High-quality care makes an enormous difference to the health and wellbeing of elderly patients, and it can even impact their life expectancy.
At The Good Care Group, we firmly believe that elderly people benefit enormously from being cared for in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes. A recent study by Alzheimer’s Society revealed that only 41% of care home residents rated their quality of life as ‘good’. By contrast, 90% of our clients said that receiving live-in care had improved their quality of life. (The Good Care Group Client Satisfaction survey, 2015).
Our report, ‘Improving Wellbeing through Care at Home’, goes into much more detail about the many ways in which elderly people’s life expectancy and life quality improves when they are cared for at home, and we shall explore some of the key points in this article.
Physical and cognitive conditions
Often, the existence of a medical condition (either physical, cognitive, or both) is the trigger for a care solution to be put in place.
Some of the primary physical conditions often experienced by elderly people include:
- Heart conditions
- Infections (such as urinary tract infection and influenza)
Cognitive conditions can often be complex and impact heavily on a person’s physical wellbeing.
Many elderly people experience conditions such as:
A client with one of these conditions (or another condition not given in this example) should have a bespoke care devised for them, to ensure all of their individual needs are met.
Such a plan may include:
Older people often struggle to administer their own medication, whether for physical reasons or because a cognitive condition has made the process seem overly complex. By ensuring that all medication is taken on schedule, many of the side-effects caused by missing doses can be avoided.
Research indicates that many elderly people are reluctant to report, or don’t have the necessary medical knowledge to communicate the signs of a worsening condition. An elderly person with a known medical condition should have regular monitoring included as a core part of their care plan. This process is, of course, much easier, when a live-in care team is providing 24/7 support.
A physical condition can often detract from a person’s ability to cook three balanced meals each day, and it can be difficult to change to a diet that’s tailored to the needs of older people. A high quality care plan should include nutritional support, as this will help strengthen the person’s immune system against infections, increase mental acuteness, reduce recuperation times after treatment and slow the worsening of existing medical conditions.
Older people are at increased risk of suffering serious falls, often as a result of advanced arthritis or a cognitive condition. The primary and secondary effects for this group are magnified, as the likelihood of breaking a bone increases and they can be more susceptible to catching an infection or physically deteriorating in hospital.
Our own innovative Falls Management Programme was designed to address the involvement of falls in 85% of accidental home deaths among over 65s, and resulted in a 97% reduction in falls within nine months. Therefore, falls management should be a key focus of a high quality elderly care plan.
People with dementia that move into residential care have often been found to decline severely after just six months, recording significantly reduced Mini Mental State Examination and Activities of Daily Living (ADL) scores. Physical conditions among this group tended to worsen and mortality rates increased. In contrast, dementia patients receiving care at home recorded higher ADL scores, engaging in activities that stimulate the brain and slow the deterioration process.
The benefits of care at home
Elderly people can often feel a severe emotional reaction known as ‘move trauma’ when institutionalised by force of circumstance. This can lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness and depression, which in turn have been shown to correlate with further physical deterioration and reduced life expectancy. By contrast, being cared for in their own homes gives elderly people the opportunity to remain in a comfortable and familiar environment, and retain their links to family and community.
The Good Care Group is an award-winning provider of live-in care services for elderly people. We offer a holistic care option that can support your loved-one’s physical and mental wellbeing, giving them practical support and companionship to enhance their overall quality of live. If you would like to find out more about our live-in care services, you are welcome to download our brochure or contact our friendly team today.