Today’s topic revolves around aged care. We will be discussing how my aged care options like home care services, aged care homes and nursing care options have been helping individuals to age gracefully. And also, how home care services are becoming mainstream.
These aged care options have been helping individuals to deal with the difficulties that come with aging. However, let’s first deep dive into the paradigm of difficulties aging people face in order to better comprehend how aged care options are of better help.
Aging, Aged Care, and Difficulties surrounding it:
Aging is inevitable. The cells in our body are definitely not made to last forever. Aging is a very complex part of the human cycle. This biological process affects every individual regardless of their background, living conditions, or circumstances.
Aging encompasses a wide range of physical, psychological, and social changes that occur over time. From the very moment we are born, our bodies start to age.
- Biological Aging: This biological aging involves a gradual decline in various functions of our body for instance
- Bone density
- Organ function
The changes in physical aspects are influenced by genetics, lifestyle factors, and environmental influences.
- Psychological Aging: Apart from physical, there are various psychological factors contributing to aging too. Psychological aging involves shifting in aspects like
While the changes can vary from person to person, they are a normal part of aging. Also, the perception is aging varies across different cultures and societies. While some cultures place a strong emphasis on valuing and respecting aged people, some don’t bother much about it.
However, advances in medical science and healthcare have extended the average lifespan and have improved the quality of life. These advances have surely been helping individuals to age gracefully, with better health.
The social and economic implications are posing unique challenges and opportunities for the aging population. Where medical advances are providing various opportunities, there are various issues too such as elderly care, retirement planning, healthcare accessibility, etc.
Challenges Imposed by Aging:
Aging is accompanied by a variety of challenges as we discussed. These challenges vary from person to person too. For instance:
Challenges revolving around Physical Health:
- Chronic Health Condition: There are various aged people who experience chronic health conditions such as
- Heart disease
Managing these conditions can become very challenging for aged people and their families.
- Mobility Issues: With the aging process, muscle strength and bone density also decrease. This tends to lead to mobility issues with an increased risk of falls.
As humans, we develop various intellectual abilities that tend to peak around the age of thirty. And then it starts declining with the age too. These declines are age-related and result in overall slowness.
It can impose various challenges regarding
- Sustaining attention
- Information holding etc.
Mental Health Challenges:
- Anxiety and Depression: Even though depression is not a very normal part of aging, aged people are comparatively at more risk of it. Also, aged people experience comparatively and they typically have fewer resources too. Aged people tend to experience depression as a result of factors like:
- Loss and grief
- Changing health conditions
- Social isolation
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s: Even though they are not normal’ Dementia and Alzheimer’s are the most common conditions that occur with aging. These cognitive disorders can significantly impact the individual ability to remember which significantly affects their mental well-being.
Socially and Emotionally Imposed Challenges:
- Loneliness and Isolation: With aging, our social circle starts to shrink. This generally leads to feelings of loneliness and isolation. This can have several negative effects on the individual mental and physical health.
Also, coping with the loss of friends, family members, and spouses can also be very emotionally challenging.
- Elderly Abuse: The mistreatment and abuse of aged people can be done by anyone and people aged 60 or more are at more risk of it.
- Income security: There are many aged people that lives on fixed income which can be very challenging as the cost of living has been rising, especially in the context of healthcare. This rising inflation imposes various challenges for aged people, affecting their quality of life.
- Retirement Planning: Planning for retirement as well as managing retirement savings is not only crucial but also complex. Many aged people suffer because of inadequate financial planning which leads to financial stress.
Access to Healthcare:
Even though it is the basic right of everyone, accessibility to healthcare can be challenging. Specifically for the people living in rural or underserved areas
Healthcare costs can be a significant burden for aged people specifically if they have no health insurance coverage.
Technology advancements have become increasingly integrated into our daily lives. However, aged people who are not really tech-savvy face various challenges in using digital devices in a context like
- Information access
- Healthcare management
- Communication and social networking.
Legal and Financial Decision-Making:
There are various reasons why financial decision-making abilities start to decline with age. The aged people are more likely to struggle in managing money and legal contexts. Making such decisions can include
- Estate planning
- Power of attorney
- Investment decisions
- Signing agreements etc.
Access to reliable and safe transportation can become more challenging as individuals age, potentially limiting their ability to engage in social activities and access essential services.
Stigma and Ageism:
Aged-related discrimination and unfair treatment are not something new. There are various stereotypes regarding aging that impact not only the self-esteem of people, making them unable to access opportunities.
Housing and living arrangements:
Housing is one of the main concerns aged people face challenges with. They face many difficulties in maintaining their homes or finding suitable and affordable housing options.
Due to so many difficulties, many aged people have started looking for suitable aged care home or other home care services. However, even deciding upon and accessing the appropriate long-term care options can be costly and complex without the required help.
Aged Care: How Home Care Australia have been helping Elderly
The Aging Population of Australia has been increasing due to 2 major reasons:
- Increasing life expectancy
- Declining fertility rate
As the number of aging people is growing; it has also started representing an increasing share of the Australian population. Recently collected data have shown that:
- In 2020, the number of aged people was estimated to be 4.2 million. This shows an increase in the Australian population with aged people comprising a total of 16% of it.
- The total number of aged people in Australia has increased from 1.0 million in 1970 to 2.1 million in 1995 and has been increasing drastically ever since.
- The total number and percentage of the aged citizen is expected to continue increasing. By the year 2066, it has been projected that the aged people population in Australia will make up 21 to 23 percent of the total population.
- As for the people aged 85 and above, this population proportion has increased from 0.5% percent (1970) to 1.1% (1995) to 2.1% (2020). This proportion is further expected to continue increasing from 3.6% to 4.4% in 2066.
To conclude, Australia, like many other developed countries has been experiencing an increase in the aging population. The demographic shift has been characterized mainly due to the increase in the proportion of aged people, particularly those of age 65 and over.
Australians have been living longer than ever before. This life expectancy has been sturdily increasing because of the advancements in healthcare, improved living conditions and changes in lifestyle that they are getting due to various aged care services like aged care home and in home care services.
The aged care services in Australia have been contributing a lot to the increasing life expectancies. They not only help the aged people to deal with aged-related difficulties effectively but also help with enhancing life quality.
The aged care in Australia now encompasses a wide range of options that can include
- In-home care services
- Nursing care services
- Aged care home
- Assisted living facilities
- Palliative care services etc
Along with these facilities, the Australian government has also been helping the aged people to access appropriate care services.
So let’s explore the aged care options Australian citizens are getting benefitted from see how Home Care takes the lead:
Home Care Services
Firstly, we will discuss the in home care services. In home care services are a vital component of the Australian aged care scenario. These are also the most accessed services among others. Home care in Australia has become a prominent sector that helps aged people to gracefully age in place.
The people get the required support and assistance to help them remain in the comfort of their own homes. Furthermore, home care services have also been helping elderly people with disabilities that require help with daily living activities medical management, etc.
Here is an overview of the in home care services and how they can be beneficial for you.
Personal Care Services:
- ADL: ADL stands for Activities of Daily Living which includes basic and everyday skills an individual needs to live independently.
As the name suggests, the in home caregivers come to the homes of the aged people to provide assistance with tasks like dressing, bathing, toileting mobility, etc.
Magnification Management: Medication use difficulties are prevalent in aged people. The main issues people face include identifying and reading the names and forgetting to take medications on time.
However, the caregivers ensure that medications are taken as prescribed. They also help with organizing pills, administrating injections, and monitoring side effects.
- Meal Preparation: Getting the right nutrition is necessary in old age to combat diseases effectively. The caregivers can also assist with meal planning and grocery shopping. They can also help with cooking nutritious meals.
- Social interactions: Social integrations are a vital part of elderly life and the caregivers also provide companionship services, they engage in conversations with the elderly. They offer emotional support to compact social isolation and anxiety.
- House Maintenance: Poorly maintained homes increase stress, worry, and also the risk of diseases, injury, and illnesses. However, caregivers help with household management too. For instance, they can do light cleaning and laundry.
They can even help with safety by ensuring the environment is tidy and safe. Moreover, these caregivers can also help with financial and legal aspects.
Errands and Transportation: Some of the caregivers can also help with running small errands if required. For instance, they can assist you with shopping. They can further help with transportation to medical appointments therapy etc.
- Monitoring Vital Signs: Caregivers/nurses can also monitor the vital signs of individuals who suffer from specific health conditions. They can perform tasks like monitoring blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels.
- Wound Management and Care: Specialized nursing care can also be included in the in home care services. Skilled nurses can offer wound care and manage relevant medical equipment.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapists can also offer care services in home. they can offer services like physiotherapy, and rehabilitation programs to recover from injuries or surgeries.
- Dementia Care: in home care services, the caregivers are also trained in dementia care provision. They can offer specialized care and support for individuals dealing with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
- Palliative care: Palliative care professionals offer specialized pain management and emotional support to individuals suffering from serious illnesses. The main focus of these individuals is on comfort and quality of life.
- Respite care: in home respite care services are here to help the family caregivers. It enables them to take a break while the trained caregiver takes a break. This helps the permanent caregiver to prevent burnout.
- Hospice care: Like many other services, in home care services also include hospice care. This is for the individuals that are nearing the end of life. This helps them receive compassionate end-of-life care in the comfort of their own homes.
- Customized Care Plans: In home care services are tailored to the unique needs and preferences of aging individuals. Rather than following the same care plan, home caregivers ensure individuals receive tailored and right level of care that supports their situation.
Some of the in home care services also incorporate technology for remote training and communication purposes. This allows the aging individuals and family members to stay connected and well-informed about their loved one’s health.
Comparatively, the in home care providers are more culturally sensitive and aware. They are respectful of the preferences and transitions of the individuals they serve.
Assisted Living Facilities:
Assisted living facilities are often abbreviated as ALFs. These are a kind of residential housing facilities that provide a number of services to people like housing and personal care.
They offer healthcare support for aged people or people with disabilities who require assistance with daily living activities. However, they do not hold expertise nor do they provide medical care facilities as compared to home care services.
Nonetheless, these facilities do offer a supportive and community-oriented environment that promotes social interaction and independence.
A nursing home is a very skilled nursing facility that is especially known for the long-term nursing care it provides. This is almost the same as the nursing care facilities. However, these are designed for people who require significant around-the-clock medical attention.
It also helps people who cannot perform daily living activities due to their physical, cognitive, and medical conditions.
As compared to assisted living facilities, nursing homes provide a higher level of medical care and supervision. These are typically appropriate options for people with complex medical needs. However, it has a more structured environment and routine. Thus it may not be very comfortable.
Memory Care units:
Memory care units are often referred to as Alzheimer’s care units. These are specialized care settings that provide the services of both an assisted living facility and a skilled nursing care facility.
This aged care home specifically caters to the needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementia diseases. The units within are designed to provide a safe and supportive environment to help deal with memory-loss-related challenges.
This is surely helpful but Alzheimer’s patients require familiarity in an environment that only their home provides. So, is the memory care unit even a good option?
Palliative Care or Rehabilitation Facilities:
Palliative care facilities only focus on relieving symptoms and improving the life quality of individuals with serious illnesses. On the other hand, rehabilitation facilities focus on helping people to recover from injuries or illnesses, etc. Thus both have very specific focuses and are not for everyone.
Adult Daycare Centers:
The daycare centers are community-based facilities that offer daytime care and support services to:
- Aged people
- People with disabilities
- People requiring special supervision and assistance
This is commonly used when the primary caregiver is away and in need of respite.
This center offers a very structured, pattered but safe environment. It provides socialization opportunities and various activities too. However, the activities and services are not generally tailored to suit the individual needs. Also, as they are “daycare” they only offer services for a certain time of the day.
Now you are aware of all the difficulties an aged individual faces due to the aging process. As well as all the available care options he has.
So what are your thoughts? What care option can be best for aging peacefully other than in home care services? Home care services are the only ones that incorporate the solutions to all challenges elderly people face.
They are not focused on anything other than the elderly individual’s comfort, health, and quality of life.
So rather than search for “aged care home near me” and selecting the first option that pops up, try home care services!