Care for the Elderly Begins at Home

Some responsibilities in life have a way of sneaking up on you.  You learn to boil water and over time you become the traditional Thanksgiving turkey chef.  You learn to sort the colors and over time you become the queen of the laundry room.  Your kids develop social lives and chauffeuring them from here to there becomes part of your job description.

But nowhere is the subtle expansion of responsibility as evident as in the care of the elderly. Visits to Grandpa grow over time to include helping him with grocery shopping and housekeeping.  Days with Mom morph to include managing her bank account and assisting her with bathing.  For the first time in 2011, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics was able to quantify the time spent on non-institutional eldercare and found that almost 40 million Americans had provided unpaid care to someone over 65.  Around a quarter of midlifers, ages 45 to 64, identified themselves as elder care providers, with women in a small majority, accounting for 56% of caregivers.  However, these statistics seem to be an underaccounting of the actual workload of elder care as only 4% report caring for an elderly spouse.  It seems that the day-to-day tasks of caring for those we love don’t even register as elder care although responsibilities may increase over time.  Spousal care turns into elder care so gradually that there is no distinction in the mind of the caregiver.

This report doesn’t touch on how frequently these family-and-friends caregivers solicit professional help in their elder care duties.  The sheer magnitude of the task and the increasingly aging population of the US point to a corresponding increase in the need for paid home care.

As paid caregivers come into the home to supplement the efforts of family members and friends, a new level of structure is introduced. While the family version of elder care is patched together with an ad hoc system of Post-It Notes, text messages and pocket calendars, the professional home care agency has its own tools and techniques. Compliance and responsibility are the order of the day and systems are required to manage the workload and make sure that everything is done to ensure the safety and comfort of the client. While the level of care remains of paramount importance, the fluid nature of the non-professional caregiver relationship has no place in the world of the professional home healthcare enterprise.

Home care agencies frequently turn to software solutions to handle scheduling, workflows, and compliance among myriad other aspects of ensuring the quality of the home care experience.  Our friends at HHA eXchange offer comprehensive systems that make the administrative portion of the home health care process streamlined and intuitive, so that professional home caregivers are able to focus on their relationship with the patient and providing the utmost quality of at home nursing care.

We are proud to feature HHA eXchange in our directory of resources for long term care and home health care organizations.  Supporting the success of these organizations, and ultimately supporting the highest quality care for our senior population, is what is all about.

As the demand for elder care increases, family and friends will continue to step up to the plate to support their loved ones. Luckily they can rest assured that professional assistance that is reliable, quality-oriented, and focused on the health and happiness of patients is just a phone call away.

11. July 2012 by David Weiss
Categories: Aging, Home Care, Long Term Care | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment