For most older adults, keeping their independence and autonomy is a primary concern, especially in the face of an illness or injury.
The decision to bring in a home health aide can be a difficult one, but it can help keep seniors healthy and active in the comfort and safety of their own home.
What a Home Health Aide Can Do
Home health workers perform a broad range of services, from help with medications and doctor's appointments to light housekeeping and personal grooming.
The level of service provided is based on specific needs—everything from help with household chores and personal tasks, to simply bringing peace of mind for families and loved ones.
As more and more people reach retirement age and generally live longer than in previous generations, the need for home healthcare help will continue to grow. There is no "right" age or circumstance under which to hire a home health aide.
Some people may choose to enlist help temporarily for a designated period of time, such as after surgery or after a car accident or after the loss of driving privileges.
Common Home Health Aide Duties
Some common home health aide duties include:
- Help with personal care, grooming, and bathing
- Medication and prescription reminders
- Help with home exercise programs
- Meal preparation
- Accompaniment to appointments
- Grocery shopping and errands
- Respite care
- Light housekeeping and laundry
In some cases, a senior's need for help is obvious, but, in many cases, symptoms or life circumstances change slowly over time.
You may notice that your parent or other older adult is no longer keeping up with basic household chores or social activities, or there are piles of unopened and unpaid bills overlooked.
Perhaps they are having trouble remembering everyday tasks or dates or are losing weight and exhibiting changes to their normal diet.
When to Hire a Home Health Aide: 5 Signs to Watch
If you or someone you know are having difficulty maintaining a regular schedule, getting to and from medical appointments, regular errands, and social activities, or just need general help around the home, a home health aide may fit the bill.
If you are not sure if a home health aide is necessary, these are five of the most common scenarios in which a home health aide can help.
1. After an Injury or Diagnosis
Older adults are more susceptible to injuries and age-related health problems such as arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, balance and memory issues. Falls are also a common risk for seniors.
Recovering from an injury or healing from surgery is one of the most common reasons to enlist the help of a home care worker or skilled nursing services, especially if mobility is restricted.
From picking up prescriptions and medications to assistance with follow up appointments and physical therapy, temporary or permanent physical limitations are a good reason to have help in the home.
2. Memory Problems
Even minor memory problems and mild dementia can affect a senior's quality of life and interfere with their ability to fully manage their household.
While forgetting a name or someone’s birthday can be distressing, issues like forgetting to take medication or turning off the stove or oven after cooking can put their health and safety at risk.
Memory problems and changes in personality can also manifest themselves in subtle changes to appearance and grooming habits.
3. No Longer Able to Drive
Whether as the result of vision problems, loss of coordination, or a sudden uptick in accidents or traffic infractions, losing the ability to drive can drastically limit a senior's independence, increasing the risk of social isolation, depression, diminished quality of life and other health problems.
Even if your loved one is otherwise healthy and capable of taking care of their day-to-day needs, a home health aide can accompany them when using transportation to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.
4. Signs of Depression or Social Isolation
Perhaps an older adult close to you is still relatively healthy and strong, but you've noticed they don't call or leave the home as much as before.
Loss of interest in personal relationships and hobbies may be a sign of depression, which can lead to other health complications for seniors.
In addition to practical help around the home, health aides can also provide and help to keep them engaged with their communities and decrease the risk of social isolation and depression.
5. Need Help With Housekeeping
General help around the home is one of the most common reasons seniors and their families choose to enlist the help of a home healthcare worker.
From cooking and shopping for groceries to helping to keep the house clean and uncluttered, a home health care worker can be essential in keeping seniors living in their homes as long as possible.
How You Can Help
A home health aide can serve as a bridge between a senior and their healthcare providers and allow them to remain at home longer.
Caring for an aging loved one can be stressful, but there are many resources to help.
For more information, contact SALMON Private Care Options by calling 508-422-1801 today.