Elder Care Tips, In-home assistance for elders

Elder Care Tips, In-home assistance for elders

As our loved ones age, we face the prospect of getting them assistance for ailments, therapy or even daily chores. Here's a guide to signs your loved one may need extra care and what options are available.

Warning signs

Be sure to look for these signs that your loved one may need assistance:

  • Constant fatigue
  • Unsteady while walking or standing and recent falls
  • Loss of hearing, sight or smell
  • Diminished driving skills
  • Dirty clothes or poor grooming habits
  • Trouble cleaning, cooking or shopping
  • No appetite or changes in eating habits
  • Memory loss and confusion
  • Sudden mood changes
  • Loss of interest in activities and socializing
  • Inability to take medications
  • Mishandling finances

Navigating the options

Depending upon need, different levels of care are available.

  • Independent living facilities are for seniors who don’t need special care, just opportunities to socialize. Some also offer meals and transportation.
  • In-home services can consist of assistance at home with health care, meals preparation and transportation.
  • Assisted living facilities allow the senior to live independently but provide help managing medications and grooming.
  • Continuing care is a combination of the above situations; good for a senior whose circumstances may be changing.
  • Nursing homes are for those requiring constant care by licensed health care professionals.
  • Alzheimer’s care units are generally located within nursing homes with specially trained staff to treat the disease.
  • Adult day care programs provide supervision and activities during daytime hours to give the caregiver a break.

Follow these steps to find the best elder-care situation.

  • Consult with an expert. Let the elderly person express his or her wishes.
  • Look at location, location, location. The facility must be close in order for family and friends to visit.
  • Get references. Talk to families who already have a loved one there.
  • Fill the social calendar. Ask about activities and make sure they are happening.
  • Get the facts at medicare.gov/NHCompare. Review facility complaint investigations and annual inspection reports.
  • Check the stats. Find out about the staff to resident ratio.
  • Make an appointment. Be sure physicians and therapists are available.
  • Scout the site. Look for clean, cheerful rooms and grounds.
  • Plan a menu. Find out when and where snacks and meals are available.
  • Learn the ropes. Gain access to support groups and outside agencies.

Related: Hiring In-Home Elder Care

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