Is Global Health right for my loved one or me?
Rather than moving into a long-term care facility as you age, many prefer to stay at home for as long as possible. This may be the right choice for you if you only need modest assistance with your daily activities and enjoy a close network of nearby family and friends. These guidelines explore the range of home care services available to help you maintain your independence within the comfort of your own home.
It’s natural to want to stay at home as you grow older. However, taking a step back to look at the big picture can help you decide whether staying at home for the long term truly is the right decision for you. Too often, decisions to leave home are made after a sudden loss or emergency, making adjustments all the more painful and difficult. Take some time to look at your options, your budget, and some of the alternatives that are available to you.
What can help me stay at home?
You may be used to handling everything yourself, dividing up duties with your spouse, or relying on family members for help. But as circumstances change, it’s good to be aware of all the home care services available to you. What you may need depends on how much support you have, your general health, and your financial situation.
Keeping a household running smoothly takes a lot of work. If you’re finding it hard to keep up, you can look into laundry, shopping, gardening, housekeeping, and handyman services. If you’re having trouble staying on top of bills and appointments, financial and healthcare management may also be helpful.
Transportation is a key issue for older adults. Maybe you’re finding it hard to drive or don’t like to drive at night. Investigating transportation options can help you keep your independence and maintain your social network. You may want to look into local transportation such as buses, reduced fare taxis, and senior transportation options to take you to appointments.
If your mobility is becoming limited, home modifications can go a long way towards making home more comfortable. This can include things such as grab bars in the shower, ramps to avoid or minimize the use of stairs, or even installing new bathrooms on the ground floor.
Help with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, feeding, or meal preparation, is called personal care. You can hire help with personal care, ranging from a few hours a day to 24 hour care. People who provide this level of care include personal support workers (PSW), home care aides, and home health aides. Home health aides might also provide assistance with things such as taking blood pressure or offering medication reminders.
Some health care services can be provided at home by trained professionals, such as occupational therapists, social workers, or home health nurses. Check with your insurance or local provincial health service to see what kind of coverage is available to you. Then look at topping up the care with private pay services.
Day programs can help you keep busy with activities and socialization during the day, while providing a break for family caregivers. Some day programs are primarily social, while others provide limited health services or specialize in disorders such as early stage Alzheimer’s.
Involving loved ones in Global Health services
Even if you have strong family support, be open to the idea of having other help too. Many people have an initial feeling of “not wanting strangers in the house.” But caregiving can be physically and emotionally exhausting, especially if the primary caregiver is one person such as a spouse. Your relationships will be healthier if you are open to the idea of getting help from more than one source. Perhaps you and your family want to work out a system where caregiving by family is your primary support for staying in the home. Or it could be that work, health issues or location of your family may not make this feasible. Your family could live far away and prefer that you live with them or move close instead, which would mean giving up a local support system.
While this conversation may not be easy, it’s better to discuss these issues earlier than to wait for an emergency when options may be more limited. An independent opinion, such as a home assessment by a geriatric case manager or consulting with other professionals, can be helpful in defusing family tensions too. You have the final decision as to where you want to live, but input from family members is also helpful. Are they worried about your safety or a health problem such as Alzheimer’s that will eventually require heavy care? Listening to concerns and keeping communication open is key.
Finding the right home care services for you
Global Health will work with you to evaluate what home care services are right for you and to develop a care plan.