According to research, around 90% of adults over 65 want to age in place. This means they want to remain in their current homes and communities as they get older rather than moving into a retirement home or a skilled nursing facility.
For Missouri residents, this often requires the intervention of St. Louis home care assistance. These services can help keep aging populations out of hospitals and nursing homes, providing them with access to top-tier healthcare experts right in their living room.
Are you considering pursuing this kind of support for a loved one? If so, there are myriad steps that go into the decision-making process.
Today, we're sharing a quick guide to help you navigate this journey, from the resources to contact to the elements to consider.
Ready to learn more? Let's get started.
What is Home Health Care Assistance?
As adults age, greater health and safety concerns arise.
For this reason alone, many seniors make the transition away from their current properties. Instead, they live in a more monitored environment, such as a nursing home. There, they'll have access to professionals who can help attend to their physical and emotional needs.
Sometimes, this move occurs on their own accord. Other times, concerned loved ones and caregivers make the difficult decision instead.
Home health care assistance offers an alternative route. With this type of care, older adults can receive access to the same level of assistance they'd get at an outside facility.
The best part? They still get to enjoy the comforts of the place they've called home for decades.
Depending on your specific needs, there is a range of services that fall under the home health care umbrella. Let's take a look at these in greater detail.
Did your loved one recently experience an injury that resulted in a short-term hospital stay? If so, that treatment might have addressed their immediate physical needs. Yet, continued nursing care is often necessary to prevent the injury from happening again.
Home health care nurses in St. Louis can analyze and assess each individual's health. Then, they'll review areas in their home that can be made safer and more secure with improvements.
From disease management and wound evaluation to medication education, a skilled nurse can help your loved one transition back home and stay there safely.
Outpatient rehabilitation centers are designed to help an injured person get back on his or her feet. Still, the reality is that it can be a challenge to commute to this facility on a regular basis.
St. Louis home health care brings the rehab to you.
Our staff will help your loved one learn therapeutic exercise techniques that can make the recovery process easier and quicker to navigate. Trained physical therapists will also suggest home modifications that can help prevent falls in the future.
Losing their ability to speak can leave seniors feeling helpless. If they've suffered a stroke or another neurological injury (such as aphasia or apraxia), ordinary communication is rendered suddenly impossible. In turn, this can trigger withdrawal and symptoms of depression.
This is where licensed speech therapists can help.
Working within the individual's home, these therapists can provide simple exercises to help retrain their vocal muscles and sharpen their cognitive abilities. They're also skilled in helping clients navigate esophageal disorders and swallowing issues.
From making their bed to cooking their meals, even the most routine chores can suddenly become cumbersome and physically challenging for seniors.
A St. Louis home health care team can work with your loved one on a one-on-one basis, learning both their goals and limitations. Then, we'll share steps they can take to improve their level of self-care.
While most St. Loius home health care providers will focus only on rehabilitation and therapy, few provide the level of support that we do.
That's because when we visit each person under our care, we don't see a patient. We see someone's loved one, with complex needs that go further than skin-deep. As such, we're dedicated to providing more comprehensive support, attending to emotional and spiritual needs alongside physical ones.
Signs That a Loved One Needs In-Home Health Care
Is your loved one starting to show signs of mental or physical decline? Or, has there been a recent accident or setback that necessitates skilled nursing care? There are a few signs that can reveal a need for in-home health care.
Let's take a look at the most common ones.
Have you noticed your loved one exhibiting signs of early memory loss, including forgetfulness, confusion, and disorientation? Missing bill payments, medications, and important appointments are all signs that the individual could benefit from additional support at home.
Unkempt Home or Yard
As adults age, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with day-to-day household chores.
However, failing to unload the dishwasher or fold laundry is one thing. If you notice that your loved one is allowing his or her home to fall into disarray, it might be time for a change. Signs to look out for include overgrown grass and weeds, unmanageable clutter and unclean surfaces.
In a similar vein, you might discern noticeable changes in the person's physical appearance. This isn't a sign of uncleanliness or a lack of caring. Rather, it indicates that the individual has become unable to perform tasks related to basic hygiene.
Balance and mobility issues might prevent them from showering frequently, brushing their hair and teeth, or washing their clothes. In addition to physical barriers, dementia or depression can also lead to the same circumstances.
Poor Nutritional Health
It can be challenging for most fully functional people to maintain a healthy diet around the clock. This is especially the case for aging seniors, who find it difficult or impossible to shop and cook for themselves. If they live alone, they might also find it impractical to prepare a meal for one.
Take note of your loved one's appearance. Have they recently gained or lost a significant amount of weight? Do they seem to be in declining health? These can be valuable clues into their current nutritional state.
Studies show that one in four Americans over the age of 65 will have at least one fall each year. Moreover, an aging adult is treated in the emergency room every 11 seconds for a fall-related injury.
Has your loved one recently fallen? If so, home-based therapy can help them get back on their feet. Even if one hasn't occurred yet, a professional aide can help you identify and mitigate risks and hazards in their home, from steep steps to piles of clutter.
Unexplained Bruising or Other Injuries
Sometimes, an accident isn't as noticeable or dramatic as a fall. Still, frequent injuries can deteriorate physical health and damage internal organs over time.
Have you noticed unexplained bumps, bruises or abrasions on the adult? If so, it's likely that they're having a harder time getting around their house than they used to before. This could be related to their eyesight, mobility, balance, and other factors.
Social Withdrawal and Personality Changes
While hobbies and social activities often define the golden years of retirement, seniors often lose interest in them as they get older. However, there's a difference between slowing down and becoming socially withdrawn.
Has your loved one suddenly stopped attending to his or her regular schedule? From failing to take a beloved pet for walks to missing a scheduled meetup with friends, there are myriad signs to notice.
If these are coupled with other signs of depression including mood swings, changes in sleep patterns, or decreased energy levels, it's time to take action. In-home health care can introduce a new level of companionship that can help support mental and emotional health.
St. Louis Home Health Care Service Options
In-home health care services can help improve your loved one's quality of life, safety, and overall happiness. The support received is tailored to each individual's unique needs and abilities.
Let's take a look at some of the services you can expect to receive when you partner with a certified agency like ours.
Medical Social Worker Support
As a caregiver, keeping up with the needs of your loved one can be a full-time job, accompanied by mounting exhaustion and anxiety. Thus, it's not surprising that 40% of caregivers report feeling emotionally stressed.
A home health provider can help connect your family with a medical social worker who can make it easier to navigate this complex and challenging path. We'll help you locate resources and community programs designed to ease the burden associated with short-term and long-term care.
In addition, we'll also help you find financial assistance and fiduciary services that can alleviate monetary concerns. In the event that you need legal support, you can secure power of attorney services, too.
Certified Nursing Assistance
Even if the senior in your life doesn't require advanced medical treatment, it helps to have a certified nursing assistant (CNA) nearby to help with day-to-day care.
One service provided through a home health aid is CNA support. This expert can help with personal needs including bathing, dressing, eating, and grooming. They'll also be on hand to monitor the individual's physical and mental condition, adjusting care as necessary to keep up with changes in wellness and mobility.
You might not be able to be there all the time to make sure your loved one is preparing and consuming healthy meals. This is where a certified dietary consultant can make a major difference.
Our team will provide each senior with a customized dietary plan, designed around their specific health needs and abilities. They'll also learn tips that can make it easier to prepare nutritious, economical meals.
Staying at home can help seniors retain their independence and enjoy a familiar setting. However, when an individual becomes home-bound, they might experience moments of loneliness and feelings of unworthiness.
This is where a solid spiritual foundation can make a world of difference. We can work with our clients to help them tap into their spiritual gifts and discover ways to share them with others. We understand that for some seniors, strengthening their faith can be a critical part of their health plan, and we're equipped with resources to make this possible.
How to Find a Great Provider
In the St. Louis area alone, there are many home health care providers. How can you make sure you're selecting the one best suited to care for your loved one's needs?
There are a few factors that can help distinguish top-tier agencies from the rest.
First, you can work with trusted advisors and medical professionals to discern the exact level of care your loved one needs. From there, you can ask about local options that fit the bill.
Key authorities to check with include your loved one's doctor or nurse. You can also reference the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for more information on available programs and solutions in your area.
Your loved one's care is your top concern. As such, you should make sure that everyone they interact with is trained, qualified and certified to perform in their respective roles.
Whether you're working with a wellness coordinator, Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), occupational therapist, physical therapist, registered nurse or another staff member, check to ensure that everyone on the team holds the correct credentials.
Our team has both the experience and accreditations necessary to deliver skilled, expert care at every turn.
We're St. Louis' Home Heath Care Agency
As a concerned caregiver, you likely have much on your mind and even more on your plate.
Searching for the best home health care agency in St. Louis shouldn't be another stressor. We're a team of home health care professionals ready to help your aging loved one not only live at home but thrive there. Contact us today to schedule a free assessment that can lead to a personalized care plan. Let's start the journey homeward.