Ageing already brings with it, its share of miseries related to physical and mental health deterioration. Having to suffer any major illnesses requiring surgery and hospitalized treatment for prolonged periods of time on top of that, can really make a senior’s life all the more difficult. At that point, the senior is not just going through the externally visible physical difficulties, but is also experiencing an array of emotional and mental stresses; which is precisely why they need extra care and double the patience from the part of a caregiver or loved one.
It is definitely not easy being 65 years or older and having to deal with physical and mental conditions hindering basic self-care. Especially for seniors dealing with conditions like Dementia or Parkinson’s the care of another person is inevitable; more so during a time when they may be recovering from a surgery or are being brought back home after hospitalized treatment.
Surveys have time and again proved that the Canadian population has a fairly larger share of baby boomers when compared to other countries. However, researches continue to reveal the fact that Canada’s medical system is not entirely equipped to provide continuing paid and unpaid care for the growing senior population.
Over the next 15 years, the number of seniors living with Dementia is likely to rise to around 66%. Similarly, the number of seniors who are expected to need extra help or care in the next 30 years is likely to double.
Currently, there are an estimated 29% of Canadian seniors who need continuing care and support, and about 200, 000 of them say that their continuing care is not fulfilling.
Clearly, the need for fast action and a comprehensive senior care program is undeniable in Canada. Considering how the status of senior health is deteriorating, there is also a need for other rehabilitation alternatives post hospital treatment.
Which brings us to the practice of in-home rehabilitation. Dr. Emily Collins of Halo Health Care says that primary caregivers are sometimes more than enough to help in rehabilitation of seniors, as long as they are patient and loving.
However, not all cases of senior rehabilitation can be carried out at home. Depending on the severity of your senior’s condition, you may have to send them to external assisted care facilities or to skilled nursing facilities. The ultimate aim is to provide an environment for the senior to regain strength, health and confidence as fast as possible and eliminate the risks of further hospital visits.
Breakdown of likely care needs
Normally some of the basic activities that the patient may need help with include:
– Bathing and self-cleaning
– Personal grooming
– Meal preparation
– Housekeeping and laundry
– Grocery shopping
– Medication assistance
Apart from these basic needs, a patient may also need extra assistance depending on their condition such as :
- physical therapy to improve mobility, muscle strength, restoration of balance and coordination etc. aimed at making the patient self-sufficient to a certain extent
- occupational therapy to help with household tasks, grooming, dressing etc.
- speech therapy to help patients regain their ability of communication and to help with swallowing difficulties
- neurological and cognitive rehabilitation to help patients with Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and other traumatic conditions.
- psychiatric rehabilitation for patients with brain injuries
The basic care needs can very well be done by a family caregiver. If your senior is recovering from minor surgeries or accidents, then it may suffice to provide basic in-home rehabilitation.
Among the special care needs, there are many aspects that an ordinary family caregiver will not be able to provide such as cognitive rehabilitation and psychiatric rehabilitation.
In such cases, external rehabilitation services may be sought with senior care companies that provide therapists, nurses and counsellors for home care. There are a number of such healthcare providers that have a valuable resource of experienced senior care professionals who may be able to provide authoritative assistance. However, it is very important to assess the credibility of these providers before hiring their services.
An important thing to note when hiring home-based rehabilitation service providers is that they don’t always offer home assistance. Their scope of service is always limited to the senior’s needs. Hence, family caregivers may have to take care of the basic or primary needs of the senior like cooking meals, housekeeping and laundry. Hence, if you don’t have the time for that, home-based rehabilitation may not be a good option for you.
Apart from all these, if the senior is in a very dependable condition, requiring beyond ordinary rehabilitation, it is always better to take the help of assisted living or skilled nursing facilities. The patient needs professional care to get back to life and it can only be given by an experienced doctor or nurse.
Hence, choosing the right rehabilitation facility entirely depends on the senior’s prevailing health conditions. After careful assessment of conditions post hospital treatment, appropriate action may be taken by the caregivers.