When possible, many seniors prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible, even as their medical needs change. Most doctors will agree that as long as their health and safety can be maintained, this is ideal. Familiar surroundings provide comfort and help keep spirits up.
What type of home care to choose depends on how much help the person needs. Is she largely self-sufficient and just needs help with medical equipment, such as changing oxygen tanks? Does he need someone in the morning to help with bathing and dressing, but then can prepare simple meals on his own? Should someone be around during all the waking hours for safety’s sake?
Exploring your options
The level of medical care needed will dictate what sources you can tap for in-home care. If a senior’s needs are just along the lines of assistance with daily living activities, then a skilled provider is not needed. At the low end of the scale, the need may not involve any patient care activities, at all, but simply assistance with meal preparation and light housekeeping.
In-home aides also can provide more intimate help with daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, toilet assistance, and feeding. This also might include help taking medications, as some seniors need help remembering what to take at what time.
If there are medical needs, such as oxygen or IV medication, then a visiting nurse may be needed. This can be as short as a drop-in visit scheduled a couple of times a week. This should be coordinated with the senior’s primary health care provider.