When do I Consider Live-in Care for my Loved One?

By: | Tags: , , , | Comments: 0 | May 10th, 2017

Are you part of the “Sandwich Generation”?

Are you caring for your own children, but finding yourself needing to care for aging parents as well? With 46 million Americans over the age of 65, this is a common occurrence for many. The Administration on Aging projects that number will more than double by the year 2060, meaning more and more families will need to find a way to care for their aging loved ones.

As the current generation of “Baby Boomers” grows older, many want to “Age in Place”. A 2011 survey by the AARP reported that 90% of those over the age of 65 wished to remain in their homes as they aged instead of moving to a long-term care facility. This new trend boasts many benefits for the both the Senior and the healthcare system. The director of the National Aging in Place Council reported cost estimates for long-term care:

  • Nursing Homes = $86,000/year
  • Assisted Living Communities = $60,000/year
  • Aging in Place = $23,000/year

An article posted on The Nations Health, published by the American Public Health Association, spoke with David Gifford, a senior vice president at the American Health Care Association. He said that Medicaid insurance offers coverage for long-term care facilities, but those who don’t have Medicaid may pay double the expenses from their own pockets. Aging in Place offers savings for the individual and shows promise as an avenue of sustaining the Medicaid program.

Aging in their own home offers other benefits to Seniors as well. Advancing Smartly outlined some of these benefits in an article on senior independence. These benefits include:

  1. Reduces social isolation by keeping them close to their friends and family.
  2. Maintains Community Continuity by allowing the person to continue using their favorite grocery and drug stores, restaurants, etc.
  3. Maintenance of Physical and Mental well-being by staying in a place that feels like home and remains familiar.

The article’s author, Kathryn Larlee, went on to cite studies that showed aging at home had the following specific health benefits:

  • Better Cognition
  • Better Daily Living Function
  • Lower Levels of Depression
  • Reduced Mortality

Many agencies exist to help Seniors and their families make Aging in Place a reality. They include places like Senior Centers, Meals on Wheels, Case Management Agencies, and Transportation. However, many times the initial burden to begin these services and offer care falls on the family members. While children and other extended family want to help their loved one age at home, it can quickly become a burden too big to handle. The New York Times wrote an article discussing how difficult it is for a family to watch their loved one deteriorate. Over time, the mental and physical demands become so stressful that the caregivers begin to exhibit symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The desire to Age in Place has many benefits, but the cost to the caregiver needs consideration. A time will come when the Senior’s needs are too great to handle without 24-hour care.  This is a reality that the caregiver and Senior need to prepare for ahead of time.

When is it Time to Consider Live-in Care?

There are signs to watch for that will indicate when your loved one needs 24-hour, live-in care. Care.com and AgingCare.com both offer good articles that discuss the warning signs. These include:

  1. Difficulty or Inability to – Bath, Dress, or Toilet on their own as evidenced by poor personal hygiene.
  2. Need for assistance when moving from place to place.
  3. Poor Balance/Difficulty Walking which may lead to falls and injury.
  4. Inability or Disinterest in Cooking & Eating – may result in weight loss.
  5. Inability to maintain their home or yard.
  6. Impaired driving abilities.
  7. Need for assistance in shopping, filling prescriptions, sorting mail, and paying bills.
  8. Cognitive Decline such as memory lapses, confusion, loss of reasoning, repetitive speech, getting lost while walking or driving, misplacing things, mood swings, and personality changes.

As a caregiver, you can continue to assist in fulfilling your loved one’s needs, but it is important to seek help when needed. Many Home Care agencies exist to relieve the stress of care-giving and ensure the safety and well-being of your loved one.

Active Care Home Care is one such agency based here in Chicago. We offer 24-hour live-in care for both short and long-term needs. We strive to offer compassionate assistance to allow Seniors to age in place safely and with dignity. For more information about Live-in Care, please contact us.

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