The phrase “aging in place” is growing in popularity as seniors and their family members understand the importance of comfort at home in all stages of life.
No matter the age, people want to maintain an independent lifestyle. This desire for independence starts at a young age when children learn to tie their shoes or do things for themselves around the house.
This desire continues into adulthood, and independence becomes even more important for seniors when they start to see changes in their lives. Often, seniors feel like there are only certain aspects they can control, and independence helps them maintain a sense of self-worth and achievement.
Many people can maintain an independent lifestyle for years after retirement. They are able to keep up with tasks around the house, personal grooming, and other daily responsibilities.
But, eventually, physical and cognitive functions decline. When these mental or functional limitations start showing up, a little assistance in the home can help the person maintain as much independence as possible.
Support in the Home
Home health care services are designed to help seniors stay at home as long as possible. Independence isn’t unachievable – instead, the perfect amount of assistance can be provided in a personalized home care plan.
Often, in-home services include a range of solutions to care for the person’s medical needs (home health care) and take care of personal needs (home care) like light housekeeping, grooming, bathing, and more.
The goal is for caregivers to interact with the senior, offering support without overstepping into tasks that the senior can take care of on their own. Our team at Avatar Healthcare helps you find the perfect balance between in-home support and personal independence.
What Does Independence Mean for Older Adults?
The definition of independence varies, depending on the person. Home health care services consider unique needs and preferences when helping people design an in-home plan.
For more patients, independence means that they have the opportunity to make decisions about where they live, their daily schedules, and how their finances are managed. They want the freedom to take care of their needs and desires to the best of their abilities.
Home health services fill in the gaps when the person can no longer manage some of these crucial tasks.
How Independence Affects Emotional and Physical Health
When a person’s independence starts to decline due to health conditions, it can take a toll on their mental health. Usually, this process begins with physical limitations, which creates a domino effect in other areas of life.
For example, if a person has mobility problems or a heart condition, there is a higher risk of depression. Over time, frailty sets in, affecting the person’s cognitive decline and increasing physical disabilities.
A loss of independence can be frustrating, sometimes resulting in feelings of hopelessness or overwhelm. Keeping the person actively engaged as much as possible can slow the progression of physical or memory issues.
What to Expect: Home Health Care Services for Seniors
Some seniors can manage personal care tasks, such as bathing and dressing, but they need a little more assistance with healthcare-related tasks.
For example, the person might be able to wash the dishes and brush their teeth. But early-stage dementia might make it challenging to remember to take their medications.
Also, chronic illnesses can take a toll on a person’s independence. When home health care services help manage these life-limiting diseases, it helps the person regain independence once again.
Attentive medical care in the home includes support from doctors, nurses, therapists, and other professionals. In addition, as the patient’s symptoms are managed through treatments and care, the person will be able to take care of other responsibilities around the house.
Modifications and Lifestyle Adjustments to Support Aging in Place
While many adults prefer to stay at home instead of moving to another assisted living community, their current homes aren’t suitable for the changing dynamics with age. A home care team can offer the support and accommodations that are necessary for maintaining health and safety in the home.
Independence means that the individual can move around the home to all necessary rooms, including the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. If the person has limited mobility, then a home health provider can assist with the necessities.
For example, home health care might be scheduled for a few hours in the morning. First, a nurse can assist with medical-related tasks, such as wound care and medication management. Then, other home care providers can help with grooming, bathing, and meals.
Between these activities, the patient is able to maintain the maximum amount of independence in other details of their lives.
Shifting Needs as a Person’s Health Condition Changes
When families bring in-home health services or home care support, the goal is to start with the minimum-necessary services in the beginning. Then, these services gradually adjust as the person’s health declines.
One typical example is related to memory care. In the beginning, the person might be forgetful and need help with medication management and dosage reminders. A home health provider can occasionally come to create a system and plan, coordinating with other caregivers who are involved.
Independence is always the priority whenever possible. When medications are managing any physical or mental health condition, the person can maintain their highest level of function and independence.
As the memory issues progress, then the patient can start to lose their function over time—the more function declines, the more support the person requires.
But proper medical support and home health services can slow the progression of the disease. As a result, the person is able to maintain independence for a longer period of time.
Home Health Care to Support Independence
At Avatar Healthcare, our goal is to provide the optimal level of home health care services to meet your unique needs. We empower patients and their families to make decisions relating to daily activities, medical care, socialization, and more.
You choose how you want to lead your life, and our team helps by designing a plan that fits around this preferred lifestyle. We always encourage the patient and their families to take a proactive approach in creating the perfect home health and home services plans.
Safety and health are essential. Our team is well-trained and ready to help with full-service home health services as needed.
In addition to home health, other specialties include hospice and personal home care services. For more information, reach out to us at Avatar Healthcare to schedule a consultation. Call today: (844) 422-5528.