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Home care is generally non-medical assistance offers in home setting. Usually the services are hired for adults who are not in a position to perform daily activities because of one reason or another. Apart from providing family members peace of mind, the adults receiving assistance remain at the comfort of their homes compared to being in a nursing home or facility which is depressing for some. It is important to remember that home care is different from home health care. Home health care requires registered nurses and trained therapists with medical qualifications to offer assistance at home..

24 Hour Nursing Care In Own Home

Alzheimer's Care Options in San Diego

As our parents get older, we often start to notice that they are forgetting to do simple daily activities or even forgetting things from the past. This memory loss can lead to Alzheimer's or dementia. While memory loss is common with seniors, it is does not happen in all (or even most) cases. Most people can cite examples of elderly loved ones they know who are in their late 80s or even into their 90s and still have vivid memories going all the way back to their childhood.

The fact that some elderly people have been able to retain sharp memories while others experience memory loss has led scientists to study memory loss in further detail in hopes of discovering what physical and mental factors contribute to loss of memory and what is necessary to prevent it. So far, scientists have made some interesting findings.

When Does Memory Loss Begin?

Scientists believe that memory loss begins in most people toward the end of middle age and as they approach retirement. During this period, the brain begins to lose cells at a rate of 1% per year. 1% may not seem like much, and at first it may not be noticeable. But 1% compounded year after year becomes a noticeable loss in brain mass as people get further into their retirement years.

It should be noted that this is only an educated theory and does not apply universally. There are certainly those with lower levels of education and careers that don't require heavy use of the brain that still retain good memories into retirement. On the other hand, there are also people who were well educated and/or had mentally taxing careers that still develop Alzheimer's or dementia and will need Alzheimer's Care. Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan is a prime example of the latter group.

At Home Care

Working as a home health aide with mentally ill patients requires a special sensitivity to the needs of the mentally challenged. Too often, people tend to think of the mentally challenged as being somehow inferior and as such, they tend to talk down to them. However, what the mentally ill really need is what anyone else needs - they need someone who will take them seriously and make sure their needs are met while giving them as much freedom as possible.

Just What Is Mental Illness?

Before we can begin to discuss how to work effectively with mentally ill home care patients, it's important to understand what mental illness actually means. Let's start with the most basic definition and then go into a more detailed explanation. At its most basic, mental illness means that someone is incapable of functioning independently in society due to some kind of problems with how they experience the world emotionally. Exactly how this manifests itself and what the issues are do require additional explanation however.

Some indicators that a person may be mentally challenged include:

  • Inability to Develop and Maintain Healthy Relationships - Many mentally ill people find it difficult or impossible to create healthy interpersonal relationships.

  • Lack of Impulse Control - Another common problem for mentally challenged individuals is a lack of impulse control. Many mentally challenged individuals will for example do things in public or even in private that mentally sound people won't do (i.e. scream out loud at no one in particular, cause damage, public urination, etc.).

  • Inability to Tolerate Anxiety and Frustration - We all deal with anxiety and frustration on a daily basis. However, those who are mentally challenged often find that they cannot handle any (or very little) anxiety and or frustration in daily life.

  • Inability to Respect Others - Finally, many mentally ill people find it difficult to respect others, in terms of private space and or in terms of regular verbal abuse.

Your mentally challenged patients may also experience changes in behavior which are of a positive nature. Thus, it's important to note when and if such changes occur and to note changes in personality, either for the good or the bad.

While you should note environmental factors surrounding such changes in behavior, it's important not to draw conclusions on your own as to what precipitated these changes. Instead, you should note only the facts and allow mental health professionals to make such diagnoses.

Making Sure Patients are Cared For

It's important as a home health care worker working with mentally ill individuals to make sure that they are complying with their treatment regimen. This means for example that you need to ensure that the person is taking their medication on time and in the correct doses.

You must also watch carefully to ensure that dangerous behaviors do not put your patients in harm's way. When danger does present itself, you should call 911 to get emergency workers to help deal with the problems rather than attempting to deal with it on your own. For example, if your mentally challenged patient overdoses on sleeping pills, you should call 911 immediately rather than try to induce vomiting on your own.

Provide Patients with a Path to Recovery

Finally, your role as a home health care worker is to facilitate the patient's path to recovery. This means that you work with them to ensure that they will have the right kind of support to deal with their problems and that you help to keep the family involved as well in the recovery of the mentally challenged patient that you work with as a home health care worker.


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