Elder Care - What You Need To Know

Elder Care - What Is It?

Elder care, or senior care, is the act of fulfilling the needs unique to older persons. This is a broad term that typically includes such things as home care, hospice care, nursing homes, adult day care, long term care and assisted living.

How elder care is actually accomplished varies widely from one country and culture to another, even within single countries by ethnicity and income level. Elderly care must take into account the personal and social needs of senior citizens as well as the physical assistance they may need for daily activities. The care needs to be rendered in such a manner that the dignity and comfort of the patient are foremost.

This website targets care for seniors generally in the United State and specifically in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Elder Care - Scope of the Issue

Today about one in eight Americans are 65 years old or older and may be soon in need of some level of senior care. The percentage is expected to grow substantially in the coming decades. Nearly one fourth of all medical spending goes toward the last year of life of senior citizens in the US.

Most senior care facilities are publicly owned and operate for-profit but many are also private and non-profit. Given a choice most seniors state that they would prefer to remain in their home, "age in place", rather than go to a senior housing facility of some sort. As seniors age and lose physical and mental abilities this is not always possible.

An assisted living facility may be less expensive than a nursing home for individuals who only need help from time to time.

The stress, or expense, of home care for seniors is often so high that aging in place is not an option. Respite care, where a hired person fills in for a primary care giving family member or friend for a short while, can be a good solution in some cases.

What Level Of Elder Care Is Needed?

It is important to understand whether medical or non-medical care is required. Mostly seniors only require some level of non-medical care in order to maintain some level of independence and quality of life.

In the United States most insurance policies and Medicare do not reimburse for non-medical assistance. Long-term care insurance, although generally very expensive, will generally pay a certain daily sum for non-medical assistance.

Elder care should always be aimed at created the greatest degree of independence and mobility in seniors. The loss of ability as one ages can be very frustrating and lead to depression. Caregivers need to be encouraging and not unconsciously cause or allow seniors to become more dependent than is actually necessary.

Exercise and strengthening programs can often vastly improve mobility in the elderly and delay the time when more intense care is necessary. Strength, balance and mental acuity all can improve with increased physical activity. Poor nutrition is another area where a few changes can make a big difference. Seniors often tend to get lazy about many day to day health maintenance chores as they get to be more difficult.

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