Home Care Services to Help the Elderly Live at Home for Longer

As we age most of us want to live at home for as long as we can. This is often possible with a little extra help and support.  

When your loved one gets older, they may need a bit of extra help with tasks such as cleaning, washing and ironing, showering, dressing and transport.
 
This doesn’t necessarily mean they need to move in to an aged care home or you need to start doing all these things for them. There are lots of support services that can help.
 
However, it can be hard knowing where and how to get this help, so we’ve put together a list of common questions and some advice on where to turn to for help and support. If you'd like to talk to someone about your options, Bupa's Aged Care Support Line can connect you with a health professional.

Support for the essentials

1.  My ageing parents are able to look after themselves but struggle with chores such as cleaning, laundry and gardening.
 
The basic level of home-care assistance involves ensuring homes are safe and clean and that gardens are tidy and free from hazards. 
 
Danielle Robertson, the CEO of national home-care service Dial-An-Angel, makes the point that basic home care is also a way of getting ageing parents accustomed to having care workers in their homes.
 
2. Dad lives by himself now and I worry he might not be eating properly as mum used to do all the cooking. 
 
Meals on Wheels delivers economical meals to people who can’t cook for themselves. For those who find it doesn’t meet their needs, care workers can also come to their homes to prepare meals.
 
3. Mum has lost her driver’s license and worries she will not be able to get to medical appointments.
 
Community transport is available for taking the elderly to medical appointments. It also often runs shopping trips and other excursions. Robertson says home-care services offer transport for people needing more flexibility than this.
 
4. Dad is no longer able to help mum get in and out of the bath. We’re worried that they both might injure themselves trying. 
 
Trained home-care workers are able to help with bathing and personal care. They can also help ensure medications are being taken and in the prescribed doses, while also keeping an eye on the clients. “Care workers are trained to notice changes in the clients’ condition and report back to family, designated representatives or the medical profession,” Robertson says.
Home care worker with elderly woman

Dementia care

1. Mum has been diagnosed with dementia. Should she be placed in residential care?
 
If a loved one has dementia you don’t necessarily need to move them in to aged care straight away. With some careful management and the right help, people living with dementia can live safely at home for longer.
 
 “Many clients remain in their own home until the end of their lives. Several aspects need to be considered, such as the behaviour and care requirements of the client, the ability to pay for care and other dependent residents in the home,” Robertson says. 
 
2. How do mum and dad access these services?
 
The government offers Home Care Packages to help people remain living at home. Depending on your loved ones needs they may be eligible for:
Your loved one’s doctor or other health professional can give you more information on these services and how to apply if eligible. 
 
3. Who pays for the Home Care Packages? 
 
The HACC and Home Care Packages are programs funded by the Australian government for eligible Australians. There may be a small fee to cover some of the costs depending on your income. 
 
For more information on costs visit the HACC website or the Home Care Package website.  
 
 If your loved one chooses services over and above those backed by the government they will need to pay for these themselves. 

Bupa aged care support line

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