As the primary caregiver of an elderly spouse, parent, or grandparent who has dementia, the challenges you face are numerous, stressful, and exhausting. While every situation is different, handling the troubling behaviors and miscommunications that come with dementia, need to be met with patience, compassion, and flexibility. This can be hard to do when you are dealing with aggression, incontinence, constant wandering, agitation, and the overall forgetfulness to complete basic needs like bathing and eating. While it may have come across your mind to consider placing your loved one in assisted living, most elderly patients with dementia would prefer to live at home for as long as possible. This is where in-home care assistance can be of help and allow your loved one to stay at home, where it is familiar, for longer.
What Is In-Home Care for the Elderly?
In home care assistance, referred to as in-home care, is a non-medical service that allows your loved one to live at home for longer without the need for medical intervention. This type of care allows your loved ones to maintain some independence but aids with certain tasks that are impacted by their dementia, such as bathing, eating, cooking, cleaning the home, dressing, exercising, and shopping. Some in-home care assistance can provide companion services in addition to homemaker services, ensuring that your loved one also participates in recreational activities and social time.
Other services provided include laundry, limited medication handling, meal planning, and running errands.
Why Is In-Home Care So Important for Your Loved One?
The quality of life that your loved one experiences, is largely dependent on the quality of care they receive, according to a journal published in BMC Nursing. If an elderly patient with dementia receives outstanding care in-home, not only are they able to maintain a higher quality of life with independence, but they are able to stay in an environment that is familiar to them which can aid in memory recall.
How Do I Know When a Loved One Needs In-Home Care?
If your loved one is in the early stages of dementia, it can be very difficult to know when and if they need in-home care assistance. As older individuals age, they are unlikely to admit that they cannot perform daily tasks such as making full meals or taking medications. Here is what you should be looking for.
- Has your loved one missed a medical appointment recently? Or did you have to remind them ad nauseam to get them to go?
- Is your loved one’s home a constant mess without your help?
- Is your loved one getting into minor vehicle accidents when driving?
- Is your loved one falling a lot on stairs or when they try to walk from one destination to another?
- Can your loved one remember facts about where they live, what their age is, who they are, and what their kid’s names are? Is this recall consistent or faulty?
While it is common to forget your keys or your glasses occasionally, if any of the above become a regular occurrence, it may be time to consider in-home care.
Why Consider In-Home Care in Addition to the Care You Provide Yourself?
Generally, a family member or relative already acts as an in-home caregiver, but with that comes a lot of responsibility, stress, and isolation. For families that do not have a primary in-home caregiver, having a family member take up the mantle may not be realistic as your loved one may need more support than you can offer. Getting in-home care assistance from an outside company, brings in an educated individual who has an in-depth understanding of the condition, releases you from providing 24/7 support, and allows your loved one to maintain independence. Plus, they will be familiar with the stages of the disease, how it can manifest in your loved one, what the common problematic behaviors are, and have strategies to deal with them in a safe and caring matter.