Your home. It’s probably not perfect by any stretch. Often we look at it as too messy or too small or too big or too cluttered or the wrong colour or… you get the picture. It is a place we are always trying to improve and can always find some little (or big) fault with. Yet despite the amount of time we spend fixing it, it is ours. It is a place of comfort, of refuge, of familiarity, and of memories. It is the place we feel safest and from which we can explore the world around us. Good luck to the person that tries to get us to leave our homes before we are ready. Yet that’s exactly what we do to thousands of elders who need care every year. Nursing homes are overbooked with waiting lists for those precious few spots that open up. Assisted living homes cost families more than what many make in a year, yet they too are not only full, but also have wait lists. Despite these barriers, we continue to push to move our loved ones out of the place they feel safest and most comfortable.
The simple answer is that our collective default when we think of elder care is to move our elder to a place where someone else will care for them. It’s better for them. Or so we think. Yet there is an alternative, one that is offers benefits for everyone involved: Home care. Home care is where we bring the help that our loved ones need into their home instead of forcing them out of their home. Although many people fear the expense – imagining astronomical costs – it is often on par with (or less than) many assisted living facilities depending on the type of care needed. And for this cost, one gets the benefits not only for the individual receiving care, but for the entire family.
Comfort and Control
Perhaps the most important benefit is the level of comfort and control afforded to our loved ones. The changes that precede the need for assistance can be terrifying for our elders and yet this fear and stress becomes magnified when we ask them to change their entire way of life, giving up the environment in which they are most comfortable. This is even more relevant when our loved one is suffering from early signs of dementia as the cues in their environment – their home – are often when can help ground them or help them find their way back to the present. Taking this familiarity away can lead to increased stress, greater symptoms, and faster deterioration, something the goal of care and assistance is supposed to avoid. Just as we don’t up and sell our house when we can no longer keep up with all the cleaning or housework on our own, nor should our default be to up and move our elders when they can no longer cope independently.
Home Care is Personalized
Outside of the well-being of our loved ones, there are practical reasons to consider home care as well. First, home care is personalized. Every elder is unique and every case of aging is unique, showing in different ways and progressing at different rates. Though some individuals will need the benefits of round-the-clock intensive care afforded in specialized nursing homes, many won’t. Some elders will need help with the chores around the house that are being neglected, such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Some will need someone to help remind them about and take them to various appointments or grocery shopping during the day and make sure they take their medications. Some will need medical help and assistance with more “basic” things like getting dressed or bathing. With personalized in-home care, each elder receives no more and no less than what she or he needs and the care is provided in ways that are most comfortable for our loved ones.
The second advantage is one-on-one care. Families who arrange for personalized, one-on-one care do not fear that some element of care is being overlooked by overworked staff in understaffed nursing homes. With in-home care, family and friends can feel more confident that their loved one is being treated with respect and given the type of attention that they deserve. Attention we often can’t provide ourselves due to work, family, and other obligations. This one-on-one care also means that when things change – such as a decline in functioning – everyone becomes aware sooner and new care plans can be implemented immediately.
Peace of Mind
In addition to personalized and one-on-one care, certain in-home care providers offer unique ways to keep up-to-date and in touch with your loved one’s caregiver, enabling peace of mind for family. Concern over how your loved one is being treated is something families are rightly concerned with and live updates, available from some care providers, are ways to alleviate this worry. For example, Mavencare’s mobile app enables family to track the caregiver’s location (and thus your loved one) and get real-time updates on what type of care is happening at that very moment. Family can also request photos of how sessions are going, providing visual evidence of the quality of care your loved one receives. The app also allows family to send task lists for each day of care and receive updates when the tasks are completed. This means family knows exactly what is happening, what has happened, and can see how well their loved one is doing. That is peace of mind.
Forcing our elders to leave their home is not the only answer to elder care. In-home care can provide better care for our loved ones while giving them the comfort of home and maintaining their independence and confidence. Before jumping to moving your loved one out of the place they feel safest, consider if in-home care might be right for you.
Looking For Senior Care
Selecting the right caregiver for your aging loved one can be tough. We help families like yours to the right type of care and find the best possible caregiver for your needs. Our highly qualified and compassionate care coordinators can help make the decision easier and answer any questions you have regarding your unique situation. Click here to reach our care coordinators.