When you are living with any of your elder family members or relatives, you try to comfort them and help them as much as you can. Aging is a gift of God, however physiological changes during aging can limit a person’s activities. These physiological changes occur in all our body parts such as; a decreased cardiac output, increase of blood pressure, a decrease in lean body mass, weakness of bones or osteoporosis, and muscular atrophy. Progressive changes in joints, muscular atrophy inhibits the movements in elderly people (1). The advancement in the medical field has increased the rate of life expectancy therefore, the number of elderly people has largely been increased over the years (2). This increase in life expectancy has led to a significant prevalence of chronic disorders, limited mobility, disability, and restricted activities of daily life. In such circumstances, the elderly adults are unable to take care of them, and they become dependent on other family members to look after them, change their clothes, take a bath, cook some meal for them, and take their medication on time, etc.
Due to busy lifestyles, jobs, education, etc., the family members may not provide sufficient care to their elders. In the case of chronic diseases or injury in elder ones, there can be a medical emergency at any time therefore, the elder people need medical supervision. Due to limited staff and space at hospitals, caregivers can’t keep chronic patients for a long time in hospitals. Also due to a shortage of skilled medical caregivers and nurses, it is not possible to hire them for full-time medical care (3). But the patient needs care and safety as they get in hospitals. So, there is a need for a person who can provide home health care services to our elder ones.
Home health care services are provided by home health care nurses. It is different from just a visiting nurse. It involves long term home care of clients having any disability or chronic disorder. The research has shown that home care reduces healthcare costs, improves the quality of life of patients, and decreases the long-term stays in the hospitals (4). Home health care ensures that the elder ones are under the supervision of a professional caregiver. It provides satisfaction to other family members who are not at home or busy in their schools or meetings that their elders are given proper care. Being at home and receiving medical care provides comfort to elder people that they don’t need to go to any other facility to receive care. Home care services can provide many benefits that bring a positive change in our lives.
Provides professional care
Home care nurses are specialized in providing care in different medical conditions. They are professional nurses who have expertise in developing care plans, assessment of client’s needs, and emergency preparedness. When we hire a home care nurse from an agency we expect the caregiving services far beyond the nursing. These home care nurses provide care in basic daily tasks and provide ongoing support to your elder ones with their changing medical or physical conditions. This provides a mental relaxation that professional caregivers are providing the necessary care to your loved ones which are required to keep them happy and healthy (5).
Improve the quality of life
Home care services improve the quality of life. The client feels safe and comfortable on their own instead of moving to another facility. It is very important for their physical and emotional well-being. Elders should be provided care at home rather than leaving them in old homes with strangers which can be very stressful for them. They feel well and happy being at their own home surrounded by their family members and enjoying their normal life which improves their quality of life.
Help them in taking proper diet
The elder people suffering from chronic diseases may not eat all types of food due to problems in chewing, or digesting, etc. They may suffer from malnutrition which can worsen their health issues (5). Home care nurses can help provide necessary nutrition to your elder ones. With the help of a dietician in their agency, they can plan a healthy diet for their client including meals that can meet their dietary requirements and ensure their health. Home care agencies can also prepare meals for your loved ones on daily basis.
Provide help in medication
Elders may be prescribed multiple medications due to chronic diseases as they age. Every medication has a different dose, frequency, and time of taking. Any medication error can lead to side effects and health concerns (6). A home care nurse can take care of their medication. A licensed professional caregiver can give them medication properly and guide them on why the medication is important for them.
Provide help in daily activities
Elders may not need medical help but they need help in daily life activities such as; bathing, changing clothes, cleaning, etc. As in old age, there is poor coordination of body movements which may cause falls or any injury (7). Home care nurse can help them by assisting them in their day to day activities. This will give the clients a feeling of independence and preserves their dignity as well.
Provide companionship to your loved ones
In older age, there is an increased risk of depression due to different reasons such as; poor health, disability, and loneliness. In many cases lonely is the major reason for depression at this age (8). Seeing nobody around to take their care, talk with them, and show them some empathy they start to lose hope and it develops a feeling of despair in them. Such feelings may worsen their disease state. In such a case, you can hire a home care nurse for a whole day to bring a positive change in the life of your loved ones. They can bring hope to their life by giving them company, sharing their thoughts and emotions, give them motivation, and engage them in different activities like games, etc.
Provide them personalized care
Home health care service provides an opportunity to opt for personalized care for your loved ones. You can hire a caregiver which can exactly meet the requirements of care that your loved ones need (9). That home care nurse will be specialized in the required medical condition, physical or psychological disability, or any other personal need. This type of specialized care meeting all the requirements provides your client with a feeling of independence and confidence.
Ensuring the safety
Elderly individuals have poor coordination and cognitive abilities (10). They cannot drive or sometimes not even walk properly. Due to poor memory, they can even forget things like they may forget to turn off the stove or any electrical appliance. This may increase the risk of meeting an accident. Home care nurses can take care of their elders by always being with them. They can do the cooking for them or accompany them while they are doing something to prevent any risk. They can help them in going to the bathroom, moving around the house, or going out somewhere if they need to. Home care nurses can even drive their vehicles for them. This ensures the safety of your loved ones. As at this age, a slight injury may cause trouble and even fracture of their bone. The home caregiver will consider all these factors and will protect your elders from any such mishap.
Provide peace of mind to the family
Home care service is a blessing for the family who is worried about the safety and well-being of their elder ones. But don’t have sufficient time to look after them due to other responsibilities. By hiring a home care nurse the other family member can live in peace and focus on their work or education with the confidence that their loved ones are being cared for by professional caregivers and they are in safe hands. Our elder ones take our care when we are a child and now it’s time for us to provide the care and safety. In our busy lifestyle, it is the best option to hire a home care nurse for them when you are not around or busy. When you will come back home the home care nurse may discuss matters with you such as; their health condition, medication, diet, or any other matter. When the nurse caregiver leaves you can take the charge and give the company to your loved ones.
4. Barrett DL, Secic M, Borowske D. The Gatekeeper Program: proactive identification and case management of at-risk older adults prevents nursing home placement, saving healthcare dollars program evaluation. Home Healthcare Now. 2010;28(3):191-7.
5. Grammatikopoulou MG, Gkiouras K, Theodoridis X, Tsisimiri M, Markaki AG, Chourdakis M, et al. Food insecurity increases the risk of malnutrition among community-dwelling older adults. Maturitas. 2019;119:8-13.
6. Murphy C, Dyer AH, Lawlor B, Kennelly SP, Group NS. Potentially inappropriate medication use in older adults with mild-moderate Alzheimer’s disease: prevalence and associations with adverse events. Age and ageing. 2020;49(4):580-7.
8. Domènech-Abella J, Lara E, Rubio-Valera M, Olaya B, Moneta MV, Rico-Uribe LA, et al. Loneliness and depression in the elderly: the role of social network. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology. 2017;52(4):381-90.
9. Sims-Gould J, Tong CE, Wallis-Mayer L, Ashe MC. Reablement, reactivation, rehabilitation and restorative interventions with older adults in receipt of home care: a systematic review. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. 2017;18(8):653-63.
10. Wang J, Zhu WH, Li YF, Zhu WW. Temporal precedence of cognitive function and functional abilities: A latent difference score model of the Chinese community‐dwelling elders. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 2019;34(12):1892-9.