Aging is a process many of us find difficult to accept. Elderly adults usually associate illness with losing their independence and becoming a burden to the people they care about. As such, a good bunch of them will never speak up about what they’re truly feeling. Therefore, it may be up to you to pick up on the signs of their declining mental or physical health and decide if they need an alternative form of care.
Unfortunately, life-saving or prolonging treatments can only do so much. But hospice, or end-of-life care, helps comfort the patient during their final months or weeks. Hospice care offers patients compassionate support, but the decision to call hospice is always a personal one.
Here are a few signs that you need to watch out for if you’re considering hospice care for your aging loved one:
1. Medical Treatment Is No Longer Effective
If your aging loved ones have a terminal condition and the treatments just aren’t working anymore, they may choose to preserve their quality of life over seeking aggressive treatment, which may be taking a toll on them.
That’s where hospice care comes in.
When a loved one’s treatment is no longer effective, hospice care can provide them with pain and symptom relief, especially when they have become too difficult to manage, even with treatment.
2. They Have Been Hospitalized Numerous Times
The truth is no one likes hospital visits. Many patients, both old and young, quickly grow weary of recurrent hospital visits. Patients with terminal conditions often feel like they should be at home instead of at the hospital, where they’re missing out on special moments with those they care about.
In such a situation, hospice care can be considered since there are nurses available around the clock to address and help patients manage their symptoms or attend to them in case of an emergency.
3. Decreased Quality of Life
An almost sure sign that your loved one might require hospice care is where their level of functioning starts to deteriorate. It could be they need help going to the bathroom or getting dressed in the morning, tasks they would have been able to complete independently a few months prior.
Changes in daily activities are often a sign that a patient’s health is declining, and hospice staff can help with some of those activities, which can help the patient save their energy for other activities.
Naturally, no one wants to think about losing someone they love. As a result, many families often put off calling hospice until the final days or weeks of their loved one’s life. This is usually because they assume they want to spend a bit more time with their aging parents or grandparents.
However, hospice care can help better your loved one’s quality of life by managing symptoms of their condition. That said, should you notice any of the signs listed in this column, it may be the right time to call hospice. But to be sure, try and consult a physician to certify their eligibility.