- by Medikoe Health Expert
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- Dec 05 2017
Elderly care-requirements that are unique to senior citizens
Elderly care, or simply eldercare (also known in parts of the English speaking world as aged care), is the fulfillment of the special needs and requirements that are unique to senior citizens. This broad term encompasses such services as assisted living, adult day care, long term care, nursing homes (often referred to as residential care), hospice care, and home care. Because of the wide variety of elderly care found nationally, as well as differentiating cultural perspectives on elderly citizens, cannot to be limited to any one practice. For example, many countries in Asia use government-established elderly care quite infrequently, preferring the traditional methods of being cared for by younger generations of family members.
Elderly care emphasizes the social and personal requirements of senior citizens who need some assistance with daily activities and health care, but who desire to age with dignity. It is an important distinction, in that the design of housing, services, activities, employee training and such should be truly customer-centered. It is also noteworthy that a large amount of global elderly care falls under the unpaid market sector.
The form of elderly care provided varies greatly among countries and is changing rapidly. Even within the same country, regional differences exist with respect to the care for the elderly.However, it has been observed that the global elderly consume the most health expenditures out of any other age group,observation that shows comprehensive eldercare may be very similar. One must also account for an increasingly large proportion of global elderly, especially in developing nations, as continued pressure is put on limiting fertility and decreasing family size.
Traditionally, elderly care has been the responsibility of family members and was provided within the extended family home.Increasingly in modern societies, elderly care is now being provided by state or charitable institutions.The reasons for this change include decreasing family size, the greater life expectancy of elderly people, the geographical dispersion of families, and the tendency for women to be educated and work outside the home.Although these changes have affected European and North American countries first, they are now increasingly affecting Asian countries as well.
In most western countries, elderly care facilities are residential family care homes, freestanding assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs).A family care home is a residential home with support and supervisory personnel by an agency, organization, or individual that provides room and board, personal care and habilitation services in a family environment for at least two and no more than six persons.
“Many studies have looked at the role of women and family caregiving. Although not all have addressed gender issues and caregiving specifically, the results are still generalizable [sic] to
Estimates of the age of family or informal caregivers who are women range from 59% to 75%.
The average caregiver is age 46, female, married and worked outside the home earning an annual income of $35,000.
Although men also provide assistance, female caregivers may spend as much as 50% more time providing care than male caregivers.
- A distinction is generally made between medical and non-medical care, care provided by people who are not medical professionals. The latter is much less likely to be covered by insurance or public funds. In the US, 67% of the one million or so residents in assisted living facilities pay for care out of their own funds. The rest get help from family and friends and from state agencies. Medicare does not pay unless skilled-nursing care is needed and given in certified skilled nursing facilities or by a skilled nursing agency in the home. Assisted living facilities usually do not meet Medicare's requirements. However, Medicare does pay for some skilled care if the elderly person meets the requirements for the Medicare home health benefit.
- Thirty-two U.S. states pay for care in assisted living facilities through their Medicaid waiver programs. Similarly, in the United Kingdom the National Health Service provides medical care for the elderly, as for all, free at the point of use, but social care is only paid for by the state in Scotland; England, Wales and Northern Ireland are yet to introduce any legislation on the matter, so currently social care is only funded by public authorities when a person has exhausted their private resources, for example, by selling their home. Money provided for supporting elderly people in the UK has fallen by 20% per person during the ten years from 2005 to 2015 and in real terms the fall was greater. Experts claim that vulnerable UK people do not get what they need.
- However, elderly care is focused on satisfying the expectations of two tiers of customers: the resident customer and the purchasing customer, who are often not identical, since relatives or public authorities rather than the resident may be providing the cost of care. Where residents are confused or have communication difficulties, it may be very difficult for relatives or other concerned parties to be sure of the standard of care being given, and the possibility of elder abuse is a continuing source of concern. The Adult Protective Services Agency — a component of the human service agency in most states — is typically responsible for investigating reports of domestic elder abuse and providing families with help and guidance. Other professionals who may be able to help include doctors or nurses, police officers, lawyers, and social workers.
- Impaired mobility is a major health concern for older adults, affecting 50% of people over 85 and at least a quarter of those over 75. As adults lose the ability to walk, to climb stairs, and to rise from a chair, they become completely disabled
- Therapy designed to improve mobility in elderly patients is usually built around diagnosing and treating specific impairments, such as reduced strength or poor balance. It is appropriate to compare older adults seeking to improve their mobility to athletes seeking to improve their split times. People in both groups perform best when they measure their progress and work toward specific goals related to strength, aerobic capacity, and other physical qualities. Someone attempting to improve an older adult’s mobility must decide what impairments to focus on, and in many cases, there is little scientific evidence to justify any of the options. Today, many caregivers choose to focus on leg strength and balance. New research suggests that limb velocity and core strength may also be important factors in mobility.
- The family is one of the most important providers for the elderly. In fact, the majority of caregivers for the elderly are often members of their own family, most often a daughter or a granddaughter. Family and friends can provide a home (i.e. have elderly relatives live with them), help with money and meet social needs by visiting, taking them out on trips, etc.
- One of the major causes of elderly falls is hyponatremia, an electrolyte disturbance when the level of sodium in a person's serum drops below 135 mEq/L. Hyponatremia is the most common electrolyte disorder encountered in the elderly patient population. Studies have shown that older patients are more prone to hyponatremia as a result of multiple factors including physiologic changes associated with aging such as decreases in glomerular filtration rate, a tendency for defective sodium conservation, and increased vasopressin activity. Mild hyponatremia ups the risk of fracture in elderly patients because hyponatremia has been shown to cause subtle neurologic impairment that affects gait and attention, similar to that of moderate alcohol intake.
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