Advancements in Medical Science and improved health/medicare, have resulted in the increasing longevity of our seniors. The U.N. estimates that by 2025, the number of elderly in India would be around 159 million. While it is a matter to celebrate, for Indians have traditionally venerated their elders, considering their presence and blessings to be a boon, it also signifies great responsibility. It should be our foremost obligation to ensure the family elder’s right to live with dignity, safety and comfort, ensuring their financial, physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being. Due to the disintegration of the joint family system and children moving out to live in faraway cities, or settling abroad for career reasons, parents are often left alone to fend for themselves. Sometimes, the elders living with the children also do not get the support and care they require, due to various factors. Rather unfortunately, fast-paced lifestyles and changing value-systems have often led to neglect of family seniors, due to lack of time or otherwise. We must all ensure that our beloved elders are cherished, valued and respected - yet given their space too.
Aging is a natural process and though the degree and pace differs from person to person, most seniors experience declining functional abilities in advanced age, even if they are healthy otherwise. It becomes difficult to perform activities of daily living – ADL. Movement, mobility issues within and outside the house often affect the ability to do household chores, running errands, essential visits to the doctor and other professionals. Chronic ailments like arthritis make it troublesome to take care of personal hygiene- bathing, using the toilet, grooming, dressing etc. leading to increased risk of falls and injuries. Elders living alone especially, become careless about their diet, forget to take necessary medication on time, reduce social interactions and outings, become lethargic and stop necessary physical fitness activities like walks or Yoga and generally neglect their overall wellbeing, resulting in loneliness, depression and escalation of disease many times. Additionally, the chances of an emergency situation increase with age. An aging senior can feel overwhelmed, alone and helpless.
Options for Seniors
Let us explore the options available for seniors and their preferences. Today, there are numerous assisted living facilities for seniors from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, like retirement communities or old-age homes and even hospice for palliative care of elders. But it has been noticed that the desire for independence is foremost concern for seniors. Being able to continue staying in your own home, which holds so many happy memories and in familiar surroundings has sentimental value, contributing to the comfort level and emotional well-being of the elder. Though they want to be in command and maintain their independent lifestyle, they are unable to cope due to their age-related problems. Therefore, the most viable and affordable alternative to senior facility and hospital care is hiring a professional Caregiver at home. You could choose from daycare, nights only, or full time live-in Caregiver (which is best). Select a trustworthy, safe and affordable Eldercare service provider after careful research.
It is estimated that one-fifth of seniors either live alone or only with spouse. But elders living with children also face these issues often, because even when they want to, the son or daughter who could be holding a demanding job, managing the house, childcare and an active social life, simply do not have the time due to their own hectic schedules and it can get stressful and difficult for them. Therefore, there are two scenarios where seniors themselves or their family members, must seriously consider engaging a Professional Caregiver for their essential welfare.
Attributes of an effective Caregiver
Fortunately, a few excellent Eldercare service providers have emerged in the last few years. Nevertheless, it is extremely important to thoroughly check the antecedents of the company, the scope of the support they offer and the efficiency and efficacy of delivery.
- The Caregivers should be well-trained, verified, with patience and a sense of commitment, dedication, responsibility and integrity.
- Moreover, a Caregiver should be compassionate with genuine empathy for elders and enjoy doing their work from the heart. Serving elders with “seva-bhav”.
- A Caregiver has to be prepared for the unexpected and think on their feet – should be well-trained not to panic in any situation and know how to deal with it effectively, without letting the client feel insecure.
- Wide variety of elder clients, with complex needs and temperaments, requires putting aside the personal opinions and preferences of the Caregiver to adapt and connect well with the senior.
- The scope of responsibilities can be exhaustive, depending on the physical and mental condition of the person being cared for, but a committed Caregiver can make a genuine difference in the client’s life regarding every aspect.
Overall physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and happiness is a state we all aspire for and seek for ourselves and our loved ones. When we can’t cope up as an elder living alone, or as an elderly couple living alone; or as the child of an elder, struggling to look after a dear parent living with us; we should seek the help of a professional Caregiver.
The Various Ways a Caregiver can help improve the Life of a beloved Senior.
- Assistance in completing daily chores and home-life responsibilities; cleaning, dusting, laundry, cooking, feeding, ironing, washing dishes, gardening etc.
- Assistance in basic functioning, like mobility issues, walking, personal hygiene assistance - bathing, toilet, dressing, grooming.
- Reduced risk of injury, falls and strains.
- Running errands-grocery shopping, banking, insurance post-office, dry-cleaners etc. paying bills, driving or accompanying elders for various appointments.
- Monitoring of health and medical conditions. Ensuring correct medicines are taken at the right time. Ensuring physical fitness of the elder through walks, appropriate exercises, yoga.
- Ensuring overall health by cooking balanced, nutritious meals – with occasional special treats.
- Providing reliable and congenial companionship, encouraging social interaction, outings, thereby alleviating loneliness and isolation-keeping depression at bay.
- Caregiver’s presence at home, relieves burden on family and friends. Providing peace of mind to the Elder and other family members or next of kin.
- Supports independent living at own home with dignity, safety and comfort. One on one focus and personalized care builds trust and bonds, thus improving emotional happiness.
- Assistance of Caregiver results in more free time to enjoy hobbies and indulge in social activities of choice.
- The Caregiver’s presence and help inculcates a renewed zest for life and rise in self-confidence, due to a well-organized schedule, clean home and well-groomed personal appearance.
A sincerely well-trained Home Caregiver deals with the full spectrum of assistance a senior may require, as you can see from the list given above - based also on the specific needs and abilities of the client.
But it is equally important to source the Caregiver from an Eldercare Service provider company which understands and loves elders and deals with all aspects of an Elder’s needs. So that the Caregiver can co-ordinate with the company for emergency response or any other form of help for the elder client. In areas like health, emergency, safety, infotainment and convenience. If need be, the company can arrange for doctor’s visits, provide experienced, certified nurses, physiotherapists, counselling, for post-operative care and chronic diseases. An eldercare provider that will assist you in all spheres of activity connected to Life.
EMOHA Eldercare is dedicated to the service of elders. Emoha is a connected community that brings together world-class expertise to deliver single-click access to a range of health, emergency, engagement, safety, and convenience services for elders, all in the comforts of their homes. Re-imagining eldercare with MOH. For us, it is always #EldersFirst.