How Companionship Can Play A Crucial Role in Elderly Care

As the Baby Boomers age, their adult children are seeking ways to keep them as healthy and independent as possible. Studies show that seniors do far better when they’re able to remain in their own homes, yet many are unable to do so by themselves. Your elderly parent may need both home care and companionship.

Here are some signs that your aging parent may benefit from having a elderly care/personal support worker:

  • Hospital stay. If the senior has recently been in hospital and has not fully recovered.
  • Hygiene. If the senior is unable to bathe or groom him/herself properly.
  • Housekeeping. If the senior’s home is unclean or in disarray.
  • Health. If physical health is declining, or if the senior is having difficulty taking medication properly.
  • Deficits. If the senior has short-term memory loss or hearing/vision impairment that interferes with daily functioning.
  • Nutrition. If the senior is not eating properly.
    Loneliness. If the senior is unable to get out to social functions, or feels isolated.
What Your Parent Needs

Some self-assessment is useful before you contact a home care agency. What is it that prevents your loved one from eating nutritious meals, for example? Is it because he or she is unwilling or unable to cook balanced meals, or is it because he/she finds it too difficult to shop for groceries? Is your parent isolated because there’s no way for him/her to get out to social events, or is it because hearing loss prevents him/her from joining in group activities? Most seniors will resist the idea that they need help, so prepare for some pushback from your mother and/or father; but rest assured that providing elderly parents with home care to help them live a healthier life will preserve their independence and provide everyone in your family with greater peace of mind.

Choosing the Right Caregiver

Once you’ve got some idea of the ways in which a personal support worker might be able to assist, call various home care agencies and ask them important questions. A good home care agency will send a medical professional such as a Registered Nurse to conduct an initial evaluation and make recommendations.

Top-notch home care agencies take great care when hiring personnel. Make sure that all caregivers are certified PSWs or equivalent, with at least two years experience in the field. Workers should be fairly paid, insured, and carefully screened.

Many home care agencies offer limited types of support and little flexibility. Look for a home care agency that provides all types of support, as well as 24/7 care when needed. Choose an agency that allows PSWs to work in homes, hospitals, and/or nursing facilities. Remember that your family’s needs may change over time.

A big part of the caregiver’s job is to provide your parent with companionship, not just physical help. So choose a home care agency that places value on matching each senior with a PSW who is compatible. This may even include finding a caregiver who speaks your parent’s native language.

After a caregiver is assigned, the home care agency should follow up with regular assessments, making adjustments when necessary.

Provide your aging parent with the ability to continue to live independently – contact Living Assistance Services today!

 

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care

How to Use Technology to Make Aging at Home Easier

Two of the leading causes of hospitalization in Ontario are Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The majority of the people with these illnesses are over the age of 65. Utilizing Telehomecare, seniors can live at home longer and their caregivers can provide better home care and can do so with peace of mind. Telehomecare is now available through Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN’s) and/or select hospitals across Ontario, as outlined below by Sarah Warmington, Supervisor of Program Engagement for Telehomecare.

Transforming the Lives of People with Heart Failure and COPD

With the Telehomecare program, technology is used to deliver healthcare services to patients with CHF and/or COPD in their homes. This is typically done by the monitoring of heart rate, oxygen levels, weight, blood pressure, etc. as well as other health related information. The monitoring is offered with an educational component provided to patients.

Clients are loaned a small tablet, oxygen monitor, blood pressure cuff and scale to monitor their weight and vitals for six months. Clients also answer some questions about their health on the tablet daily, Monday to Friday. The health questions are simple “yes” or “no” questions or rate on a scale of 1-5. For example, “are you having more trouble breathing since yesterday?” This information is sent remotely to the Telehomecare nurse who calls the client if the weight, vitals or answers to the questions on the tablet are concerning.

The Telehomecare nurse also calls clients bi-weekly to do health education on topics such as diet, stress management and medication management. Once the equipment is dropped off and set up by the Telehomecare technician, this program is delivered through the telephone and the equipment. The equipment is simple and easy-to-use. No previous experience with a computer is required. The Telehomecare team supports the client through every step from learning how to use the equipment to goal setting and self-management in order to achieve better health at home.

The goals of Telehomecare are:

  1. Decrease Emergency Department visits
  2. Decrease Hospital admissions
  3. Increase clients’ confidence in their ability to self-manage their chronic disease
  4. Support the client’s doctor or Nurse Practitioner

Telehomecare helps you to learn how to feel better by teaching you about how to identify and manage your symptoms, eating, exercising, managing your medications and setting goals that are unique to you. Clients of all ages—from 33 to 103 years old have completed the program.

In a provincial survey on Telehomecare, 94% responded that Telehomecare improved their ability to self-manage their CHF or COPD. Further, 96% indicated they would likely recommend the program to others. In fact, six months after completing the Telehomecare program, there is an 88% drop in the number of Emergency Department visits made by participants. Considering the average age of someone on Telehomecare is 79 years, these results are impressive! As the wife of one client said, “The program gives me great peace of mind…”

Click here to view a short video of Wendy`s story of Telehomecare transformed her life.
For more information about Telehomehomecare, call Sarah Warmington, at 416.222.2241 x4363

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care
Written by: Sarah Warmington & Opal Rowe