Staying at home is the preferred choice for a senior - if it's safe.

In Stanwood, as in virtually all other locations around the country, the overwhelming preference of seniors is to remain living at home. This is easy to understand since seniors at home would be staying with people they know, in familiar and comfortable surroundings, and generally in a place which has provided happy and satisfying memories over a long period of time.

However, the decision about whether or not staying at home is the best option for a senior is sometimes not so clear-cut as their preferences are, and for their own benefit must take into account other factors. When the time comes to consider this important question, the discussion should, of course, involve the elderly loved one, but should also include an honest assessment of several other criteria that should not be ignored. Here are some of the factors which should help you to decide the right course of action for an elderly loved one or parent.

What is their physical and mental condition?

A big part of any decision about where a senior should live has to consider their current physical and mental condition. If an elderly person is already showing significant signs of dementia, or already has a major physical disability which will not improve, that means they will require constant care if remaining at home. While it may not rule out staying at home, it does mean that family members must be willing and able to provide round-the-clock assistance for the senior. Either a family member must commit to being a full-time caregiver, or a professional caregiver must be retained to provide those same services and assistance. 

What is the family doctor's opinion?

The family doctor can provide a great deal of insight into this kind of assessment, because he/she is aware of the patient's medical history, and often knows the medical history of other family members as well. It's always possible that unforeseen physical injuries can occur, and that mental illness can develop at any time, but the family doctor can provide an accurate evaluation of the senior's current condition, and may even be able to offer insights on future developments. 

To what degree are they self-sufficient?

If staying at home will require that a senior spend some time alone, then he/she must be at least somewhat self-sufficient, so those periods can be managed safely. For instance, an elderly person might have a home caregiver at the premises for several hours a day, but before and after those times, is more or less on their own. During those times, the senior would have to be able to safely navigate around the home, prepare meals, carry out personal hygiene tasks, and perhaps perform at least some light housekeeping. If there are physical or mental conditions which are an obstacle to this kind of self-sufficiency, it may not be safe to leave the senior unattended.

Can home improvements be made for safety?

Some elderly people would be safe on their own at home for periods of time, as long as some home improvements could be made to ensure their safety. As an example, mobility problems might be overcome by installing grab bars in the bathroom and around the house, stair lifts could be implemented to avoid having to climb them, a wheelchair or walker might facilitate navigation, and a security system might be installed to provide instant alerts if anything were to be amiss at the home. All these enhancements carry a price tag of course, and not everyone can afford to have them installed, so if features like these are deemed to be necessary, but the family can't afford them, that would be a knock against having a senior staying at home.

What kind of care is locally available?

Many times family members are more than willing and available to provide home care for an elderly loved one, but in other cases that just isn't possible. Sometimes it's because they don't live close enough, or they have their own daily jobs, or because they aren't qualified to handle medical issues. Whatever the reason might be, care by family members is not always an option, and when that happens, professional care will be necessary to fill the gaps. 

Home care can provide excellent assistance for a senior and is readily available in Stanwood, but that may not be the case at other locations around the country. If proper professional care isn't available, then there may be no realistic way to provide the kind of care required by a senior at home. 

At the center of the whole discussion about whether a senior can remain living at home is one main consideration - will he/she be safe, and enjoy a reasonable quality of life from doing so? The specific issues raised above should help you answer this question, and should point you in a direction that will be the best option for your elderly loved one.