Vail Daily column: Home care an alternative to assisted living
February 4, 2013
Home care can be an excellent alternative to an assisted living facility for a patient who needs help with some of their daily tasks. A home care provider can assist with cooking, errands, housekeeping, hygiene, and more, and offers a flexible schedule to accommodate patients and their families.
Families have some tough decisions to make when they have a loved one who is struggling to manage their daily tasks or live safely on their own. Aging relatives may be finding it harder and harder to do everyday things that used to be done effortlessly. Perhaps there are some physical health situations emerging that limit mobility, making housekeeping or errands difficult or impossible. Early Alzheimer’s symptoms may present challenges – medication needs to managed and safety issues may emerge.
Should a family choose an assisted living facility or home care? It is a difficult decision, and sometimes moving away to a new place with full-time care is necessary for the health and safety of the individual. However, unless one needs full supervision or care, home care is an excellent choice, especially if the individual would be happier remaining in their home. An assisted living facility may be more help than needed, and be much more expensive. Home care offers many services, and it is also a very flexible option. Maintaining familiar surroundings including neighbors and friends can help keep a senior in good mental and physical health.
Home care can be temporary or long term; daytime, nighttime, or overnight; or for weekends and holidays. It provides care when and how it is needed, after careful consideration and consultation with doctors, patients and their families. This flexibility allows for great respite and peace of mind for family caregivers, and they can be assured with a high quality home care service that their loved one is cared for and safe.
Home care services include hygiene assistance, meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands and more. The warm companionship is also something a patient looks forward to and enjoys. Support with these daily tasks can provide an enormous relief for both the patient and their families. When possible, staying at home many times is the better alternative for a patient’s physical and mental health and happiness, and home care is an outstanding choice.
I often speak to family members about the difficult choice of homecare vs. an assisted living facility. This is often a very personal and difficult issue to address. Every caregiver taking care of a loved one must be very honest with themself, and possibly seek assistance when evaluating the needs required to take care of their love one. There are many trade-offs in the services provided at each type of facility to be considered.
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Being cognizant of the fact that there are compromises to make will be helpful when facing such decisions. Only you and your loved one can decide what choices may be acceptable.
Acknowledging that the needs of your loved one may be exceeding the capabilities of you and your family is paramount. The decision is difficult but must be addressed.
Speak with friends and family about your thoughts and emotions to gain guidance, support, understanding and solace.
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. For more information, go to http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns or call 970-328-5526.