As we age, daily activities sometimes get more difficult or complicated to complete. A simple task like laundry often becomes an all-day affair. It’s no secret that at some point our bodies just can’t keep up with our daily responsibilities; that’s where additional care is necessary. Today, many seniors have additional support to help them through their daily routine, whether it be at home or in a senior care facility. Regardless, knowing when to seek more care is essential for their well-being.
Below, we’ll break down how to determine you or your loved one’s care needs, and your options moving forward.
Levels of Care for Elderly Patients
When seeking care for elderly patients, there are many different levels available to suit their needs. Eligibility for certain levels of care varies depending on the state, but in most cases, if the elderly patient cannot care for themselves for an extended period of time, they will more than likely qualify for a level of care referred to as the “nursing home level of care.” This level of care is used commonly to show that a person is eligible for long-term care, and in some cases, eligible for Medicare or Medicaid assistance.
Levels of care for elderly patients are reliant upon their needs which are determined by the number of ADLs or activities of daily living. These activities consist of activities like eating, bathing, dressing, taking medication, and more.
In most cases, there is a standard of three levels of care:
This would be classified as the lowest level of care where, in most cases, clients receive intermittent care. Seniors in this level are mostly independent with their daily activities but may still require assistance, reminders, and supervision throughout the day to do their ADLs.
This level of care is a median point. While the elderly patient may still be independent in some activities, but struggle to be independent in others. For example, a senior may be able to feed themselves without assistance but may not be able to remember to take medication or to bathe themselves. This is generally more supervision and assistance to ensure they complete their ADLs without issue.
Level three is considered the highest level of care and is usually applied to seniors that have more significant cognitive impairments or needs that inhibit their ability to complete their daily activities. Those with Alzheimer’s or Dementia typically fall into this level since the diseases have a considerable effect on cognition and motor functions in the later stage of the disease.
Determining How Much Care an Elderly Patient Needs
The following criteria are considered when determining which level of care is necessary for an elderly patient. These criteria include: medical, behavioral, cognitive, and functional. Below are descriptions of each:
- Medical Needs – This includes medication administration, assistance with catheters, and IV drips.
- Behavioral Needs – For patients that struggle or have an inability to control their moods or actions.
- Cognitive Needs – Primarily focused on assistance with memory issues, Alzheimer’s, or Dementia patients.
- Functional Needs – These needs include necessary assistance to complete daily tasks like dressing, mobility, hygiene, eating, and more.
Determining the level of care your loved one needs is essential for finding a long-term solution that works best for them. This requires you to find out what their capabilities, limits, and needs are to determine if care solutions like home care, assisted living, or a personal caregiver is necessary.
Signs to look for when determining your loved one’s care needs include:
- Decreased functional abilities. A senior with physical limitations can be attributed to weight gain or loss, decreased personal hygiene, or a poor diet.
- Mobility issues.
- Do they need more assistance with daily tasks like bathing and dressing
- Are typical housekeeping activities like cooking and cleaning more difficult to accomplish?
- Parkinson’s disease can cause physical limitations and issues, from difficulty with balancing, walking, and coordination to shaking, stiffness, and more as the disease progresses.
- Mood changes. Be on the lookout for signs of loneliness, depression, mood swings, and more.
- Alzheimer’s and Dementia are diseases that affect the memory of seniors, and in the case of Alzheimer’s, it can also affect the cognitive and physical functions of the person.
- Impaired judgment from a condition, or age, can be dangerous for a senior as it is a significant reason for additional care.
- If your senior has conditions that require intravenous medications, injections, or catheter care.
- Conditions and diseases like Cancer, Heart Disease, Arthritis, and Diabetes often make daily life much more difficult for seniors and will require additional support.
The Importance of Understanding Care Levels
It’s important to understand the care levels because it ensures you or your care recipient receive the care needed. In addition, it’s also valuable when determining the type of care they’ll receive and planning for the future. For example, Alzheimer’s progresses through stages that make daily tasks increasingly more difficult. In the later stages, motor skills and memory are severely hampered, so planning for more care as the disease progresses is vital to ensure there aren’t gaps in care.
Finding a Caregiver
Once you’ve determined the needs of the care recipient, then you’ll need to find a caregiver. There are two primary ways to acquire caregiver services: privately or through a home care agency.
If you decide to hire a private caregiver, there are a few factors you’ll want to consider. First, you’ll need to perform interviews to find the right caregiver for your needs. In addition, you’ll also need to find replacements if, for some reason, your caregiver cannot work.
When you work with a home care agency, like JEVS Care at Home, we will work with you to pair you and your care recipient with a qualified caregiver, home health aide, or certified nursing assistant, depending on your care needs. Home care agencies also handle everything from scheduling, replacing caregivers when they’re sick, and ensuring they’re properly prepared to complete their duties.
How an Agency Provides the Care You Need
Home care agencies, like JEVS, work to connect you with the right caregiver to take care of your specific needs. We’ll work with you to personalize your care and tailor our services to your exact needs.
To learn more about how we connect families with dedicated, reliable, and passionate caregivers that deliver high-quality care, contact us today!