Tuesday, 6 February 2018
Elderly home care is the fulfillment of special needs and requirements which are unique to senior citizens while they are at home. It involves a supervisory personnel support by an organization, agency or an individual providing personal care and rehabilitation services. The broad term encompasses home care services such as home therapy, home nursing, caregiving, housekeeping among others.
There is a wide variety of different types of elderly home care services found in Singapore as well as differentiating family perspectives on elderly citizens which means that elderly home care cannot be limited to any one specific practice. Some families use modern home care services by employing servants while some still prefer the traditional methods of being cared by the younger generations of the family members. It is expected that one in three people in Singapore will need some form of eldercare by the year 2030. Although robotics and home-technology will also be utilized by then to provide services and offer solutions, more home care workers will still be required.
Currently, if you walk in a hospital on a weekday, it won’t take you long before you spot a domestic worker pushing an elderly person in a wheelchair for an appointment. Research conducted by a local magazine reveals that up to 70 percent of families in Singapore hire homecare givers because they need help in taking care of their aging parents and relatives. For adult-children living in different geographical locations or those who work till late, having a home caregiver to keep an eye on their aging parents usually brings peace of mind.
Traditionally, the elderly in Singapore were often cared by young family members within the extended family. However, with modernization, most modern families are now turning to home care service providers as well as social services offered by government institutions. The main reasons for this kind of change include the geographical dispersion of family members, greater life expectancy of the elderly and decreasing family size. Additionally, more and more women are getting educated and working outside their homes.
Elderly care majorly emphasizes on personal and even social needs of senior citizens who need assistance with daily activities. It should be noted that a large portion of elderly home care falls under the unpaid market sector hence it’s important for companies to train employees to be truly customer-centered.
Types of Elderly Home Care
For many seniors, staying or living at home for as long as possible is usually a top priority. However, the natural process of aging can make it difficult over time as the body slowly loses its functionality. Home care services are beneficial in providing in-home services that can help to prolong independent living. Different agencies offer different services but the goal is the same i.e. to enhance the lives of the seniors and their families. Elderly home care services include:
Personal Care Services
• Grooming and Hygiene
These services are offered to seniors who have cognitive or physical limitations that make bath-time very difficult. They can be assisted with shaving, showering, shampooing, hair combing/ styling among other grooming needs.
• Mobility Assistance
One of the best ways of maintaining quality life is remaining active in your golden years. Caregivers usually help seniors to remain active by assisting them in getting around, from place to place, comfortably and safely.
• Physical Transfer and Positioning
As the elderly continue to age, positioning and physical movements get difficult. Getting out of chairs, wheelchairs or bed can become difficult leading to high risks of developing bedsores. Proper positioning and transferring can help to significantly reduce bedsores and other immobility related risks like muscle atrophy. Physical transfer and positioning help to facilitate proper breathing and digestion.
• Toileting and Incontinence Services
Toileting and Incontinence is a sensitive and common issue among the elderly. Without proper and constant help, Incontinence and improper toileting can lead to issues such as unpleasant odors, skin infections, and general hygiene problems. Caregivers offer compassionate and dignified help with such personal aspects that happen in the daily lives of the elderly.
• Diet and Nutrition
A healthy and nutritious diet is an essential part of ensuring that the elderly are healthy. Many seniors have medical conditions such as diabetes, blood pressure, osteoporosis or heart diseases hence they need to have prescribed meal plans that they must stick to for health reasons. Caregivers help to do this by supervising and ensuring that the elderly get proper nourishment.
Companionship and In-Home Care Services
• Conversation and Companionship
Loneliness is one of the major factors that negatively affect the elderly in Singapore. The young generation of family members are busy with their lives and even when they are at home, current technology means that most of them are glued on their phones and computers leaving the seniors with no one to talk to. Studies have shown that those seniors who are social and engaged normally have a better quality of life and low tendency of developing depression with reduced chances of cognitive decline. Caregivers can help provide company by providing friendly companionship, conversations as well as engaging in meal-time chats.
• Meal Preparation and Laundry
Daily tasks such as laundry and meal preparation can be difficult tasks to the elderly. Home Caregivers can step in and help with such tasks by preparing wholesome meals and taking care of the laundry needs such as washing, drying, and ironing.
• Light Housekeeping
They include services such as sweeping, vacuuming, mopping and dusting. Care Givers can clean the kitchen sinks, counters, appliances and taking out trash, straightening bedsheets and curtains, re-arranging and organizing drawers and closets, cleaning bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and toilets.
Other companionship and in-home care services include grocery shopping, providing transportation to medical appointments, beauty salons, barber shops, restaurants among others. Much of Singapore’s population is rapidly aging and home caregiving services are still expected to be in demand. But there is still gender discrepancies in-home caregivers with the majority of family caregivers being women. Recent research reports conducted on the demographic characteristics of caregivers indicate that over 55 percent of the caregivers are females with a huge majority lying between 45 -55 years old.