Watching a loved one age is never easy. You may feel helpless as their health declines and they lose the ability to take care of themselves. Not many people are able to monetarily or medically care for their aging loved one, which means alternative healthcare methods are needed. Here is a comprehensive guide to choosing the best healthcare for your aging relative and not feeling guilty about it.
The first thing you need to do to ensure your loved one receives the care they need is to be realistic about their situation. Finances are one thing to consider. Does your relative have adequate health insurance to cover their medical expenses? This may require some research on your part. Find out if they have Medicare or any supplemental plans. You’ll also need to know the cost of their care and if it involves rehab, physical therapy, or other treatment plans. You may be thinking about caring for your loved one yourself, but is that realistic? Do you have space in your own home? Would it require you to renovate, hire an in-home healthcare aid or quit your job? Be sure to exhaust all resources and consider all possibilities before committing to this option. Read more about home health care here.
Whether or not you live in the same state or even city as your loved one, you’ll want to consider the location of whatever healthcare facility you choose. If you do live in close proximity to your relative, perhaps choose a facility that is near your work or home. Your loved one will want to see you as often as possible and when you choose a facility that is close by, it makes visiting easier and more convenient. You’ll also want to regularly visit to make sure that your loved one’s living conditions are up to your standards. Scan their room and their attendant to make sure both are clean and well maintained. Take note of how the staff interacts with them and you. Are they compassionate and attentive? Are both the nurses and doctors approachable and willing to discuss your relative’s care without question or apprehension? All of these factors are important when choosing the right healthcare facility for your love one.
Determine the Level of Care They Need
While you may find a gorgeous facility that you love, looks aren’t everything. You need to determine if the facility or health care service you choose offers your loved one the type of care they need. Some elderly individuals may be unstable on their feet and need monitoring so they don’t fall and injure themselves. Other senior citizens may require more extensive, hands-on care like help with showering, getting dressed, and eating. If your loved one is recovering from an injury or dealing with an illness that affects their mobility, they may need physical therapy or rehabilitation. Not all facilities or services offer this. The level of care your relative needs will help determine the type of facility you choose or service you hire.
Ask for Help
The responsibility of taking care of an aging loved one shouldn’t fall solely on any one person. If you have other family members, friends, relatives, or neighbors in close proximity, don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is especially useful if you don’t live near your aging loved one. A neighbor or friend can give you important information regarding the person’s condition. After all, they see them often and would be the first to notice if something wasn’t right or their health was failing. You may need help getting your loved one to and from doctor’s appointments or physical therapy, if an outpatient program is best for them. Many small towns and cities offer shuttle services for senior citizens that will bring them to and from their doctor’s offices. If you have siblings or cousins, ask for their assistance in making phone calls and arrangements.
Understand the Extent of Their Condition
Sadly, many different complications and medical conditions can affect senior citizens and their ability to care for themselves. Gathering knowledge about your loved ones condition and the extent of their limitations is an important step in finding the right treatment and care plan. Here are a few common medical conditions individuals over the age of 65 experience and may require extensive care.
Dementia is one of the primary conditions that cause elderly individuals to need additional help or care. When someone suffers from dementia, they experience memory loss and disorientation. Dementia patients become very forgetful and have difficulty completing daily tasks, since this disease interferes with cognitive function. Dementia is a progressive disease that gets worse with time. If your loved one is suffering from dementia symptoms, it may no longer be safe for them to live alone.
As you age, your heart, blood vessels, and arteries stiffen. This can cause a long list of complications including high blood pressure, AFIB (atrial fibrillation), and risk of heart attack. While heart disease alone isn’t always a cause for concern, it can make it difficult for individuals to continue living in the same manner they once did. Tiring easily, experiencing shortness of breath, and chest pains are all symptoms associated with heart disease.
Arthritis itself isn’t life threatening, however it can drastically limit a person’s ability to move around. Arthritis affects the joints and tissue surrounding the joints and is caused by inflammation. Severe arthritis can cause damage to both the bones and cartilage. The most common problem areas include the hands, feet, knees, ankles, wrists, and elbows. If your loved one has advanced stages of arthritis, they may experience trouble walking or using their hands. They’re also at greater risk for falling and causing serious injury.
Listen to Their Concerns
While you’re trying to find the right care plan or facility for your elderly relative, it’s important to listen to their concerns and wishes. You may not be able to do everything your loved one requests, but simply showing respect for their feelings and acknowledging their wishes will make the entire planning process easier. This will help you loved one avoid feelings of resentment, resistance, and helplessness. Start by asking what they want from the situation and then explain why this may or may not be possible.
It’s never easy watching a loved one grow older. They often lose mobility and capability based on their age, condition, and overall health. But providing your relative with the proper care they need can work wonders. Remember to do your research, be open minded, and explore all of your options.
Article Submitted By Community Writer