Senior Center

Managing In-Home Care

By Jan Bolder - November 22, 2013

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When a senior starts to become ill or physically unable to take care of themselves, one option is to give them in-home care. This can range anywhere from a visiting nurse to full medical care, but every option has its pros and cons depending on the condition of the senior.

Alzheimer's

There is no recovery from Alzheimer's, just a gradual descent into complete reliance on others, and in-home care should reflect that. Initially, your senior will have memory lapses but will function relatively fine, and in-home care can consist of homemaker or companion services. But as the disease progresses, more focused in-home care will be required, such as a live-in nurse, physician or hospital visits, and round-the-clock supervision.

Physical Injury

The most common type of accident for seniors is a fall, giving rise to a variety of injuries. And because seniors' bodies are more brittle and don't heal as quickly, in-home care should reflect that. Depending on the type of injury, in-home care can be anything from gentle physiotherapy for mild injuries to intensive home-keeping for more serious ones. A sprained wrist, for example, could require as little as casual care during the day to ensure your senior is able to access everything he or she needs; a fractured hip, however, is life-threatening for the elderly and calls for surgery and 9-12 months of healing.

Nutrition 

Cooking in and of itself isn't usually something that's thought of as requiring assistance for, but for many seniors, it is something that they might require in-home care for. Lifting a hot cast iron frying pan can pose dangerous risks, as can a pot of boiling water. Even less serious issues, like being able to open a tightly sealed jar or using a can opener on a tin may mean assistance is needed. And because nutrition and eating habits are especially key for seniors, ensuring that they're properly taken care of by experts and professionals is of double importance. 

Hospice 

As seniors near the end of their lives, one option for them is to receive hospice care instead of being admitted to a hospital. Hospice care focuses entirely on making the senior's last days as comfortable and pain-free as possible, and can call for anything from regular medication to a full team of bedside attendants. Medical care is at the most basic, as the senior will usually require analgesics and monitoring, but a team of social workers, nurses, therapists and family members isn't unusual.