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The biggest obstacles to accepting non-medical home care are often the elderly persons themselves, who are reluctant to acknowledge their needs. After all, your parents or elderly loved one has been able to do everything themselves for a very long time and now they are faced with change. With change often comes a painful period of chaos and disruption. As we age, we don’t like change, that’s just our nature. Sometimes, the elderly will dig their heels in and protest all the way. “There’s nothing wrong with me” seems to be a common outcry and they acknowledge that actually, they can’t do what they have always done.
All too often the mind of an elderly person is still thinking they are six foot tall and able to do everything like they have for 60, 70 or 80 years. Accepting that their body can’t follow through anymore is a difficult challenge. It requires sensitive handling and shouldn’t be rushed.
Remember that whilst the elderly are still alive and fully coherent, they still have feelings and should be respected as humans every single moment.
Often they are advised by their health care provider or doctor that assistance is now required and they may need daily supervision for even the basic tasks like taking their medication on time, bathing themselves or eating correctly. They may need escorting to doctor’s visits, hospital outpatients or on shopping ventures.
Most seniors are unwilling or unable to acknowledge their need for non-medical home care, and are not usually the one to make the decision to accept further assistance. It is often left to their partners, family or close relatives.
The care of an ageing person is a collaborative and holistic approach with participating medical professionals and hospitals take joint responsibility for the quality and cost of patient care, and they function under a variety of risk-sharing arrangements. With all services communicating and acknowledging each other’s contribution to the elderly patients needs, then the best outcome is achieved. At all times, the partner or family members are keep informed. You should also consider the budget restraints with your choice of providers and ensure you are getting the best option.
When discussing the possibility of either a new residence or a new service provider to assist the elderly, it may be beneficial to do a site inspection of the new proposed residence with the patient-to-be or show them video or brochures on home care services to put their mind at rest and assure them that they will be in good hands and not forgotten. It is important to reinforce the trust and reminder them they are not being pushed away or ‘out of sight, out of mind’.
With a tight market for aged care facilities in Australia, many elderly persons are now being cared for in their own home, or the home of a relative, with in-home care providers supporting them. Sometimes they are dependent upon a good hearted neighbour to supervise and support them. This is often conducive to a better outcome for the elderly by having homely, familiar surroundings and routine but often still requires the back up support of professional aid like aged care support workers or nurses to visit.
Take the decision slowly (if time allows) and let the elderly person adjust to a new way of life, re-enforce the trust and stand by them throughout the process and you will find the transition a smoother process. Maybe stubborn old grandfather will like a little fussing over him in the end!