an elderly woman with her caregiverIf you are looking into home care for your aging parents, consider the difference between “elderly” and “senior.”

This fundamental difference can affect the way in which your elderly parents need to be cared for and understanding this difference can increase effectiveness and quality of care.

At a basic level, the words elderly and senior are used to describe two different situations. While “senior” is used to describe an age group, “elderly” refers to a matter of capability.

Seniority denotes the actual age of a person rather than their level of physical and mental capacity. For example, while your parent may be 70-years-old, they may still have the physical and mental capabilities of a 65-year-old. Elderly refers more to the function and capability of an individual rather than their age. An elderly person, despite their exact age, may exhibit various health issues and difficulties that come with the aging process.

Of course, the level of care your aging parent needs depends on their level of functionality and independence rather than the exact age that they have reached. This makes dealing with aging parents tricky as it raises questions such as, “When should I begin to consider additional care for my loved ones” and “How do I know the right time to get assistance before my parent ends up in the hospital?” These are important questions to ask and the easiest way to evaluate the level of care needed is to monitor your parents’ mobility and their ability to perform basic, daily tasks independently. Obvious signs of need for assistance are diminishing mobility and severe loss of memory function. By monitoring daily activities and functions, you can more easily assess if home care is the right solution for your aging parents.

Even when home care is in place for your aging parents, it is important to consider the difference between being older and being elderly. In order to take care of aging parents, around the clock care may not be necessary. If your older parents are still capable of showering, dressing, cooking, and performing other basic daily chores, care may only be needed for short periods of time. But if your parents are not able to perform daily tasks, have a low level of independent mobility, have serious memory loss issues, or are at risk of falling, more intensive care may be necessary.

By providing care for your aging parents you are hoping to make the process of aging easier for your entire family. Providing the proper level of care, neither more nor less than necessary, is extremely important and will allow your aging parents to live comfortably for as long as possible.

 

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