Senior care has become an increasingly important function in the health care field. The proportion of society above retirement age will continue to expand over the next decade, and a number of institutions and professionals have made themselves available to service this segment of the population. The need for assistance during daily life increases as people age. Eventually, however, most people require senior services that take care of their every need.
Different Needs in Elder Care
Aging typically brings on a decreased ability to handle different functions in life. Bodily functions may deteriorate to the point that a person needs help lifting things or doing any kind of labor that requires physical exertion. In particular, many older people struggle to perform tasks that require bending their backs. Others need more advanced care. Loss of mental faculties, either gradual or sudden, causes many children of elderly people to seek services for their loved ones which go beyond simple assistance in daily life.
• Home Care
The initial difficulties suffered by people entering their senior years often do not require them to move into a nursing home. However, their needs may go beyond the capacity of their family to provide for them. Home care agencies offer a variety of in home care services which involve visits from medical professionals and others who can provide assistance. These opportunities allow older people to continue living among family and friends. They also receive an advanced level of care that would otherwise only be available in a center dedicated to the care of the elderly.
• Assisted Living Facilities
Eventually, many elderly people need to move into a care center that can provide for many of their needs and also maintain a closer watch over their health than is possible during home health care. Facilities for this purpose are staffed by medical professionals and sustain around-the-clock supervision of their residents. The services they offer include prescribed diets, medical care, and physical therapy. At the same time, residents in such facilities live with a great amount of freedom. Staffers are available to provide assistance, but do not exert a great deal of control over residents’ personal lives.
There are tens of thousands of these communities in the United States at the present time. In order to provide and maintain social stimulation, they usually incorporate communities of more than a hundred individuals with varying needs. Each center may differ greatly in the surroundings and the services offered.
• Dementia Care
Some individuals enter into old age and lose mental faculties as well as physical capabilities. Typically, these people need more help than their family can provide, and more supervision than is available in an assisted living facility. The elderly care required in these instances is provided by agencies that can offer 24-hour assistance and supervision.
Alzheimer’s is a common form of dementia which affects millions of people to one extent or another as they age. While simple forgetfulness may be all that some elderly people experience, others suffer from a complete disassociation from their surroundings and require special care that only a facility dedicated to such work can provide.