For many families with aging family members, the goal of in-home elder care is to avoid the need for long-term nursing home admission. By caring for a family elder in-home, or the home of an extended family member, the elder doesn’t have to feel like they are being abandoned or neglected in a alien nursing home. Studies have repeatedly shown that the elderly are healthier and happier when they are cared for in the comfort and privacy of their own homes.
Given the choice, most elderly would prefer to continue living in their own homes. Unfortunately, the need for considering the option of in-home elder care is often the a result of a series of unexpected mishaps and warning signs that indicate a need for some form of additional supportive elder care.
For elder home care to succeed, it’s important that to plan how the in-home medical and supportive care giving needs of the elder will be met. After a determination by family and medical professionals, has been made that in-home elder care is advisable, it is important to discuss the elder’s health care needs with family members. Determining the best type, or level of elder care is required involves evaluating home safety , the availability of local in-home care services, management of medical, legal, financial issues, and the liklihood of crisis intervention. Ultimately, a decision regarding who will be responsible for routine money management, including health insurance benefits will be required.
It is important that family members and other trusted people, understand the legal authority and directions that are set forth in legal documents which include living wills, organ donation and similar end-of-life decsisions. The elder’s medical history, financial resources, personality, relationships with potential caregivers, proximity to services and other factors are all important factors that will ultimately determine the best approach to take. One concern that frequently goes without the attention it deserves is how the elder’s home maintenance needs will be handled to keep the home in good condition. Of course, these decisions should never be made without the consent and complete participation and disclosure to the elder.
If an elder’s home care needs cannot be met with in-home elder care services, an investigation into what alternative elder care services are available is in order. Perhaps in-home nursing is most appropriate. On the ther hand, if they are able to remain in their own home and take care of themselves properly some considerations should be given to the kind of supportive elder care services are needed. Other choices includes that availability and preference for assisted living compared to life in a nursing home, any difficulties posed by the elder’s physical and mental health, and the best way to access community elder care resources.
Planning for long-term in-home elder care services is a difficult challenge, especially since it effects the life of someone we love dearly. Once the decision is made, however, everyone concerned will need to take time to determine how the decision will impact their own lives.