Did you know that not everyone needing long-term care are elderly? About 37% of people that need long-term care are actually 64 years or younger, with the remaining 63% of those needing long-term care being 65 years or older.* However care needs should not be defined by “age”, but rather what makes us happy and healthy in the long-run.
When people hear the words “home care” they have a tendency define it by “age”. Meaning that home care is only needed once you reach a certain “older” age. Similarly, seniors tend to think if someone is suggesting they need hearing aids, they will attach and age definition to the comment. The truth of the matter is that most families start recommending these services at an earlier age to help suggest an easier and happier life. They are not trying to “age” their parents or make them feel old. Age is just a number and your overall health is what will define your ability to live longer, happier, and healthier. When your doctor or family member recommends that you should being taking your health more seriously and understanding that your hearing, eyesight, strength, and body needs additional care, it doesn’t mean that you are “getting old” per say.
Getting older is a part of life that we cannot avoid and while there are things that we have a hard time admitting, it might be important to maintain your overall wellness to enrich your life. If we start to notice that there is instability in reaching high shelves in the kitchen, or you have slipped and caught yourself in the shower, or it is exhausting to spend the day doing laundry, it might be time to consider that extra help is needed and necessary. Just because these things are harder to do, doesn’t mean that you are so old you can’t do them at all. Rather, it might make more sense to view it as by accepting help in doing these things you are freeing up your energy to enjoy things you love to do and you are being safe and making sure you don’t get hurt.
A few comments that we commonly hear including, “I don’t think I am old enough yet for homecare, but maybe someday.” Or “It makes a lot of sense since I am so exhausted after doing my chores, but I am not sure I am quite there yet”. In both instances there is a level of understanding that it would help or be important for overall health goals, but there is probably a misunderstanding of how much it will impact their health. When we start to deny ourselves care because we think that it belongs in a certain age group we deny ourselves the ability to focus on spending quality time with the ones we love and doing things that make us happy. Additionally, if we decide that home care is not needed because we would only be having someone help with light housekeeping or meal preparation we are ignoring that there is a need for assistance so we can focus on enjoying time with friends and family or going to the senior center to enjoy an event in the community.
It might be important to stop and ask yourself: “Is how I currently live my life affecting my health and could my quality of life improve?” If you answer yes, it may be important to start considering if it is the appropriate time to start receiving care at home. We strongly recommend considering the options that are available to you as well as scheduling an in-person assessment so our care managers can understand your goals. It is important to understand that even healthcare professionals are seeing this same benefit to create goals and find a way to improve your health so you can have a higher quality life. We have trained care managers who will stop and ask you questions about what is hard for you to get done each day, and what is hindering your ability to leave your house. Once they meet with you and create a care plan with long-term goals you are one step closer to a healthier you.
Stop letting age define you and start defining yourself by your wellness and ability to enjoy life. Understand that happiness, strength, and wellness will make a bigger impact on your age definition.
*Rogers, S., & H. Komisar. Who needs long-term care? Fact Sheet, Long-Term Care Financing Project. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2003.