The Meaning of Senior Home Care and Independence
The use of senior home care can make the home a haven and place of independence for the elderly. It is a special place of peace and comfort. We know what to expect and when. Household routines are habits, as dependable as the rising sun. We know what’s in the cupboard or fridge and when errands need to be done. The things we know about home begin at an early age, extending throughout our lives.
Being at home can also mean a sense of freedom. Able to do what we want. Well, perhaps not all of the time! It’s easy to take that homey freedom and independence for granted. Especially with age. Ask any senior you know. Life and health circumstances change with each passing decade. Then with each passing year.
Continued independent living in one’s home can become a challenge for elders, or anyone with a chronic or extended illness. As such, seniors and others need assistance to maintain health, safety, and dignity. Right now, you or your senior loved one may need assistance to remain at home. You are not alone. As the number of seniors needing home care support increases, similarly, Ontario’s home care community is responding to fill the need. However, more needs to be done.
The Growing Need for Home Care in Ontario
The Canadian Home Care Association reports that over the last fifteen years the number of citizens receiving publicly funded home care services has doubled to one million. It is estimated another half million people pay privately for home care. As national health and wellness philosophy and care shifts, it is anticipated that more care will occur in homes and communities.
Ontario, as many other parts of the world, is experiencing an increase in the senior citizen population. The number of Ontario elders is projected to almost double by 2041.
Equals approximately 100,000 Senior Home Care Clients
Services Provided by Public Funds
Services Provided by Private Funds for Estimated Number of Clients
Home Care Benefits
The Canadian Home Care Association defines home care as “an array of services provided in the home and community setting.” These range from health promotion programs, such as balance and falls prevention training, to end-of-life care. Research about the effects of senior home care services are gradually emerging in Canada and the U.S. Although some results are mixed, a 2016 report from the Home Care Association of America offers the following:
1) Fewer hospital admissions of elders with dementia who participate in home care.
2) 25% fewer doctor visits by those receiving home care services.
3) Reduction in workplace absence by working caregivers.
4) Reduced health and stress-related problems and costs for family caregivers.
5) Home care is an expanding and “vital part of the healthcare continuum.”
Typical Elder Home Care Services Ontario
Senior home care services include an array of options based on need and choice. General care selections with examples in each category include:
a) Personal care includes assistance with bathing, toileting, mobility, dressing, eating, and keeping appointments.
b) Home care provisions include house cleaning, laundry, meal planning/preparation, and managing finances.
c) Professional caregivers provide companionship and social stimulation as they go about their activities. This is a plus for elders who can suffer from isolation.
Planning for Seniors
Making a plan to keep senior parents at home is emotional and time-consuming. You may live at a distance or need to decide if your parents will remain in their home or move to yours. Assessing what your parents need now and in the near future includes anticipating health changes and overall decline.
At the same time, you wonder about service fees and overall costs. In Ontario, you can reach your Local Health Integration Network at this home and community care link. It provides information to determine home care assistance eligibility and how to arrange for services. In addition, Canada has a national action plan for home care that you can access here
Signs that it is Time for Home Care
Consider when to begin home care services. Some signs it is time are:
A change in health status requiring help with personal care and household tasks. These occur because of:
a) Surgery or rehabilitation.
b) Declining health, including chronic or terminal illness, and changes in hearing and vision.
c) A complicated medication regime.
Limited ability to do activities of daily living, observed when there is:
a) A decline in the ability to move around, including recent falls.
b) An increase in hygiene concerns.
c) Need for help with food preparation and household chores.