities near to your hometown and involve your folks in making the final choice. All states license assisted living facilities. Visit the Department of Health for local licensing requirements. If you want to assess the facility for yourself, drop in after visiting hours when you know they won’t be expecting you. This strategy will give you greater insight into what goes on in the facility when the staff assumes no-ones watching.
The Cost of Assisted Living for Seniors
The cost of senior care differs depending on the state and the facility. Average annual rates for assisted living care at a premium facility with excellent nurses and caregivers is north of US$90,000. The average hourly rate charged by HHA’s is US$22, included in the cost of the care.
It’s important to note that Medicare does not cover long-term care. Medicaid is there to help seniors with little to no income and few assets they can use to fund their healthcare needs. Some states offer a grant for financial assistance to seniors, check with your local regulating authority for further details.
The National Council on Aging can assist you in finding government aid for senior healthcare, and The Department of Veterans Affairs offers long-term-care benefits for veterans and their spouses.
For those living in Singapore, the Council for Third Age has a directory of service providers that provide leisure activities and counselling care services for seniors.
A Final Thought
You have the option to bring your parents into your home or arrange assisted care for their health needs. However, it’s your duty as their child to ensure that they receive the care they need into their senior years.
Contributed by Caitlin Evans.
Photo credits: imgur