Old age can be tricky. People are living longer, but their quality of life is not always the best. Many suffer from physical ailments and their mental faculties begin to dim with age. They often need emotional and physical support, but don’t have their families living close by to offer that help. So many go to nursing homes, where they depend on newly acquired friends or neighbours for help. Others who cannot afford to live in these homes end up being isolated.
As the average life expectancy keeps increasing, so do the options to make that increased longevity desirable. Many seniors and their families are not aware of the benefits of home support. Extra help can extend a seniors ability to stay at home, even extend their lives but more importantly it can give a better quality of life. Recent studies show that seniors are more prepared for dying than living many will have made wills but very few will have prepared to live independently as they age. Most seniors said they wanted to reside in their own homes as long as possible, but very few have researched ways to achieve that goal. Nearly half had made no modifications to their homes to ensure a safe environment, and just two per cent had enlisted outside help for support for such things as housekeeping, help with shopping, bathing, meal assistance, and other supports of day to day living. Among those not receiving home care already, a huge proportion had not spoken to their families about the possibility of getting assistance. Perhaps tellingly, 50 per cent of those seniors –and 45 per cent of those aged 75 to 85 –affirmed they had no intention of broaching the subject because they “won’t require assistance for a long time.”
The only explanation is that they’re fooling themselves. When you’re 75, two or three years can mean a world of difference in your health. Home support should be thought of as a preventive measure, but is more often required as a result of some calamity or accident. Think of the senior with a broken hip, 50% of these people never get back to their baseline before the injury. If instead there had been someone to carry that laundry basket downstairs perhaps their lives would not have changed so drastically. Dementia is another example where acting sooner rather than later gives better outcomes. If a client and caregiver have the chance to build a relationship before the disease has progressed too far, the worker is much more able to anticipate and understand the client’s needs and the client feels safer and more comfortable with a familiar face.
A person 83 years old today was born at the start of the great depression. Shared characteristics of many from this cohort include a very strong work ethic, an attitude that they need to be self-sufficient and the belief that they must always save for a rainy day. While these attributes are admirable they do tend to compound the problem of people waiting too long to get some help.
We at Home Instead Senior Care Waterford can help, call today for a free consultation with one of our nurses and see what a difference we can make to the quality of life of your loved senior.
051 333966 www.homeinstead.ie