How DO You Know When It Is Time for Elder Care?

As they grow older, most people want to continue living independently in their own homes. They want to remain self-sufficient in their familiar surroundings; that's certainly expected and natural. But all too often the very fact of aging affects people's ability to care for themselves and manage their daily living and this creates health and safety concerns. When caring for themselves or their home environment becomes progressively too difficult, it is time for both seniors and their families to consider in-home elder care.

Here Are 15 Signs That Signal the Need for In Home Elder Care:

1. The person forgets to eat or does not eat nutritious meals and loses weight.

2. The mail is piling up and bills have been left unpaid.

3. The house is unusually dirty and unkept; dirty dishes, garbage and laundry may pile up.

4. The person forgets to take medication and/or is confused about what to take and when.

5. The person no longer adequately tends to personal hygiene matters.

6. Food in the refrigerator has spoiled or is uneaten.

7. The person makes frequent phone calls at unusual times or is unable to use the telephone.

8. Items may be put away in unusual places or become “lost” due to short term memory loss.

9. The person wears the same clothes every day or the clothes are noticeably dirty.

10. The person misses appointments due to memory loss or fear of driving.

11. The person leaves the stove or other appliances on, creating a safety hazard.

12. The person has difficulty remembering names, situations and locations.

13. The person is incapable of making decisions.

14. The person has become isolated and has cut off social contacts.

15. The person falls down often.

Fortunately, there are agencies that provide the help seniors need to enable them to remain in the comfort and safety of their home and age in place. Companions can provide services such as nutritious meal preparation, housekeeping, laundry, personal care supervision, medication reminders as well as transportation. The aspect of socialization and interaction is also important and the list of non-medical services to help the senior to stay in their own home is practically endless.

Most agencies provide help for seniors on an hourly basis, but a select few offer “live-in” care as an affordable option. Live-in care offers the senior's family peace of mind that their loved one is never alone.

When considering an agency for elder care, be certain to ask the following;

1. How long has your company been in business? 2. is the company bonded and insured? 3. Is your company registered or licensed with the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration? 4. How extensive are your criminal background checks? 5. How do you select your caregivers? 6. Can you send me information describing your services and fees? 7. What is the company's replacement policy or guarantee? 8. Is there a contracted period of time? 9. Are there initiation or exit fees? 10. Can we set up a time to meet and discuss my care needs?

While the decision to implement in home elder care takes some consideration, it is designed to be a positive experience for the senior and their family. It may just be the option that enables your loved one to live out their twilight years in the comfort, safety and familiarity of their own home.

Submitted by Nancy Ludin, Executive Director of the Jewish Pavilion located in the suburbs of Orlando, Florida, NO ONE WANTS TO BE FORGOTTEN… It is the mission of the Jewish Pavilion to enhance the quality of life for our elders in long term care and strengthen their connection to the community.

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