According to projections, there were about 46.2 million people aged 65 or older in 2014, and that number is expected to rise to nearly 73 million by 2030. Of that group of older adults, 70 percent are likely to use long-term care at some point.
But those are just numbers. What’s important to keep in mind is that behind each and every number we just listed is a story, a soul, a life.
If you’re acting as a family caregiver for your aging parent, or another older adult, you may be thinking about all of the long-term care options available for your loved one, including home care.
Home care is an attractive option for many families. It is flexible and affordable, able to empower older adults to live independently while also giving family caregivers some much-needed respite. But is home care going to be the right fit for your unique, one-of-a-kind family member?
Wondering if home care will be compatible with your senior loved one’s lifestyle? Here are three key questions to ask:
1.) Does Your Aging Loved One Want to Remain in Place?
Most older adults prefer to remain in place as they age, but this isn’t necessarily the right fit for everyone.
According to findings from the AARP, roughly 90 percent of adults 65 or older say that they would prefer to remain in their home as they grow older. A survey, brought to our attention by the American Society on Aging, also suggests that older adults don’t just value staying at home for the comfort or convenience. Instead, many have a strong emotional attachment to their home, with 63 percent of those 75 years old and better saying that their homes’ “emotional” value is more important than its monetary value.
However, some older adults may actually prefer to leave their home at some point, either to move in with younger family, downsize to a smaller house, or to transition to a more senior-focused community. In other cases, older adults may have medical needs that make it necessary to move into a living situation with more active medical attention on-site. Others may have to relocate because their current home simply isn’t up to changes in their mobility.
And that leads to another question…
2.) What Level of Care Does Your Parent Need?
Some aging adults may have medical needs that go above and beyond the scope of non-medical home care. In some cases, older adults may instead benefit from the attention of a live-in nurse or healthcare provider. For other elderly adults, the best course may be an assisted living facility, if they require round-the-clock medical care or attention.
But for many aging adults, home care will be just the right fit!
With non-medical home care, your parent gets the specialized support and attention of a caregiver, for as much or as little time as is necessary. Some care recipients benefit from having a companion drop by for just a few hours a week; others prefer having a companion who can provide more regular daily care.
Caregivers are also flexible when it comes to what services they offer. If your loved one needs some assistance with housekeeping, meal preparation, laundry services, driving, or completing some basic activities of daily living (ADLs), a caregiver can provide the support your parent needs, on the schedule that will work best for their lifestyle – and for yours, as a family caregiver.
Need some help spotting the “yellow flags” that say your parent may need some additional support, above and beyond what you can provide on your own? Be sure to read our guide on finding the right time to get help for your aging parents, available here.
3.) Can Your Parent Get Along With a New Companion?
Here’s another pressing question to consider as you weigh home care as an option: “Will my parent get along with their caregiver or companion?”
It’s important to think about how your parent might react to home care. If your parent is incredibly resistant to change or to meeting new people, they may be much more opposed to getting started with home care, which can make things more difficult for everyone involved. Similarly, your parent may see hiring help, even if it’s just for a few hours a week, as an imposition, or worse, as an “attack” on their independence.
Take some time to think about what factors might influence your parents’ relationship with their new companion. Are they prone to anger, for instance? Or extremely shy and reserved? Do they have any trouble with speech? Would your parent be able to adapt and take it in stride if their usual companion wasn’t available for a day, or would they be agitated by these sorts of little changes? Are there any games, hobbies, or activities that your parents love, which a new companion may be able to share?
While these may not be “make-or-break” factors, they’re all important to bear in mind! For some people, it may take a little bit of time to warm up to the idea of home care. For others, you may need “sell” the concept a bit. For example, you may need to position home care as a way to get your parent some help around the house, rather than framing it in terms of “care,” which can be intimidating. Other adults, though, may jump in feet-first, and be a lot more able and willing to adapt to home care.
Have Any More Questions About Home Care?
Do you have any more questions or concerns about home care? Do you think it might be the right fit for your parent, but are you not sure how to get started? Companions for Seniors is here to help.
Locally owned and operated in the Chicagoland area, Companions for Seniors provides companionship for seniors in the comfort and security of their own homes. Through our support and friendship, we believe in empowering the elderly to lead an active and enriched lifestyle, by connecting them with their community and nurturing meaningful relationships. At the same time, this can help give back time to the family caregiver, who may need a chance to rest and recharge.
Our passionate, empathetic companions are trained and bonded, and can assist your loved one with housekeeping, meal prep, driving, laundry, ADLs, and more. We understand that every situation is unique, so we provide a personalized care plan that’s modified to meet each client’s specific needs. As a client’s situation changes, so does our plan of care.
Ready to keep the conversation going? Drop us a line today! We’re always ready to help.