The American Dream for Seniors

By Patti Yancey, RN, CMC

The American Dream, what is it for seniors? If you ask them, most seniors would say, their dream would be to stay healthy, enjoy their friends, families, hobbies, and remain at home for the duration of their lives. While that is not always possible, in most cases with the proper planning and assistance, it is more affordable and obtainable than most people realize. If you consider the cost of assisted living, maintaining the home left behind until it sells, and the emotional toll this type of move takes on the elderly, private in home care may be the best option!

A 2006 Purdue study by Laura P. Sands, suggests, “If a homemaker or personal assistant helps frail elders for a few hours a day, they would be less likely to experience medical conditions such as hunger, dehydration, falls and skin problems that occur when disabled older adults do not receive help with daily tasks.” This same study indicates that “decreasing healthcare costs for the elderly may be as simple as providing them with a little household help each day.” It goes further to say during the study they found that the group who received the daily personal assistant, after six weeks, had significantly less hospitalizations, shorter stays when they were hospitalized and fewer visits to their physicians.

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Frail elderly patients that have been put on personal care for palliative services in their homes after terminal or serious chronic diagnosis were asked to fill out the Missoula-VITAS Quality of Life Index. (version 25-R) at the start of care and after a 6 week period. It is amazing to see the transformation in all areas, global, symptom, function, interpersonal, well-being, and transcendent, when they get assistance with the “little” things in their lives, they have a better sense of control and wellbeing. The feeling of being “overwhelmed” may cause depression and behavioral issues. This helps the clinicians assess how the “patient” really feels at their core relating to their own well-being. Not what someone is assessing or thinks about how they feel. This better directs the care specific to the patients’ personal needs.

Healthcare in America is in a transition, as evidenced by the current news and government shutdown. Home health care has several delivery models. Medicare funded home health and hospice organizations operate with a highly standardized model. They send professionals to your home to provide skilled care, teaching and oversight visits. Unfortunately, custodial, hourly personal assistance and care are not covered in these programs; and this is where the greatest needs are. Essentially, funding sources dictate the scope and type of services available in your home.

Privately paid in home care is highly customized and based on the clients preferred schedules and needs. The best reason for doing business with an agency, verses hiring someone on your own, is the immediate availability of a wide selection of qualified caregivers. CareTime is the only local company that operates a state of the art training facility for nursing assistant / home health aides. We can provide well trained and personable caregivers to those needing in home care.

Consider CareTime “Elder Care Management Services.” We are here to help you navigate the complex and time-consuming world of senior living. We know that providing care for your loved ones can be confusing and emotionally draining, and we’re here to help. As a certified RN Case Manager, NACCM, with 25 years of local home health experience, I can provide guidance and care coordination that will ensure your loved one receives the “right care at the right time.”

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