While home care services are available on the Coast, moving into a nursing home doesn’t have to be the end of the world.
While home care services are available on the Coast, moving into a nursing home doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Contributed

Help is at hand for twilight years

AS the years creep on, the most basic tasks, easily completed in youth, can become nothing but a nightmare.

The simple act of making the bed, showering or changing a light bulb can seem a task too difficult to achieve alone.

Falls and maintaining proper nutrition can be a real problem.

Buderim's Linda Delamotte was a registered nurse in a previous career, and now runs home help service Your Home Care.

"Mental health can deteriorate when (older people) move out of their homes," Ms Delamotte said.

"(We help with) all logistic things that make it really stressful."

She said that with a little assistance, life could become more manageable and pleasant for those with limited mobility or chronic health issues.

Aroona's John Davis, and his wife Pamela, both 77, live independently, but are starting to feel the effects of age and have used St Ambrose's services.

"There's lots of things that they help us with," Mr Davis said.

So far, the Davises have only made use of home help services about half a dozen times, mostly to modify their home to make it easier to get around.

With the help of government funding via home help programs, they have installed handrails by toilets and in the shower, and built some extra steps.

"If we need light globes changed for us, they do that for us," they said.

Ms Delamotte said that home help could be provided for as much or as little time as needed.

"We've got a number of elderly patients we only visit an hour a day," she said.

Ms Delamotte said a quick visit every day or two to help with showering, making the bed or washing clothes could help the elderly maintain independence, and start each day afresh with dignity.

"Everyone wants a clean bed to sleep in at night," she said.

Ms Delamotte said when it came time to move to the more intensive care of a nursing home, early preparation was the key for those in need of care, and their loved ones looking out for them.

"A year (ahead) would be a safe time (to let someone know they may need to go to a nursing home)," she said.

"That gives them a year to adapt to the idea themselves."

She said loved ones should look out for warning signs that it may soon be time to start talking about care options.

"When you visit and you can see that their house is becoming unruly … if they can't maintain their nutrition," Ms Delamotte said.

"Also when personal hygiene starts to reduce or suffer."

Ms Delamotte recommended visiting several Sunshine Coast facilities to see which one would provide the right level of care and had the right feel.

"It's the fear of the unknown," she said.

She said conversation focusing on the benefits of a higher level of care could make the transition between independent living and a life in a nursing home less painful for all concerned.

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