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Choosing The 
Right Time For Home Care

Are your parents ready for home care services?

    Home Care is the professional care of seniors in their home, and a wonderful alternative to assisted living when the senior just needs some help, but can otherwise do fine.  

    Sooner or later, if we live long enough, all of us will require assistance in managing the things that we once handled very efficiently.  Chronic disease, physical aliments, loss of motor skills, and weakened systems are all a natural part of the aging process. 

    Some people require assistance sooner than others so while some people may require some level of assistance in their early 60's others may not require any assistance until some time in their 80's.

    In cases where sudden a sudden illness or accident requires home care, the changes are relatively sudden and easy to identify.  Most people accept the necessity for these changes easier too.

    When the decline is gradual, the little aches and pains that grow into big aches and pains slowly eat away at a person's ability to accomplish tasks.  It starts with an occasional bad day and the occasional bad day doesn't mean that help is required.  But then as time goes on, the bad days become more frequent.

    Psychological barriers to home care  

    It's not easy to accept the necessity for help either.  To do so necessarily admits to frailty which is something that we have been taught is synonymous with weakness of the spirit or mind.  We have been told that weakness makes us less worthy.

    Some experts say that this boils down to a matter of perspective.  Do you view the help as a convenience, as an entitlement or do you view it as a necessity?  Is getting the help a luxury or a requirement?  

    It all depends on the way you look at it.  People that view home care assistance as a convenience or luxury generally handle it better than those that view it as a necessity. 

    Sometimes it also helps to start adding services one at a time and before they are really needed. It's easier to accept services as a convenience and adding other services later just isn't as big of a deal.

    Health related services

    Home care services are often required as a result of poor health, illness, or poor nutritional balance.  Age can often change our attitude towards food and can reduce food cravings.  Taste buds don't give the satisfaction from eating as much as they used to and sometimes, seniors just don't feel hungry or care to eat. 

    When people live alone, regardless of age, there is a tendency towards poor nutrition.  "There is nobody to cook for, so why go through all the trouble."

    It's the family members that generally come across these situations.  Like finding out that Mom usually only has a piece of toast in the morning, maybe a couple of nuts for lunch, and a cookie for dinner.  It doesn't happen to everyone, but it does happen to some.

    Poor diet always leads to poor health and often needless degradation of other body systems.  Seniors should always be watched for nutritional balance.  With regular visits and checks of the refrigerator and shelves, you can generally get a pretty good handle on what their nutrition is like.

    Poor nutrition and medicine habits

    Poor nutrition should be addressed promptly before other symptoms develop.  The answer may be as simple as a local Meals on Wheels program.  With such services around, the likelihood of a proper diet is much higher.

    Other health problems can be much more severe or catastrophic if not handled promptly.  Forgetting to take medications or taking them improperly can cause severe reactions or worse.  

    A good way to determine whether someone is taking medications properly is to keep an inventory balance of their medications.  Start with a beginning balance and determine how many pills they should have left at the end of a given period of time.  

    For instance, if you start out with 60 pills and you know the person is supposed to take 2 pills per day, then at the end of 15 days, there should only be 30 pills remaining.

    If you have more or less medication that you should have, it's obvious that the person has not been taking the proper amount of medication and alternative plans should be made to monitor the taking of that medication. 


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