As people age, their needs become more complex; therefore, providing them with appropriate care falls on the hands of their loved ones. If you have a loved one entering aged care, you have to think of ways to provide them with quality services.
With the new Government-driven quality standards for aged care to be implemented on July 1, the level of personal and clinical care for aged care residents will be enhanced. However, you also have to consider the ongoing aged care crisis happening all over Australia. Some aged care facilities are understaffed. As a result, before you decide what type of senior care is best for your loved ones, ask yourself the following questions:
1. What are the challenges of seniors?
Once your loved ones enter into aged care, they will face different challenges. They will be at risk of isolation, falls and even injury. If you are the adult child of a senior living alone, you may want to choose home care as a precautionary step.
However, if they suffer from temporary illness or injury, they may need long-term care. For instance, if they have cardiac disease or other serious injuries, they may have to be treated in intensive care in a hospital. Meanwhile, home care is recommended for seniors who are recovering from temporary illness, especially if there are bigger chances of recovery.
Unfortunately, if your aging loved ones are experiencing progressive disease, long-term care is necessary. Progressive diseases may worsen and may cause a serious state of physical or mental weakness until death.
That is why before anything else, it is important to identify the needs and preferences of your seniors earlier. This will help you identify their challenges and then work with care providers to help them cope with the changes in their lifestyle.
2. Who makes the decision about care?
When it comes to decision-making, the senior should have the first word on the type of care they prefer, how they should pay for it, who provides the care, and if they need it at this point. However, if they are suffering from mental decline, they should designate a decision-maker on their behalf.
Moreover, you also have to consider seniors who don’t want to accept help from others out of pride or mental impairment. They may refuse care that they truly need and may even go against doctor’s advice. In such cases, the decision-maker assigned by the family makes the decision regarding the care that is in line with the doctor’s advice.
3. How much care does your elderly require?
This is not a question that you can simply answer alone. You also have to determine how much care is needed by your aging loved ones based on a lot of factors. For instance, their doctors may prescribe other procedures after their visit or they may need hospital treatment or continued treatment, especially if they suffer from a progressive disease. Going against professional advice may cause them harm, especially if their GP says they need help with activities of daily living.
If you are the primary caregiver of your senior loved ones, you may have to carry the burden of their daily living especially with hygiene, eating, dressing, cleaning or toileting. Therefore, how much care they will require will depend on your assessment as their informal caregiver.
With your intimate knowledge about their habits and inhibitions, you can decide on the ideal care package for your senior loved ones. In fact, one question you may ask is “how often do they need care?” Is it daily from 9 am to 5 pm, several times a week, occasionally or 24/7? Your answer determines the type and even the cost of aged care packages.
4. What are the services needed by your aging loved ones?
Depending on the needs of your aging loved ones, they may either need long-term or short-term care. You can tap the services of caregivers to provide long-term care assistance with non-medical daily activities, household duties, companionship, and transportation. If your loved one cannot care for themselves due to chronic illness or disability, then what they need is long-term care.
For example, your seniors may need the following:
- preparing meals or feeding
- assistance with exercise, walking or ambulating
- most non-medical assistance
5. How to finance the aged care of my aged relative?
When it comes to funding the aged care of your seniors, it is best to be prepared. Check your senior’s financial position to see if they can afford the needed care or if they require any financial assistance.
You may also avail of government programs for long-term senior care funding. Just make sure to check with My Aged Care if your senior is eligible for government-funded aged care.
6. Who will provide the care?
With the many reliable aged care options all over Australia, you can find a lot of resources and trustworthy care provider. Just be clear about the type of care you are looking for based on the needs of your senior loved ones.
In Australia, there are programs such as residential care, home care, home support, and flexible care. Flexible care services include transition care, short-term restorative care, multi-purpose services, innovative pool, and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program. Depending on the needs of your aging loved ones, choose the program that suits them well.
To be on the safe side, ask your seniors on where they want to spend their old age. Do they prefer to age at home or move to a senior living community? Their choice will determine the type of care they require and who will be their care provider.
7. How to monitor their care
If you cannot personally care for your seniors due to work or life changes, you can hire a trustworthy care provider. This will help you meet the needs of your aging loved ones and provide assistance for activities of daily living.
Whether you continue caring for your seniors or hire aged care provider, maintaining close bonds with your seniors and the whole family is important. If you have the time, talk to them in person or through letters or video calls. Alternatively, you can just ask for updates from their carers.
To sum it up
There are many programs and services crafted by the Australian Government solely meant for elderly care. They are provided through pensions, benefits or financial support, even help with rental fees or residential care. Home carers are also available for elderly who wishes to age at the comfort of their homes.
With the many programs available, you and your seniors will have better access to care that is tailored to your current setup. For instance, if you are the sole carer, you can opt for respite care just to have a break between duties. This way, you can continue to care for your aging loved ones without compromising your health and wellness.
Adam Jones is an advocate of quality aged care services for seniors. He writes about recent aged care trends with gusto. Adam is a firm believer of caring for those who once cared for us and providing seniors with quality aged care is one way of honoring them. If you are looking for the right aged care service for your loved ones, you can visit Arcare or use their search feature to find the info you need.