Adult family homes have always been a senior-favorite housing option. For one, they’re inside actual homes, so for some seniors it’s just a matter of moving down the street, but for another, there’s an – almost even – resident to staff member ratio; what that means is, each staff member is guaranteed to know your elder by name. They’ll undoubtedly know their medication, routine, likes/dislikes, and personality. The caregivers become a part of their “family” rather than standoffish staff members. In short, they’re called “adult family homes” for a reason.
However another huge reason to move to an adult family home is what they help prevent. In this article, we’re talking about “hospital visits” in particular.
Many elders wind up in the hospital due to falls, broken hips, strokes, and seizures, etc. The scary part is, when elders are living alone, it’s up to neighbors and relatives to know if something is wrong, which isn’t always easy. Some adult children live in other states; some neighbors don’t know enough to get involved. It’s not always clear when an elder may be in a dire situation and this can only spell bad news for seniors.
If the senior cannot reach a phone right away, they may need to be taken to the ER, which is not only bad for their health, but can triple the cost of a doctor visit. Fortunately, adult family homes keep seniors OUT of the hospital and here are 5 ways how.
1. Nurses On-Site
In order to open an adult family home, you need to have a government license to do so. In order to qualify, you need to be a specialist in gerontology or a registered nurse. In either situation, elders are guaranteed to have expert care specialists for their needs.
Plus, hypothetically, if an elder fell in their own private room, one of the other residents would assuredly hear of it. You have an entire network of people looking out for each other. So whether it’s the nurse on-site, or a friend next door, no elder needs to worry about being unreachable.
2. Senior Accessible
One of the first things required of adult family homes (AFHs) to be licensed by the government is they need to be made accessible for all elders. This means ramps for those who cannot manage stairs; grab bars in bathrooms; easily accessible rooms without mess, clutter, or fire hazards.
The houses are retrofitted for seniors. This means that you don’t run the risk of a shaky railing if you’re headed upstairs. You don’t need to worry about slipping in the tub. You don’t need to throw out your back dragging the trash bin to the curb.
AFHs make seniors feel right at home, keeping them out of hospitals.
This one is particularly important. Let’s say something happens that requires a hospital visit. When your caregivers get you to the hospital, the doctor is going to start asking questions, and your caregivers have ALL the answers.
Seniors living in adult family homes have staff who know their routine, their diet, their medications and exercises. When the doctor asks, they can provide all the information which makes the diagnosis much faster and easier. For seniors who need a hospital visit, this means they can get in and get out in half the time it would take for a senior living on their own.
Seniors living on their own may not know the name of their medications, worse, upon arrival to the hospital, they may not know how to communicate what happened. When they ask questions about diet, the senior may not know, or give nondescript answers “my stomach hurts” when they really mean “lower abdominal pain”. With caregivers in the home however, it can turn a multi-night hospital stay into a one-night visit.
4. No More Moving
One of the worst things that can happen to seniors living on their own is, after a hospital visit, the doctor can deem it necessary for the elder to move. Essentially, their treatment for recovery is to move out of their home and into a senior care facility.
Now doctors can’t force a senior to move, much like you can’t force someone to take medicine to get well soon. As a result, many seniors wind up in the hospital again, and again because they don’t want to move. Some even avoid seeing the doctor, even when they have injuries and ailments, simply because they don’t want to be told they need to move. Of course, odds are, if seniors don’t get checked out, the illness will worsen which means more hospital time.
With adult family homes, you already have a home to go back to.
5. Maintain Health
Finally, in adult family homes, elders can better maintain their health because there are caregivers literally next door. Conditions seldom worsen, and if they do, it’s not nearly as fast since the caregivers and nurses catch on quickly.
For a long and healthy life, adult family homes are the answer for many seniors. In the long run, they help save costs on hospital visits as well.