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poor coordination
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broken bones
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When Life Changes: Senior Care Options
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When Life Changes: Senior Care Options

Some seniors have an advantage many of us are dreaming of.

Retired, living in a paid off home. They live by their own schedule, own rules. No longer having a boss to answer to, with a 9-5 routine. Waking at a variable time, relaxing and eating breakfast at a leisurely pace. Participating in activities of their choice. The day progresses with ease.

Some seniors wake up to changes. Changes that cannot be ignored. Changes that disrupt what their calm retired lifestyle represents. Changes that will take away some of their freedoms, and in many cases, dignity.

Aging brings health problems. Heart attack, chronic respiratory conditions, diabetes. The list goes on. Dementia and alzheimer's. Calcium deficiency coupled with poor coordination = falls and broken bones. Incontinence (inability to hold urine and/or feces), weakness, depression.. Any and all of these and many more issues can cause a senior to require help with basic tasks of daily living. A senior may need a helping hand for an hour or two, or someone to watch over them 24/7.

When an issue presents itself, the first thing to do is ascertain why it has occurred. A check up with the senior's health care provider is in order. A doctor or other professional can address medical issues first, which is key in knowing how to proceed. If the senior is a danger to themselves or others, (ie has a sudden change in mental status, has signs of a stroke or other weakness limiting their ability to care for themselves) it is absolutely necessary to obtain medical help immediately.

Dependent on the findings, small changes in routine may be required. Or a complete overhaul in the person's household may take effect.

If limited assistance is needed, usually a referral to a home health aide is sufficient. Many people in early stages of memory loss and weakness from strokes, heart attacks, etc...can remain living at home with help from a caregiver a few hours a day.

If more help is required, the senior and their family may have to consider alternate living arrangements. These can range from senior apartments, to assisted living facilities, short term rehabilitation, to skilled nursing homes. It all depends on the level of care needed.

Senior apartments usually have requirements of age 55 and up. The atmosphere and activities are geared toward elders, with maintenance provided.

Assisted living facilites provide 24/7 minimal care with basic tasks of daily living. Laundry, housekeeping, supervised activities and meals are provided.

Short term rehabilitation is for those who have an immediate need for recovery care. A stroke, broken hip, pneumonia resulting in weakness, diabetes causing an ulcer, etc...Long term care facilities generally provide this service. 24/7 nursing care along with physical, occupational and recreational therapy are the norm. Discharge to home is ideal; however, some people find the need for elder home care or a nursing home depending on the rehab.

The final choice, and the hardest, is a skilled nursing facility. The "dreaded" nursing home. These provide 24/7 skilled nursing care with nurses and aides. Minimal to total care is given with the basics of life (feeding, grooming, bathing, dressing, positioning, and mobility).

After you have determined what kind of senior care assistance your elder needs, you will probably have questions about finances, insurance, etc.. These can be addressed by contacting your medicare/medicaid provider, local senior center or department of social services. There are a variety of resources available.

When life changes for the senior, it doesn't have to be for the worse. With the proper knowledge, families and providers can enable seniors to live happy, meaningful lives despite any medical disabilities, or other shortcomings.


Street Talk

The “Quality of life” is typically defined as a person’s health and the ability to perform daily activities.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Good info as usual Amy

Reply
  about 9 years ago

What a thoughtful article, Amy4. It is clear that the geriatric population is your passion. Keep up the good work.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
  

Thanks so much Dr. Spacke! Yes, it is. I'll take an angry senior crowd over a young crowd anyday! I have ways of making them smile LOL! Years of practice in nursing :)

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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