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The Importance of Support for Homebound Seniors | Generations Home Care
A homebound senior being cared for by a caregiver

It’s difficult to define what being a homebound senior means as there are varying levels due to social, clinical, and cultural limitations. Often people think the inability to drive defines a person as homebound, but it is so much more than that. A homebound senior faces extreme difficulty with the functions of daily living. Older people most often become homebound because of functional disabilities, cognitive impairment, and chronic medical conditions. These individuals require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as eating, toileting, bathing, and dressing, along with more skilled medical care. This makes leaving the home a challenge.

Both Medicare and Veterans Affairs (VA) services require a formal designation of being homebound to receive care and financial benefits. In order to be eligible for Medicare benefits such as nursing services, physical therapy, and medical equipment, a person must be declared homebound by a physician. There are two criteria for meeting this status. First, the individual must be unable to leave the home without assistance. Second, it is problematic for them to leave the home. The VA requires that the person must have a permanent 100% disability rating and be unable, or face extreme difficulty, leaving the home. It is not necessary that the disability is the result of military service.

Helping Seniors Thrive Despite Being Homebound

Being homebound comes with many challenges, making it all the more important to use every available resource to help homebound seniors thrive. Luckily these resources are growing due to more seniors avoiding institutional care by choosing to age in place. Civic and government agencies can also help homebound individuals access more resources than ever before to stay socially connected.

Studies show that staying socially connected is one of the best ways for seniors to remain healthy and happy. Programs such as Senior Companions and Family Visitors and Students to Seniors connect volunteers with seniors. These programs provide social engagement through conversation, reading, and companionship. For seniors looking to learn and connect with others, the American Association of Retired People (AARP) offers online courses and activities through Senior Planet. With so many digital resources available these days, Senior Planet creates a safe place for seniors to thrive and continue their education.

A healthy diet of fresh and nutritious food is essential to a senior’s overall health. When getting to the grocery store or cooking meals for oneself becomes a challenge, homebound seniors need alternatives. Many stores now offer online ordering and delivery for those who are unable to leave their home. This service makes it easier than ever for seniors to eat fresh and nutritious food without even leaving home. 

Another wonderful option is Meals on Wheels, which may be best known for delivering healthy meals to at-risk seniors. However, they also provide nutrition services, social companionship, regular safety and wellness checks, and access to a variety of other community-based services. Because of programs like Meals on Wheels, many more seniors can remain healthy and independent while aging in place.

Caregivers Improve the Quality of Life for Homebound Seniors 

A caregiver provides more than assistance with physical challenges and medical needs. Homebound seniors also benefit greatly from the social and emotional support caregivers offer. Establishing a comfortable routine benefits long-term health, reduces the risk of depression, and helps seniors maintain their exercise and healthy eating habits. Here are a few other tasks caregivers can provide for homebound seniors:

  • Housekeeping:  Homebound seniors who are unable to perform basic housekeeping chores can still live in a clean and organized home. Many in-home caretakers perform light housekeeping as a part of their responsibilities. Clients can then arrange additional house cleaning services depending on their needs.
  • Reduce Risk of Social Isolation: Homebound seniors are at greater risk for suffering from the negative effects of social isolation, such as depression and an increased risk of dementia. For these individuals, caregivers can provide companionship and offer the assistance necessary to engage with their community more easily. 
  • Meal Prep: Seniors are often at risk for consuming less wholesome and nutritious food as they age. Seniors need to maintain a healthy diet to reduce serious health problems.  
  • Medication Management:  Many homebound seniors will have multiple medications to keep track of, and mistakes or forgetfulness can have serious consequences. In most cases the best way to ensure that a senior is taking their medication properly is with the help of a regularly scheduled caretaker.
  • Mobility: A caretaker can provide increased supervision for seniors who are at risk for falls. Seniors tend to be less anxious and more likely to increase physical activities when they know that help is nearby.
  • Personal Care: Aging people often need help with the simple acts of brushing their teeth, combing hair, and changing clothes. Helping to maintain personal hygiene increases self-confidence and decreases depression.

About Generations Home Care

Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and more independent life.

Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.

Our Specialty Services Include:

  • Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
  • Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
  • Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
  • Veteran’s connection to care program.
  • Live-in services and couples care.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.

About the author - Josh Friesen

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