Exquisicare Senior Living is a member of the Westend Seniors Activity Centre’s, Friends of WSAC business program. Their mission is to to provide real loving homes for our elders so they can live with safety, security and love, through all the remaining phases of their life and to provide comfort and assurance to the families of our residents that their loved ones are treated with the highest level of care, compassion and respect.
Wendy Hoover has been a guest speaker here at our centre, providing educational Toonie Talks and has provided a number of guest blog posts for our centre on topics such as dementia, nutrition, living at risk and other topics staff at Exquisicare deal with every single day.
Guest Blog Post – “”Home Care and Choosing the Right Care for You””
By Exquisicare Senior Living
Talking about different types of care in the abstract, however, doesn’t make it any easier to figure out whether you should age in place or enter one of the various types of facilities that offer care. That’s because every person’s situation is unique, and every person has unique needs and motives as they choose the type of care they want.
For that reason, it may help to walk through some scenarios that families find themselves in and use them to guide your decision-making as you choose your next step.
Scenario 1: What If It’s A Healthy Senior Living Fairly Independently?
One situation that often arises is a healthy senior who lives fairly independently who nevertheless feels that they need some help. This can range from organization or home maintenance to ordinary household chores, like cleaning or laundry, that the client wants to take
a rest from after a lifetime of work.
Home care—in particular the lower-level type of care often referred to as companion care—is probably the best bet in this situation: if everything else is going well, why leave home for a facility? Home care can also offer some additional advantages, depending on the situation: for example, if the senior is far from loved ones, the caregiver can give the family updates on the client’s condition, and provide reassurance that might not otherwise be available. Home care companies offers companion and home help services.
Note, however, that even healthy seniors often choose to move to some sort of senior living arrangement. Many seniors would rather downsize than continue to wrestle with the challenges of home maintenance, and senior living and assisted living can be a great option if a senior must give up their home for some other reason—to move to closer to family, for example.
Scenario 2: What If It’s A Senior With Health Challenges Living Alone?
A healthy, independent senior has plenty of choices, naturally. Things get more complicated if you or your loved one is confronting significant physical challenges. In such a situation, assisted living could be the best choice, but it’s not automatically the right way to go: home care can expand the range of options—and may still be necessary before and after the move to assisted living.
One of the first questions to ask is whether health challenges are isolating the senior from their friends or loved ones. If no friends or family live nearby, then assisted living might well be worth a look. On the other hand, some seniors find the move to a facility isolating, too, as limits on space and privacy can make visits less attractive for friends and family. In this situation, it’s also important to remember that many home care companies provide transportation—to social events as well as medical appointments—and so home care can help with isolation as well.
One issue that sometimes arises as seniors lose their independence is that the family begins to be (understandably) concerned about the health and well being of their loved one. In such cases, many turn to assisted living as a means of gaining peace of mind about the patient’s health and safety. Such concerns are natural, but home care agencies can also help provide reassurance about seniors with health or mobility challenges who live at home.
In addition to paying visits, home care companies will often supply their clients with medical alert systems that allow the
user to summon help even when they can’t reach a phone; many agencies also offer special services that will advise about safety risks in the home and even take steps to make the home safer. Ultimately whether the senior’s health warrants moving into a facility comes down to the
senior’s own preferences. Certainly assisted living may be an option, but there are many reasons, including a simple desire to keep the house in the family, that can make home care a much more attractive option.
Scenario 3:What If The Senior Has A Spouse With Different Care Needs, But They Want To Stay Together?
Sometimes couples find themselves in a scenario where one of them needs a different level of care than the other. This can lead to a lot of distress, since it’s generally not possible, for example, for someone to take up residence in a nursing home who doesn’t need nursing care—
even if their life partner does. And when one partner doesn’t need a facility at all, finances can be an issue: the proceeds from the sale of a home are one of the main ways seniors finance their stay in an assisted living facility, but if one member of a couple hopes to continue in the home, that source will be unavailable.
Home care can open up some new possibilities in this scenario. Having an onsite caregiver
available for a few days a week can relieve a spouse of some of the most burdensome aspects of care, and even if one spouse needs more involved care or around-the-clock supervision, hiring a caregiver can allow both spouses to remain in familiar surroundings. Home care companies can provide services to both spouses based on their individual needs.
Scenario 4:What If The Client Has More Serious Health Problems?
Beyond these scenarios, you begin to enter situations where some sort of institutionalization may be necessary. But the choices are still not as cut-and-dried as they may appear at first. For example, Alzheimer’s and dementia can appear to significantly increase the need for an assisted living or specialized memory care facility. But especially in the early stages, home care can provide those with memory impairments the supervision they need when other caregivers aren’t available or need a break from their duties.
Home care companies offers special services for those with Alzheimer’s, too, and that type of attention, combined with the comfort of being in familiar surroundings, can make it easier for friends and family to connect with a loved one with memory impairments. Apart from Alzheimer’s, there are other ailments that can require more involved care, and can make staying at home untenable. But it should be noted that for many of these ailments, the
appropriate facility is probably going to be one that provides nursing care, which is a more expensive proposition than assisted living. If the person needs skilled nursing care, then that need should form the basis of comparison if expense is a factor.
Finally, someone will often find themselves needing to enter a facility for an acute crisis like an injury. At that time, they and their family may feel that their only option is to go from the hospital (or rehabilitation facility) into a nursing home or assisted living community.
Here again, though, home care can open up more choices: Home care companies offer services designed specifically to facilitate recovery, and for someone desiring to return to the fully independent life they lived before a setback, these types of home care may make institutionalization unnecessary.