Seven Ways Families Benefit from Long-term Care HomesLong term care retirement homes provide continued care for seniors who require frequent assistance and personal attention over a number of years. This type of retirement living may be the best choice for an elderly relative but the benefits of long-term care are not limited to the senior; they extend in many ways to the family as well.
Photo by Peter McCusker
Here are seven ways that families benifit from long-term care homes:
1. Emotional Relief
The mental burden and constant worry that comes from leaving your relative alone or in the care of another friend or relative may be strenuous and in addition, working with a senior with a chronic illness, degenerative condition or a memory disorder can be emotionally taxing. In fact, a study from Georgetown University found that depression was more common in family caregivers than in non-caregivers. Knowing that your loved-one is safe and well cared-for alleviates the stress, as well as the feeling that you may not be doing enough. Long term-care can provide relief from emotional exhaustion and trained professionals may find it easier to work with your mom or dad.
2. Physical Support
Caring for an aging family member can also be a physically onerous task. Many busy family members with jobs and children of their own may not be prepared to physically care for their relative. Whether you're driving over to your parent's home or bringing them into your own, the task of providing appropriate care is not easy. Long-term care homes offer compassionate and capable staff who are qualified to take good care of seniors and unlike well-meaning family caregivers, they do not have added responsibilities such as a full-time occupation.
3. Quality Care
The care provided in a long-term care residence may be better than the care that you can provide in a family situation. With assisted living residences, forgetfulness is not as dangerous as it may be at home, as medication is administered by employed care-givers, personal hygiene is maintained and meals are regular. The equipment at care homes is often more appropriate and of course, seniors are given more personal attention than they may receive at home, all of which will reassure you that your family member is well cared-for.
4. Financial Reasoning
Although moving into a long-term care home may seem expensive, it is often less of a financial burden than the costs of at-home care. If your relative is unable to look after their own needs, the financial cost of caring for them can be very high for the caregivers. Sometimes, one family member may even give up their job and income in order to care for an elderly relative, causing more financial problems. Medical care, meals, personal hygiene, cleaning services and care provided by professionals is included in the cost of most long-term care homes and can make a positive difference in a family's financial life.
5. The Home Factor
Your relative's own home may be deteriorating which can cause many problems for the family as well, as it requires time and finances to repair. Long-term retirement living gives seniors a clean place to live where maintenance is provided. Many homes even have cultural affiliations and offer residents the opportunity to bring mementos from home. Other benefits include addressing problems such as hoarding and being able to move your relative into a care-home in your neighbourhood. In addition, your elderly relative's old home can be sold to help cover some of the extra costs of long-term care.
6. Family Bonds
It may be difficult for a senior to accept moving into a long-term care home at first but relationships are very likely to improve after the move. The relationship between senior and caregiver may have suffered because of the stress the caregiver experienced but some distance and the alleviation of mental, financial and physical anxiety can improve the relationship. Additionally, the professional caregivers working in the home may be able to help establish a better connection between family members and the senior.
7. Recreation and Community
Because they require care, seniors may experience stress because they feel like they are dependent on others. They are often forced to stay at home, and are unable to go out often, creating a sort of isolation. Long-term care homes allow seniors to feel independence and companionship. They can form new relationships, and relate to people in the same situation. As well, there are many opportunities to take up old hobbies or find new ones and programs that engage residents in being active. This new opportunity at life is beneficial not only to seniors but to their families who can see their loved-ones happy and engaging in social and recreational activities that they enjoy.
By Sonja Schweiger
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Have you had any experience with long-term care? Share your thoughts with other families in a Comment below.