• SeniorNews

Check On Health During the Holidays

By SSM Health

Getting together to share a meal, open gifts and spend time with those we love is often the highlight of the season. For many, the holidays are a chance to go home and spend time with parents, friends and family who they don’t get to see as often as they would like during the rest of the year.

For children of aging parents, a holiday visit can often be the first time there is an inkling that maybe mom and dad aren’t doing as well as they could be. Perhaps they have fallen or aren’t as steady on their feet as they once were. They may have lost or gained weight. Maybe they are a little more forgetful than they used to be. They could be having a hard time navigating everyday tasks that used to be easy. They might not be managing a medical condition or their medications as effectively as they once did.

If your holiday visit has you concerned, home health services may be able to help. While the goal of each type of home health care is the same - to help keep people at home - the level of care provided depends on the unique needs of each individual.

Non-medical home care assists with personal care like dressing, grooming, bathing and other activities of daily living. This type of care can also help with meal preparation, transportation or medication management. Non-medical home care can benefit people who do not qualify for skilled home care services, but who require increased day-to-day support due to their physical or cognitive needs.

Skilled home care provides patients with medical care in their home. It is provided by a licensed home health agency and must be “prescribed” by a physician. Skilled home health care can provide nursing, physical, occupational or other therapies, and medical social work. This type of care can benefit those who are recovering from an illness or injury, people who have recently had surgery, or those who are dealing with a chronic health condition.

Palliative care is available for people who are having difficulty dealing with the symptoms of their chronic and/or terminal condition(s). Patients receiving palliative care are still able to receive curative treatment and do not have to have a limited life expectancy.

Hospice is a special type of care for those dealing with a terminal illness and whose physician estimates they have a life expectancy of six months or less. Care is focused on managing symptoms, keeping the patient comfortable, and providing emotional and spiritual support to both the patient and their family.

Hopefully your visit home finds your family healthy, happy and doing well. But, if you think your aging loved ones could benefit from a little bit of assistance, act now before a small problem develops into a big one. Getting home health assistance can drastically reduce the risk of a more serious illness or medical condition later on, helping to ensure mom and dad are home for the holidays this year and in years to come.

SSM Health at Home is a nonprofit organization providing a variety of comprehensive home care services, including: home health, hospice, medical equipment, infusion pharmacy and community health. For more information please visit or call 800-924-2273.


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