As medical technology continues to improve, the proportion of elderly people in our population rises. For example, in the United States, 13% of the population is currently over 65 years old, and that number is expected to reach 23% by 2050. While having longer lives, and spending more time with elderly loved ones, is an amazing benefit of medical technology, it leads to some problems.
The elderly require extra attention, but most seniors prefer to live in the peace and comfort of their own homes, as opposed to an eldercare facility. This has led to an increase in the popularity of home health care in many countries. Home health care helps to manage the things that an elderly person can no longer do, while still affording them as much independence as possible. For many families of seniors, family members, or, more often, a set of family members, become responsible for taking care of the elderly member. This is not practical for every situation, however, as caregiving, especially when certain illnesses are involved, is beyond the scope of a non-medically trained person.
There are millions of adults worldwide who find themselves caring for an elderly family member, and many them feel they are overwhelmed, overworked, and losing too much of their own free time. This is where specialized home health care services come into play.
Here are some of the many benefits of in-home health care services for senior citizens:
You and your family members have jobs, errands, and other tasks that you need to get done aside from caring for your loved one. You may even live a significant distance from the person who requires in-home care. Home care professionals can show up when you cannot. This affords you a certain peace of mind, knowing that whenever your loved one needs assistance, someone will be around to help them. Professionals also know how to help your loved one rearrange their home to make it safer, if necessary.
2. Skilled Care
A lay-person cannot administer many routine medical treatments, but they can be administered by a home health care professional. This means that unnecessary trips to the doctor’s office or hospital can be avoided. These unnecessary trips put a strain on the elderly, so this is a significant benefit.
3. Dignity Management
When compared to assisted living facilities, in-home care helps to maintain a certain level of dignity for the elderly person. An in-home care professional can help with the tasks that your loved one may find difficult, like grooming, bathing, and medication administration, without getting in the way of things that they can do on their own.
When compared to assisted living facilities, in-home care is significantly more affordable. On average, in-home care costs $132 per visit, while a skilled nursing facility costs $544 per day. Of course, some of these costs are covered under certain insurances, but typically insurance will take more of the burden on in-home care as opposed to assisted living.
5. Customized Care
No senior’s situation is the same as another. Home healthcare acknowledges this and offers completely customized one-on-one care. This type of care helps to create a bond between the elderly patient and the professional that is not seen in assisted nursing facilities. Studies have shown that elderly patients are more likely to trust a professional who sees them in their own home, due to the strong bond created by customized care.
6. Better Outcomes
Studies have shown that elderly patients who receive in-home care have better, or at the very least, comparable health outcomes than seniors who go to assisted living facilities. Fewer complications occur in patients who have diabetes, COPD, pneumonia, or other chronic diseases. By staying in their own home, elderly patients are less likely to encounter viruses and bacteria that may be present in an assisted living facility.
The most important thing when it comes to deciding on a care plan for your loved one is that they feel comfortable. Make sure that you discuss these benefits with them, and find out how they feel about allowing someone to come into their home to check on them. Of course, even with a professional care provider, family support is always appreciated by the elderly and homebound, so be sure to continue to visit with your loved one as frequently as possible. In-home assistance is supplemental to family help, and not to be used as a substitute.