The Benefits Of Senior Care

The Benefits Of Senior Care

The Benefits Of Senior Care

Seniors who want to stay in their homes but cannot care for themselves usually have family members or paid home health or personal care aides to help them. But, because the visitors are not there around the clock, seniors find themselves in a predicament when they experience a crisis situation, like a fall or becoming seriously ill.

As a result, one option older adults are exploring is live-in care, where a full-time professional caregiver lives in the home with them. In this way, seniors have someone with them during the day and night.

With adults over 65 making up nearly 17 percent of the population, the demand for in-home care services is increasing. The older adult population grew nearly five times faster than the total population over the 100 years from 1920 to 2020, according to the 2020 Census.

“Home care is the largest entity within senior care,” Eleonora Tornatore-Mikesh, chief experience and memory care officer at Inspīr, a new senior living community in Manhattan, told U.S. News & World Report. “About 70 percent of seniors are cared for in the home-care sector.”

Whether seniors should hire an hourly home care aide or a live-in caregiver will depend on their situations, Tornatore-Mikesh said.

Live-in care is ideal for seniors who need around-the-clock assistance because their health conditions prevent them from taking care of themselves and performing routine housekeeping duties.

Arrangements for live-in caregivers are usually made in two ways:

    1. Live-in caregivers live full-time in the home of the person they care for.
    Caregivers have their own room and are allotted periods of rest, sleep, and mealtimes.

    2. Live-in caregivers live in their own homes. In this situation, two or more live-in caregivers will rotate the nights they work so that each caregiver spends one or more nights in their client’s home.

Live-in caregivers carry out a wide range of tasks, such as helping clients with:

    • Bathing, dressing, grooming, and feeding
    • Toileting and incontinence care
    • Preparing meals
    • Cleaning kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms
    • Doing laundry
    • Shopping
    • Light dusting, vacuuming, sweeping
    • Accompanying clients with medical appointments and recreational activities
    • Running errands

When it comes to live-in care, seniors need to feel comfortable about having “strangers” in their homes, according to Dr. Susann Varano, a geriatrician at Maplewood Senior Living, a Westport, Connecticut–based senior living residence company. “You have to consider whether you’re comfortable having someone in your house 24 hours a day,” Varano told U.S. News & World Report. “A lot of people say, ‘No, I’m afraid they’re going to hurt me or steal from me.’ There’s a tremendous amount of emotions and feelings that go into” allowing a stranger into your home.

This is why top live-in care providers have a rigorous screening process to ensure the caregiver is the right fit for the client. These companies also have a 24/7 support system in place for both the caregivers and the client.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring a Live-In Caregiver

Live-in care is appealing to people who want to stay in their homes for as long as possible. Without help with daily living activities, many seniors face having to relocate to an assisted living facility or a nursing home.

In addition to helping older adults age in place, live-in caregivers:

    • Provide consistency for their clients who may feel uncomfortable having different hourly home care aides come to their home each week. Seniors may not get a chance to establish a relationship if there are different aides working in shifts every week.

    • Provide seniors with one-on-one attention, something that is difficult to get in a senior living facility where staff must take care of multiple residents during their shifts.

    • Become acquainted with their client’s family members. In some cases, live-in caregivers are treated as part of the family. This leads to a better relationship between the senior and the caregiver.

For every positive aspect of live-in care, there are some disadvantages, such as:

    • Potential caregiver burnout. A live-in caregiver can potentially experience burnout and stress. For example, a senior in declining health may need more around-the-clock support than one live-in caregiver can give. Situations can become even more stressful if the client has dementia and begins to wander, particularly at night. Varano recalled one case in which the caregiver went to the bathroom, “and in that couple minutes, the patient went out of the house.” No caregiver can watch a client 100 percent of the time, but Verano said live-in caregivers receive additional training that can help decrease the risk of potential problems.

    • Social isolation. Seniors who live in their homes may be unable to get out and socialize due to their health, limited transportation, or other reasons. Regular social interaction is beneficial to seniors’ overall health and wellness, according to Varano. Live-in caregivers provide companionship, but it is not the same for seniors as socializing with their peers. “It’s not in the caregiver’s job description to take you to the movies or socialize with you,” Varano said. “They’re there to do whatever they’re there to do. For some people, that’s perfect because they don’t want to go out in groups and crowds.” But for those who like to be with others, a lack of socialization can lead to depression and loneliness in some seniors.

    • Depending on the arrangement and the care needs of clients, professional live-in care can become costly over time. Costs vary widely, from $15 to $25 or more per hour or $150 to $300 daily.

    • Medicare does not cover in-home care costs. But it will pay for a maximum of 100 days per benefit period of care in a nursing home if it’s been ordered by a doctor. Medicare also covers skilled nursing services from a registered nurse, professional therapy from a physical or occupational therapist, and care provided by a home care aide.

In-Home Safety Tips

Seniors considering live-in care are advised to review the different in-home care options and compare costs from different service providers. In the meantime, the National Institutes of Health offers tips for seniors who want to age in place:

Remain socially active by connecting with local senior centers, attending social functions, and engaging in new activities. Social connections can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Look for senior escort programs in your area. Trained volunteers can accompany seniors to their doctor’s office and help them run errands.

Consider an emergency alert system. The portable system allows seniors to call for help when they experience some type of emergency.

Consider modifications that make your home easier and safer. Install safety features such as grab bars in the tub and shower and near the toilet, a ramp with handrails to the front door, and easier-to-operate doorknobs. Remove area rugs to avoid tripping over them and falling.

For help finding out what resources and support are available nearby, contact your local Area Agency on Aging.

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