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Getting older is a fact of life and not much we can do about it except that it doesn’t have to be a hard road to travel down. We are an ageing population and at some time we will all have to address the issue of ageing family members. As their health and mobility declines, their needs for support increase and the therefore we need solutions to ensure their quality of life is not compromised. Research suggests that we are all better off in our own environment, our familiar surroundings, our own homes for as long as possible.
If you have ever been involved in trying to help someone with enquiries for an Aged Care Home, you may have realised how stressful, painful and complex the whole process can be. And many times, it has become an emergency and therefore a rushed decision. Whereas, there are other options that could be, and should be, investigated to retain some quality of life in the final years.
Never assume that Aged Care Home is the last option (or only option). There are many levels of assistance available for those getting a little older and starting to struggle. You don’t want to let the situation go on until it becomes an urgent last minute struggle. Once you think there might be a need for assistance in the very near future, start having the discussion with all concerned family members or care givers. This way it won’t be such a shock when the decision has arrived.
If you can’t care for your elderly family members (or even yourself) for any reason, then getting home assistance can delay or negate the need for Aged Care Home and offer you the support that is needed.
Whilst Aged Care Homes provide a good service for specific people and specific circumstances i.e. dementia patients and others cater for special demographics i.e. religious or cultural needs. Other Aged Care facilities are more like 5 star resorts. They can the support that is sometimes required when in-home care is no longer an option.
In-Home carers are trained professionals in what they do. They have chosen to care as their profession, and know how to do it in the safest and most professional manner, taking away embarrassment and making care a normal process with due respect.
Some people may like to combine a little respite care with in-home care as a way of ‘use before you buy’ and getting accustomed to such environments. It also allows for the care givers to have a break but knowing they are safe. This may be a great interim set up as a stepping stone to the inevitable. The longer they can stay in their permanent home, familiar surroundings and their home comforts, then the longer they will stay active and enjoy a fulfilling life. Research shows that the elderly will usually live longer if they are able to remain in their own home as long as possible. Having in-home support, just like a cleaner or someone to ensure they are eating properly, taking their medications or drive them to an appointment is often the little extra that is required when family is not always available. Then our elderly family members can also enjoy their neighbourhood, pottering around the garden, walking the dog or patting the cat etc. As early stages of dementia set in, then having familiar surroundings becomes very important to them.
Some of our clients have formed strong friendships with our carers and often say it is the highlight of their day to see a smiling face and a familiar face each day. It’s better for families to have the research ready and acknowledge the inevitable early in time to avoid any urgent situation and keep their elderly loved ones in a safe and happy environment for as long as possible. Have you planned for your elderly family members final years?