By Elyse Notarianni
When you’ve gone through your whole life looking up to your mother, father, aunt, uncle – whoever it might be – it can be hard to experience that mindset shift that it’s not your job to take care of them. It’s even harder to know exactly how to give them the best care possible without overextending yourself or taking away their dignity.
While it may seem like your only options are to become their sole caregiver or to look into retirement communities, there is so much in between. If neither of those options feel right, it may be time to consider hiring a home health aide.
Hiring a home health aide for the older adults in your life can provide benefits for both for the individual receiving care and for their family and caregivers.
Let’s dive in.
Allows older adults to age in place.
Many older adults prefer to age in place, or stay in their own homes, rather than moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility. A home health aide can help make this possible by providing assistance with activities of daily living (such as bathing, dressing, and grooming) and managing medications. This can help older adults maintain their independence and continue to live in a familiar and comfortable environment. A review of research studies published in the Journal of Aging and Social Policy found that older adults who received home-based care were more likely to have better physical and mental health outcomes, including fewer hospitalizations, fewer falls, and a lower risk of mortality.
Provides peace of mind for caregivers.
Caring for an older adult can be physically and emotionally demanding, especially for family caregivers who may have their own work and family responsibilities. A home health aide can provide much-needed respite for caregivers, allowing them to take breaks and attend to their own needs. This can help reduce caregiver burnout and improve the overall well-being of both the caregiver and the older adult.
Improves the quality of care.
Home health aides are trained to provide professional and compassionate care, which can help ensure that the older adult is receiving high-quality care. They can also provide assistance with tasks that may be beyond the capabilities of a family caregiver, such as managing complex medication regimes or providing wound care. A report from the AARP Public Policy Institute found that older adults who received home-based care were more satisfied with their care and had a higher quality of life compared to those who received care in a nursing home.
Increases safety and reduces the risk of falls.
Older adults are at an increased risk of falls, which can lead to serious injuries and even death. A home health aide can help reduce this risk by assisting with mobility, providing supervision, and making sure the home is safe and free of hazards. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, older adults who receive home-based care (such as home health care or home-delivered meals) are less likely to be hospitalized and more likely to have a higher quality of life compared to those who do not receive such services.
Can be cost-effective.
In some cases, hiring a home health aide can be more cost-effective than moving an older adult to a nursing home or assisted living facility. This is especially true if the older adult only requires a limited amount of care and is otherwise able to live independently.