Sometimes the health and well-being of an elderly family member causes the need for in-home elder care. This can be a stressful time for both the senior and the caregiver. Depending on the nature of the reason for in home care, the demands can be overwhelming. If you are contemplating whether or not to provide this type of care for an elderly friend or relative there are some things you should consider first.
Health issues are the primary reason elderly person needs assistance. This can be as simple as monitoring daily medications or as complex as caring for someone who is completely bedridden or suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Each type of health issue brings with it a different set of needs and requires a different set of skills from the caregiver.
Some common medical issues faced by in home care givers are bone weakness, bowel problems such as constipation or diarrhea, breathing problems, memory loss, dementia and depression. Others might be incontinence, sleep problems or skin problems. Most people are not experts in providing care for all these issues. Many of the necessary skills can be learned so that in home elder care can be provided by a family member.
Often these medical issues restrict the senior’s ability to carry out daily living activities. Assistance with household chores and maintenance are often needed. They may need help dressing or bathing, getting in and out of bed and to and from the rest room. The care giver will need a certain amount of physical strength to deal with these challenges.
They may no longer be able to do the cooking cleaning and laundry. Coordinating shopping lists, managing money and paying bills may be too difficult. Health constraints may have robbed the senior of his endurance, strength or mental acuity to carry out these simple functions. The loss of these abilities can also be a cause of anger and depression as the senior adjusts, if possible, to his new circumstances.
Mobility and Transportation
Weak muscles or bones, loss of balance, hearing loss, vision impairment and other health issues can lead to loss of mobility. A once active individual may now have trouble getting in and out of chairs or be prone to falling. Falls can be a serious cause of injury. Safeguards that minimize this risk are necessary.
Some individuals may rely on a wheel chair which can mean major modifications to the home. Doorways may have to be widened and pathways kept clear. It also impacts the way they get around to go shopping or to see the doctor. It may be possible to use the existing vehicle but in some cases, a van with a wheel chair lift may be needed.
Consult your state agencies to locate help dealing with many of these issues. Speak to health care professionals candidly about your concerns in providing in home elder care. They can direct you to valuable resources.