By 2027, the government projects that there will be nearly 5.2 million Australians over age 65, or nearly 18% of our population. In another ten years, by 2037, the percentage of older Australians is expected to reach 20% of the population: one in five.
We already know that quality of life is greatly improved for ageing adults if they can stay at home with in-home support and care. The longer an older person can remain independent, the better for their health and overall well-being. Supporting older relatives to continue to live at home can be accomplished by understanding their needs and providing them with the home care they need. Some older adults may need occasional or weekly care such as help running errands or cleaning, while others may need more support, including 24hour home care, 7 days a week.
What types of support do ageing adults need to remain independent?
People can live independently as long as their home is safe, and they have the supports they need. Specific in-home care supports should be designed to respond to each ageing person’s needs, whether they are physical, emotional, or mental and cognitive.
One term used by home care aides is “assistance with daily living.” As one example, as people age, they may gradually lose the ability to smell changes in food that normally indicate foods are no longer fresh. This is one small example of a challenge that comes with aging that can be overcome with help. Without that help, accidentally consuming food that’s too old to be eaten, could cause illness affecting an older person’s ability to live independently. In-home care can assist with shopping, food preparation, and food storage.
Your ability to get around as usual can also change with age. If you find that stiff joints are greatly reducing your mobility or balance, a variety of home accommodations can be added to help you get around more easily and safely. You may need to redecorate your home a bit to reduce your risk of falling, but again, home care services can help in the process.
Home care can help ageing adults to remain active and independent.
Statistics offered by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) about the lifestyles of older Australians show that only 35% of those age 65 and older have the recommended amount of physical activity. While less than half of all Australians are as active as health standards recommend (5 days a week of at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise), lower activity levels can have a greater impact on the health of ageing adults as opposed to those in younger age groups.
For example, let’s focus on physical health. In terms of physical health, home care can make a vital difference to independent living. You might be astonished to learn that only 8% of those responding to AIHW’s survey said they were getting the recommended diet of two fruit and five vegetables a day. A nutritious diet contributes not only to a healthy weight and fitness, but also helps in reducing other challenges of ageing and independence, including depression and chronic health problems including heart disease, and diabetes. Meal preparation and shopping are just two types of assistance that home care can offer.
Continuing to be as physically active as possible also goes hand in hand with maintaining social connections. Social isolation can contribute to depression, stress, and anxiety, all of which can reduce the ability to live independently. One needn’t enter a marathon race to continue to be physically active. According to Health Direct, older adults can walk, garden, or swim to maintain their activity levels and health. Home care aides are trained to help older adults to continue to be active and enjoy physical and social contact as long as possible.
How can you ensure your family members won’t put you in a nursing home?
It’s a shocking question but being candid about the realistic challenges of aging can only help improve everyone’s quality of life, including those of us who are growing older. Years ago, it seemed as though the only choice for families with ageing relatives was residential care. Yet study after study has shown that older adults have better health in all aspects while living at home than they do in a residential care facility: in common terms, a nursing home.
In addition to supportive home care, older Australians can live independently longer if they are aware of and consider physical health risks that might affect their independence. One health risk factor that could affect independence is blood pressure. High blood pressure directly contributes to the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. Any of these diseases could affect health to the point where residential care could be needed. Getting regular blood pressure checks and following doctor recommendations, including diet, exercise, and medication if needed, can reduce this risk.
Even if you are healthy, aging can naturally increase blood pressure. According to the National Health Survey, one in two Australians over age 75 had measurable high blood pressure, and 42% of those aged 65 to 74. High blood pressure is not only treatable, eating properly and staying active will help older adults to maintain their health, activity, and independence.
If you are an ageing adult, it’s not wrong to fear that your children will put you in a nursing home. This was the norm for many years in Australia. Things have been changing and continue to change, however. 365 Care was founded because its owner wanted to provide the best possible care for his ageing family but did not find help in time to prevent them from going into residential care facilities. If 365 Care’s home care services were available at the time, this would not have been necessary.
If you’re an older adult, or you’re a family member, ageing adults can continue to live independently with in home care and support that includes, but isn’t limited to:
- Meal preparation and companionship
- Transportation and mobility help
- Medication management — how much difference could it make if each pill is taken on-time as prescribed?
- Household chores
- Alzheimer’s and dementia care
- Assistance with managing government services
- Case management services
Are there 24/7 in home care companies?
Yes, there are, and 365 Care is the leading home care provider in Western Sydney. You will find that 365 Care’s pricing is transparent as well as realistic and reasonable. As our client Carmel said, having been with 365 Care since 2017, “Sometimes I need more care and 365 Care is always ready and willing to help out when I do. Nothing is too much trouble for 365 Care. All my needs are attended to by friendly, compassionate staff who understand my limitations and support me in every way.”