Growing up, your mom was your rock. She put food on the table, made sure you got your homework done, and was always there when you needed a helping hand. Now, as your mother grows older, it’s time for you to step up and make sure that she’s getting the support and attention she needs to thrive.
For many seniors, home care is going to be just the right fit. Studies have shown that nearly 70 percent of seniors are going to need long-term care at some point in their lives – and that nearly 90 percent of older adults say that they want to remain at home as they age, for as long as possible.
Health Challenges for Elderly Women
For women, growing older presents countless opportunities to connect with others and focus on building the life they’ve always wanted. However, for many senior women, their golden years can also come with some serious health and lifestyle concerns.
As Aging in Place notes, women account for more than half of the population of senior adults, and have a life expectancy significantly higher than that of men. As Aging in Place puts it, this “means a higher chance of developing health issues simply for the fact that they, generally, live longer than men do and their bodies have more time to develop diseases.”
Over time, women are susceptible to a variety of unique health conditions, including:
- Breast cancer. The American Cancer Society notes that breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among women. The average risk of a woman developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 12%, or one in eight.
- Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis can lead to weak, brittle bones, making it difficult to move and increasing the likelihood of suffering a fall. Osteoporosis is quite common in older women. According to data from Aging in Place, there are about 10 million people in the US with osteoporosis, with women accounting for more than 75 percent.
- Arthritis. Arthritis is incredibly common in older adults, and tends to affect more women than men. In fact, the CDC has estimated that nearly 24 percent of all women suffer from some form of arthritis. In particular, the Arthritis Foundation notes that women tend to experience far greater rates of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) than men. RA is a form of chronic inflammation affecting joints, particularly in the hands and feet.
- Cardiovascular disease. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death for women older than 65; nearly 71 percent of women in the 65-79 year old age group have some form of heart disease.
- Loneliness and social isolation. As we get older, it can be difficult to maintain strong social relationships. Research from the AARP suggests that more than 42 million Americans “identify as being lonely,” which can lead to depression, stress, malnutrition, and higher rates of chronic illness.
When Is It Time to Consider Getting Help?
It can be difficult to see your mom start to change, right before your eyes. As a loving son or daughter, it can also be tricky to tell the difference between the normal signs of aging, and more serious “yellow flags” that it might be time to reach out for help.
Is it time to start considering home care for your aging mom? Here are a few telltale signs to keep an eye on:
- Changes to her appearance. Is your normally well-put-together mom starting to ignore her personal hygiene, or dressing in the same outfit again and again? Has she rapidly lost weight, or suffering from bruises or marks that she can’t explain? Rapid changes in a loved one’s appearance could be a sign of more serious underlying challenges.
- Changes in her home environment. Are bills piling up? The lawn left unkempt? Dirt and clutter gathering everywhere? If your parent is ignoring their chores, it could be a sign that keeping up with housework is becoming too mentally or physically taxing.
- Changes in her behavior. Has your loved one become withdrawn or isolated? Is your sharp-as-a-tack mom starting to forget things, or experiencing sudden mood swings or shifts in attitude? Changes like these could be a sign that it’s time to get help.
- Changes in her activity levels. Have you noticed that your mom seems to be ignoring the kitchen, or avoiding going out to her beloved garden? Does she seem more sedentary, or seem to express pain when performing routine activities of daily living (ADLs)? A senior companion can be a great resource if your mom is struggling with getting around, bathing, grooming, or keeping up with other day-to-day activities.
- Changes in your needs as a caregiver. Don’t forget to take your own health, well-being, and quality of life into account! As a family caregiver, it’s important to make time for yourself, or run the risk of experiencing stress, anxiety, and burnout. If you feel like you’re hitting your limits, there is no shame in reaching out for help, so you can get some respite and come back to caregiving with fresh eyes and more energy.
The Benefits of Home Care for Senior Women
Home care is a flexible, affordable avenue for long-term care, one that can empower senior women to live an active, independent lifestyle while remaining in the comfort and safety of home.
With home care – also called in-home care, respite care, or companion care – a professional caregiver is available on a flexible schedule that matches your senior loved one’s lifestyle.
A companion can provide care for as little as a few hours a week, or as much as 24 hours a day – whatever it takes to ensure that your senior loved one is able to get the support they need, while family caregivers get the opportunity to rest, recharge, and regain their peace of mind.
With home care, an experienced, professional caregiver can provide a variety of services, all tailored to your loved one’s wants and needs. Home care often includes:
- Driving services. A senior companion can help provide reliable, routine transportation, to help seniors run errands, attend social events, arrive at doctor’s appointments, and more.
- Assistance with activities of daily living. A companion can help provide support with routine ADLs, like moving around, bathing, grooming, dressing, and attending to personal hygiene.
- Meal preparation. If cooking and eating are a challenge, a senior companion can help your loved one with every aspect of meal prep – from shopping, to cooking, to service, to clean-up.
- Housekeeping and laundry. A companion can provide assistance with chores and laundry, to ensure that the senior is able to live in a safe and comfortable environment.
- Medication and exercise reminders. Seniors often juggle multiple medications, as well as exercise recommendations from doctors or physical therapists. While a caregiver is not a licensed healthcare provider, they can provide medicine and exercise reminders, and provide much-needed oversight and encouragement.
- Companionship and social support. Above all else, a senior companion is a friend and ally. For seniors, there are countless health and lifestyle benefits to regularly interacting with other people. A companion can be there for your senior loved one as a trusted friend and confidant – someone to share meals, swap stories, play games, or simply enjoy some quiet time together.
Have Any Questions? Companions for Seniors Is Here to Help
Home care is a way to ensure that older women are able to get the support they need in the comfort of home. It is a proven way to help aging men and women live more independently, build stronger relationships, and age in place with better overall health, without having to uproot their lives and transition into institutional care.
Is it time to start thinking about taking care of the people who took such good care of you? Companions for Seniors is here to help make things easier. We’re here and always happy to field any questions you may have, and help point you in the right direction.
Here at Companions for Seniors, our mission is to help seniors live independently and with dignity in the comfort of their own home, by empowering them to lead an active and enriched lifestyle, connecting them with their community, and nurturing meaningful relationships. We believe in helping seniors maintain a higher quality of life, while providing respite and peace of mind for those family caregivers who could use some extra help.
We are locally owned in the Chicago area, with services available in the city and suburbs. Trained and bonded companions are available on a full- or part-time basis, and offer driving services in the comfort of an insured company car.
Ready to get started? Curious about what sets us apart? Get in touch online or give us a call at 866-910-9020 to get the home care answers you’ve been searching for.