Statistics show that 87 percent of senior adults want to remain in their homes (called aging in place) as opposed to moving to a senior community. Living with Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia, however, makes that desire a challenge for many seniors and their families.
Therefore, many home health care agencies are making aging in place possible for these seniors by offering a wide array of services customized for their specific needs. A study by Johns Hopkins concluded that the right kind of care could significantly extend the time seniors are able to remain in their own homes, even those in the early stages of living with dementia.
How Home Care Works
Creating a plan that allows a senior with dementia to age in place begins with a comprehensive evaluation. Participants in this evaluation include a care manager, the senior’s physician, nurses, and the input of the senior and his or her family. The home health care agency staff uses all these sources, as well as their own observations of the senior and the home environment, to make a plan.
Issues to assess include:
- How safe is the senior’s home?
- Where is the senior at in terms of dementia’s progression? Is the senior prone to wander?
- What medical supervision and personal services will he or she need?
- Does the senior need someone to provide transportation for him or her?
- What are the family’s expectations and how much of the caregiving are they able to provide themselves?
- Do legal documents need to be completed?
A comprehensive home health care agency can provide numerous services if needed. They include:
- Assistance with bathing
- Meal planning and preparation
- Doing laundry
- Assistance with dressing
- Running errands
- Handling personal correspondence
- Medication management
- Providing a personal services assistant
- Note taking during physician appointment
- Safety monitoring
- 24-hour in-home assistance
What are the Benefits?
In the Johns Hopkins study, senior adults with dementia who received in-depth, comprehensive care in their homes reported a higher quality of life than those who received more basic care. In addition, the cost of the home care services were significantly less than those of an assisted living community.
The family also benefits from home care, as they can rest easy knowing a team of professionals is supervising and supplying the care their loved one needs. This becomes even more critical as the dementia progresses, and a caregiver is needed to devote more and more time in the senior’s home overseeing more complex and urgent needs.
The emotional, physical, and financial strain of worry can be extreme for family caregivers. For family members who take on this role themselves, burnout symptoms could include:
- Stress and anxiety
- Emotional withdrawal
- Weight gain or loss
- Alcohol abuse
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Increased physical illness
A comprehensive home health agency, like Bethesda, can make life much safer, fuller, and less stressful for the family caregiver as well.
Contact us to learn more about our Home Health Care program, and how our staff ensures that our seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s receive the care they need regardless of where they call home.