Home is where the heart is, and it is also where most people would like to remain as they age.
When health concerns make it difficult for people to care for themselves, it is often family members who step in as caregivers to ensure they are able to stay at home. Elderly Americans often rely on family and friends to provide much-needed care, with more than 43 million people caring for an elderly family member in 2011.
Taking care of an aging family member can be a daunting and often overwhelming task. However, family caregivers do not have to shoulder this burden alone. Here are some resources to consider to help keep your loved one at home:
Even if one family member is the primary caregiver, it is important for the whole family to work together to create a caregiving plan. Family members can provide a support network to help with finances, doctor visits, picking up groceries and giving each other a break. Involve your elderly loved one in the planning, if possible, so they can talk about their wishes for their long-term care.
Adult day centers
Adult day services are designed to assist elderly individuals with physical or cognitive impairments. At these facilities, people can socialize with others, participate in various activities and enjoy healthy meals. The friendly environment can become a familiar place for them and ease feelings of loneliness as they make new friends. The day centers can improve daily skills that help keep seniors at home and out of a long-term care facility.
“An adult day center is an invaluable resource for family caregivers who want to keep their loved ones at home,” says Julie Smith, activities director at Aspen Senior Day Center. “Seniors need memory care to participate in a wide variety of activities which strengthen their social, verbal and physical abilities. At the same time, family caregivers can relax knowing their loved one is well-cared for and safe.”
Whether elderly individuals are living on their own or with family members, in-home services may be helpful for people who need extra assistance. In-home care can span a variety of services, from companionship and personal care to physical therapy and health services. Sometimes, all a person needs to stay in their home is a little extra help with hygiene and household duties.
Whether you need occasional rides to get groceries or regular pickups for doctors’ appointments, there may be transportation services to help bridge the gap. Options range from personal care agencies and volunteer organizations to paratransit services that can help your loved one get where they need to go. Help with transportation allows people to stay connected with their community and also gives caregivers a helping hand when they can’t give rides themselves.
Getting elderly family members proper nutrition can be difficult, especially when they have health conditions that affect their willingness to eat or what they are able to eat. A meal service such as Meals on Wheels can ease a caregiver’s burden and provide adequate nutrition. If your family member lives alone, a meal service can minimize the obstacles that stand in the way of them getting enough to eat, like shopping for and preparing food.
Family caregivers answer the call to give their loved one a familiar, loving home as they age. They often make sacrifices to care for aging parents, spouses, or even siblings, but they do not have to carry the load on their own. Consider these resources if you need assistance taking care of your aging family member at home.