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Need to Know

The Difference Between Senior and Elderly and How it Affects your Care

If 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 the 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. The 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 aging.

Of course, the level of care your aging parent needs depends on their functionality and independence rather than their exact age. 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. The easiest way to evaluate the level of care needed is to monitor your parents’ mobility and ability to perform basic, daily tasks independently. Obvious signs of the 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 services are 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 can still shower, dress, cooking, and perform other basic daily chores, care may only be needed for short periods. 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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