Many of our clients and their families express to us their wishes to remain in their own homes. Elder at Home recognizes the significance of “home” to its clients. In the Oxford Dictionary, one can find the word “home” related to a Sanskrit term meaning “safe dwelling”. Our care managers seek to find this “safe dwelling” for our clients, whether it be in their home of 50 years, a condo in later life, independent senior housing, an in-law unit, assisted living communities and long term care settings. If we can work to have the individual feel cared for and safe, then we have provided them “a home” for this chapter of their lives.
IN HOME SUPPORT
In order to assist our clients with their goal to stay at home, we conduct a thorough in-home safety evaluation. Our careful eyes will look for areas that could pose a fall risk and present functional challenges to older adults as they seek to age in place.
Several recommendations are commonly given, which may include the installation of grab bars and railings to assist with stairs and transfers. Removing clutter and stray electrical cords, as well as securing all scatter rugs are high priorities to prevent unnecessary falls that could result in injury, hospitalization and eventual placement outside the home setting.
Recommendations are made for nightlights to ensure safe ambulation when getting up at night. For those individuals with challenges with personal care, simple bathroom additions can go a long ways. Hand held shower nozzles, grab bars in the shower, a shower chair, tub or transfer bench can make this a safer experience.
In addition to the home modification and equipment needs, Elder at Home care managers assess an individual’s ability to perform both ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living) and IADL’s (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living). Once we determine the needs, then we are able to determine if a home health aide or a companion is needed to execute the detailed care plan.
Activities of Daily Living include the need for hands-on personal care of the body. They include assisting the older adult with bathing, dressing, transfers, feeding, toileting and grooming.
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living involves assisting with those everyday activities that help our clients function independently in their home setting. This includes shopping, meal prep, light housecleaning, helping with the use of the telephone, laundry, assistance with driving as well as med cuing.
It is important to understand the needs to ensure that the right caregiver is chosen to ensure safe and competent care.
When our clients are no longer able to be cared for at home, we begin to explore the option of assisted living. Assisted living communities offer the older adult their own apartment within a supportive housing model.
In addition to having their own studio or 1-bedroom apartment, they are provided 3 meals a day, weekly housekeeping, activities, medication management, assistance with personal care and on-site nursing to assist with coordination and concerns.
There are various levels of assisted living care. They include the traditional setting for older adults who do not have advanced dementia and simply require a plan of care tailored to their needs. They are still independent to navigate about the building on their own and are safe to do so.
If an older adult is no longer able to manage in the larger setting and is at risk for wandering out of the building, they are evaluated for a supportive memory unit. They may now need more cuing, structure and a smaller setting to feel safe and thrive.
REHAB AND LONG TERM CARE SETTINGS
Often times, many of Elder at Home’s home based clients may develop short term functional challenges, experiencing increasing pain and mobility and medical issues that are unable to be addressed at home. This may result from a hospital stay where they suddenly lose their strength and are at risk for a discharge directly back to their home. With these scenarios, a short-term admission to a skilled unit is often helpful to stabilize the situation, provide daily rehab for improving strength, balance and ambulation. Once the client reaches their maximum level of functioning, then the care managers at Elder at Home work with the care team a the rehab center to facilitate an appropriate plan of care for home.
For clients who are no longer safe to live in their homes or assisted living due to increasing medical and nursing needs that require a 24 hour medical staff, Elder at Home care managers will assist the families and the older adult in finding an appropriate home in a respected long term care setting.