There are more than 65 million adult caregivers in the United States. This already demanding role can become immense and overwhelming, however, as the physical needs of loved ones’ change and increase. For seniors who have chosen to age at home, there are many caregiving options available with significant benefits for both the senior and his or her loved one who is providing the majority of care. One solution, hiring in-home healthcare, can help with some of the major issues aging seniors face while living at home, including:
1. Loneliness and isolation
According to Mental Health America, of the estimated 34 million adults over 65 years old in the U.S., around 2 million of them experience some form of depression. Fewer than 10 percent of these seniors receive treatment. Loneliness and isolation are the most common causes of depression; it’s often difficult for elderly individuals to keep close personal contacts as they age and live at home, making them feel even more isolated. Companionship can be a great benefit of in-home healthcare, as the social interaction that the caregiver provides can fulfill a real need for the senior.
2. Loss of driving privileges
At some point, older drivers need to turn over their keys for safety reasons. Dr. Emmy Betz, with the University of Colorado School of Medicine, says that fatal crash rates are higher for older drivers, mainly because they don’t heal as quickly or well after a crash. Discontinuing driving can limit seniors’ ability to go grocery shopping, visit friends and generally accomplish everyday tasks. Not having the ability to drive can also contribute to feelings of isolation or depression. An in-home caregiver can provide transportation and accompany seniors to meetings, social events, medical appointments and so much more.
3. Senior malnutrition
According to Ainsley Malone, a nutrition-support dietitian at Mount Carmel West hospital, “malnutrition is a serious, prevalent, growing problem for many older adults in our nation.” Almost one-third of older adults don’t get enough vitamins and minerals in their diets. Many seniors lack transportation to a grocery store or the ability to cook a hot meal. An in-home caregiver can help with nutritional needs by paying attention to their patient’s eating habits, noticing if he or she is losing weight or missing medication doses, and helping to cook meals and assisting with the food shopping.
In-Home Healthcare Options
According to Medicare.gov, home healthcare includes a range of healthcare services that can be given in your home for an illness or injury. The goal is to help you get better, regain your independence and become as self-sufficient as possible. Doctors or healthcare providers should be able to provide a list of local agencies to contact for more information.
For those interested in in-home healthcare in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut), Dignity Home Care, a division of Sunrise Senior Living, delivers private duty home care services provided by licensed and professional caregivers.
Among the services a company such as Dignity Home Care provides are bathing, personal grooming assistance, transfer/ambulation, escort to appointments, meal preparation and medication management. Organizations such as Dignity Home Care are available throughout the country, and can serve as a relief to caregivers who are looking for assistance with the day-to-day needs of their loved one.