November is National Home Health Care Month, and that means we should all consider the tremendous benefits provided by senior home care to individuals who might otherwise have to be placed in care facilities away from their homes. In Everett and elsewhere around the U.S., in-home caregivers make it possible for seniors to enjoy the comfort of familiar surroundings by bringing needed assistance directly to their homes and helping them provide for themselves. While these are some of the obvious benefits of home health care, there are undoubtedly some advantages to this arrangement which you may not previously have considered.
Encourages family participation
When a senior becomes ill or disabled in some way, family members can play a vital role in expediting their recovery. There is no stronger support mentally and emotionally for a senior than having loved ones nearby during a difficult time period. If the senior were to be sequestered in a hospital room, there would be limited access because of visiting hours, and the hospital routine would have to be observed without interruptions from family members. None of this is true at home, and a senior can have unlimited interaction and participation with family members.
Compared to hospital care, senior in-home care is a very affordable option. Many nursing homes charge an average of $200 a day for a semi-private room and assisted living facilities will charge somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,000 to $4,000 every month. By contrast, in-home care might cost between $70 and $80 per day, depending on the needs of a senior individual. From almost any angle you care to look at it, in-home care is far less expensive than any other kind of care which might be provided to a senior loved one.
When a senior is able to stay home in familiar surroundings, it can foster a powerful sense of independence. In fact, one of the reasons most seniors prefer to stay home in the first place is that it allows them to retain a high level of independence in their lives. Whatever kind of care a senior might be receiving at home, it can still be controlled to a large extent simply because the individual is at home rather than in a hospital setting. Both seniors and their families will thus enjoy a great deal more independence than they would in any other type of setting.
No two seniors are alike, and that means in-home care needs to be personalized for the individual. This is the only setting where a senior can receive one-on-one attention, and still be the only individual that a caretaker is responsible for. In most cases, there are a number of medical personnel comprising the entire team which delivers personalized care to a senior at home. This team will always take into account the specific needs of an individual before developing a complete program of personalized care that can be delivered to the individual. In a larger setting such as an assisted living facility or hospital, it’s always necessary to take a more general approach to patient care, simply because of the volume of people being cared for.
Quality of life
In many cases, the kind of care delivered to a senior who is homebound can improve their quality of life significantly, and help to avoid premature decline. Caretakers are adept at encouraging independence among their senior charges, and involving them in their own care, for instance by exercising and becoming involved in household activities.
When a senior is allowed to stay at home and be attended by a watchful caretaker, it will generally improve their ability to navigate around the household, it might improve their ability to dress themselves and tend to their own washing and bathing, and it is likely to require less frequent medical care related to poor health or declining physical skills. All these factors are part of quality of life, and would be very important to any senior in this situation.
This kind of care reduces the number of stressors that are generally associated with the aging process and has often been shown to be a factor that contributes heavily to extending the productive lives of seniors. It helps a great deal to have a companion at home who is willing to listen, share activities, and engage in enjoyable little projects which keep a senior active and mentally alert.
These are the kinds of factors which contribute strongly to quality of life and allow a homebound senior to enjoy living to the greatest extent possible. Even when a senior becomes disabled either physically or mentally, their quality of life will still probably be much better at home when attended by a compassionate caretaker, than it would be in any kind of home where they are just one of many individuals.