When possible, seniors prefer to age at home, in comfortable and familiar surroundings with family members and friends.

When possible, seniors prefer to age at home, in comfortable and familiar surroundings with family members and friends.

WHAT IS HOME CARE?

Families who find themselves entrusted with the responsibility of providing primary caregiving to aging parents are encouraged to plan ahead in order to anticipate the coming needs of an aging adult. As our loved ones age, their health, bodies, and physical capabilities also change.

Safeguarding their health & wellbeing is a first priority.

Observe and ask a few key questions:

  • is your elder still able and mobile, moderately dependent or frail, and requires support?
  • do they require assistance to go to the toilet?
  • are they still able to climb the stairs to access their bedroom?
  • do they have existing medical conditions that could deteriorate to potential complications in the future?
  • what’s the status of the memory recall? Are they starting to forget day-to-day routines?

Many home caregivers make the mistake of not thinking long term and end up becoming stressed when problems arise.

In Malaysia, caring for the elderly is still traditionally embraced through a family support system. The elderly often move in with their family members and are cared for by their children and grandchildren with support from a domestic maid or helper.

Nevertheless, there are signs this is slowly changing. Today, more families find themselves unable to cope due to higher living expenses which require both primary caregivers to work, or having to juggle between caring for their elderly family member and their own young children.

DOWNLOAD A LIST OF QUESTIONS TO ASK A HOME Care Provider

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DEFINING HOME CARE

Home care support comes in many forms; nursing care, meal preparation, transportation, social interaction, bathing, and hygiene to name but a few.

The level of support needed determines the skillset of the individual caregiver. You may require a registered nurse, a trained elderly care provider, or perhaps just a trusted individual to take your loved one to the shops or local park.

Example

Problem: an elderly person is bed bound (bedridden) and has a feeding tube inserted in the stomach.

Potential Solution: a trained home care nurse can be requested to come in and help for a couple of hours a day to manage the following: medication; deliver pain management solutions, handle wound/bedsore dressing; tube feeding, and assist in bowel and bladder care needs.

WHO PROVIDES THIS SUPPORT?

Home care organisations offer acute 24-hour care or care ‘by the hour’ services. In today’s fast moving environment, companies (some with mobile applications for smart phones) can arrange for trained and trusted carers to come to your house and look after your elderly family members.

While it is often common for families to hire a domestic helper to provide care for the elderly, it is equally important to ensure that the person who is entrusted to deliver the care has the correct knowledge and training to complete the tasks required in a safe manner.

For a list of companies offering home care and nursing services, please click (link). Alternatively, you can also engage our Wellderly consultant for a non-obligatory assessment (link).

What is the cost of Home Care?
Costing varies from RM4.28* per hour (based on RM1,200 monthly salary working 10 hours a day, 7 days a week) for a foreign maid to RM20-RM35 per hour for a trained professional registered nurse.

* Please note the maid salary does not include the registration and administration fee which is now in excess of RM15,000 at the time of print.

WHAT TYPE OF HELP CAN I EXPECT FROM A HOME CARE?

There are two broad categories of home care; medical and non-medical. Attention should be paid to both categories.

Medical Help

Medical home care refers to any practice that requires the service of a trained health professional. This may be a certified nurse or an occupational or speech therapist. After a loved one has received acute care in hospital, the transition to home may require the services of a medical professional to ensure a smooth and stress-free transition back into the home care setting.

Medical care may be required 24 hours a day, seven days a week till your loved one has recovered or until it is no longer necessary.

Duties may include wound care, dispensing medication, and physical, mental or speech-based therapy.

Medical Help

Medical Help –Image by Freepik

Non-Medical Help

Non-medical support often comes in the form of assisted daily living. Assisted daily living means that your loved one needs support to live their daily life. This may involve assistance with cooking, cleaning, washing and dressing.

Daily Personal Care

Ageing just makes everything a little more challenging when it comes to personal hygiene. The elderly may tend to avoid the discussion of personal care. It is often an uncomfortable subject and one which your loved one may look to avoid by concocting a story to sidestep the matter. They have been brushing their teeth, taking a bath and going to the toilet independently for the last 75 to 80 years, and often feel ashamed and demoralised asking for help. This type of non-medical support is very important, and needs to be handled with kid gloves and with utmost respect and sensitivity.

Socialising

Getting to the shops, the wet market, the grocer, or the hairdresser becomes a challenge. The importance of social interaction for the elderly cannot be underestimated. Studies have shown loneliness can lead to depression and contribute to dementia. Socialising does not just mean sitting with people. Socialising refers to positive and beneficial interaction and engagement with others.

Personal Finance, Bill Payment & Legal Issues

From forgetting to pay the electricity bill to more complex tasks such as Will management and arranging for power of attorney (hyperlink to Finance & Legal section), these important non-medical activities can save a lot of time and complication later.

Meal Planning and Preparation

Assistance with meal planning will ensure a healthy and nutritious balanced diet. Preparing meals becomes an uphill struggle, and a lack of appetite and numb taste buds may be the result of an underlying medical condition. Meanwhile, support can be requested to help with the cooking and meal preparation, while the convenience of a meals-on-wheels service may also be beneficial.

Medication

Taking medication on time is essential for recovery. The elderly may require assistance in remembering to take their medication on time and encouragement to follow through taking it regularly.

Transportation

Support with trips to the market, clinic, hospital, or just having a coffee with friends becomes a challenge. Lack of mobility can hamper both physical and emotional recovery.

Home Care With Dementia

Alzheimer’s and dementia care requires an understanding of the changes taking place within both the body and the brain of the elderly.

Caring for a loved one with dementia poses many challenges for families and caregivers. People with dementia have a progressive biological brain disorder that makes it more and more difficult for them to remember things, think clearly, communicate with others, and take care of themselves. In addition, dementia can cause mood swings and even change a person’s personality and behaviour.

The right approach to dementia care can support not only the person in question but also the caregiver. It will make the caregiving process more effective.

It is often beneficial to undergo a simple dementia care familiarisation course to prepare yourself for the road ahead.

Please reach out to the Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia (ADFM) for more information:

Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia (Head Office & PJ Daycare Centre)
No.6, Lorong 11/8E Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7956 2008/7958 3008
E-mail: adfmsec@streamyx.com
Website: www.adfm.org.my

Respite Care

Respite care is a foreign word to many Malaysian caregivers. So what does it mean?

res·pite
ˈrespət,rēˈspīt/
noun
a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant.

Looking after an elderly family member can be physically and emotionally demanding. Many carers continue on caring in the face of adversity as they believe they have no other choice but to care for their loved one round the clock.

Respite care provides an opportunity for carers to take a break. It usually refers to a trained carer, registered nurse, or healthcare professional coming to the home to take care of the elderly loved one while the carer gets some well-deserved rest, sleeps, goes shopping or takes a long walk to clear their head. The length of respite care varies on a case-to-case basis. It may be required once or twice a week, for a few days, or on an adhoc basis.

what is Respite Care - pixabay.com/en/hospice-caring-for-elder-help-1902144

What is Respite Care?

It is important to note that respite care is not limited to the provision of support from healthcare professionals. Family members and friends can provide respite care for the carer if the need is non-medical in nature.

In order to ensure a successful transition and peace of mind, the caregiver should develop a personalised Care Plan detailing their medical condition, his or her habits and food preferences, favourite recreational activities, and daily routine.

This ensures that the respite carer(s) can jump into action with confidence.

Download a list of questions to ask an Home Care Provider

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