About Home Care Support
As aging Australians, we are staying healthy and living for longer than past generations. We love our independence and being in control of our lives, with many of us remaining physically and mentally active. Even though we may occasionally require assistance, most of us do not want to become passive about our lives, and hand over control to others, just because we have reached a certain age.
Statistics support this attitude and show that there is a move away from nursing homes, towards in-home assistance, support, and care. The current average age of entry into nursing (aged care) homes is 83, and this is likely to continue rising as people live, and stay healthier, for longer.
The reasons for you or your loved wanting to remain at home are as numerous as the associated benefits below.
Quality of life
Taking a wellness approach to domestic support encourages independence and self-care, keeping us, as aging Australians, in charge of our lives for longer. This can lead to a better quality of life, higher personal satisfaction rates, and an extension of life by postponing institutionalisation, premature decline and stressors associated with aged care facilities.
Dignity and independence
Maintaining independence, participating in the community, and retaining control over our lives as we age, are vital for maintaining a healthy sense of worth and dignity.
Comforts and familiarity
Staying at home in our own surroundings, with our own things and belongings, provides a greater sense of comfort and familiarity to us as we age.
Mental and emotional health
Self-sufficiency and freedom are also vital to maintaining emotional and mental health as we age. Making major changes, losing freedoms and self-determination, are all major life stressors and are upsetting for a lot of seniors.
Living at home means that we, as older people are more in control of our lives and routines, rather than having to change and conform to the rules, policies and situations of a nursing home; such as being surrounded by people not of our choosing, or having to follow a strict mealtime or activity schedule. Maintaining our independence enables us, and our loved ones to continue to stay engaged and savour our lives in the way we choose.
Relationships and independent lifestyles
Maintaining relationships with family, friends, and community are also a major part of staying healthy and happy as we age. This includes the freedom to see, interact, and relate to people we care about, in a comfortable environment, and at our discretion.
Often a loved companion is an animal, and with a lot of aged care facilities not allowing pets, or limiting types or sizes, it can be an additional major stress to have to leave a pet behind. Staying at home longer means that our companions can remain with us.
Safety and reduced risk of illnesses
Studies have shown that not only are we (as older people), safer in familiar environments including our home, but we heal more quickly at home than in hospital or nursing home settings. Studies have also shown that there is much less chance of re-hospitalisation with home recuperation.
In addition, there is a significantly lower risk of catching infectious diseases like colds, flus or stomach bugs in our own home, compared with senior living facilities.
Lower cost of living and healthcare
Reports have shown that there are significant cost differences between residing in an assisted living facility and aging at home, with facility living in most cases being far more expensive.
The costs of living can be much lower living at home, especially if the mortgage has been fully paid and our health status allows it. There are also additional cost savings, with domestic assistance and home support services being hired only for the time and frequency required, according to your individual needs and schedule, without having to pay for unneeded services.
Evidence has also demonstrated that with aging at home, there are not only cost savings for families but also lowers costs for the government and the healthcare systems.
As a result of living healthier and longer lives, and wanting greater choice in our aged care support, the Australian Government has implemented major home support funding programs to assist in keeping us living in our homes for as long as possible.
The Federal Government has streamlined the aged care and support services through the entry-level Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP), and the more encompassing Home Care Packages Program, (which also includes clinical and health care services).