Caring for an Elder Family Member with HIV at Home

In the United States alone, more than 30 percent of people who are afflicted with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) are 50 years old and above.  Statistics also show that the number of elderly patients in their 60’s and 70’s living with HIV or AIDS (Acquired Immune deficiency Syndrome) is increasing.  This is because of the fact that majority of older Americans are sexually active.

Unlike younger patients, senior people who are suffering from AIDS need constant medical care and attention because they have weaker immune systems and their bodies are more susceptible to any kinds of infections.   These are the reasons why caring for an elderly with AIDS requires more stamina, patience, and hard work.

Caring for Elder HIV Patient at Home

In most cases, AIDS victims prefer to be home-cared than to be sent to nursing homes.  The humiliation that is often associated with the disease prods them to make use of the comfort and privacy at home than to face the judging people outside.

In caring for a senior family member with HIV in your house, there are simple things that you need to do to make him more comfortable and less anxious.

  • Give respect to his privacy and independence As a person afflicted by the malevolent virus, he needs respect more than ever to enable him to survive the emotional stress that comes along with the knowledge that he is suffering from a shameful and deadly ailment.
  • Let him feel that he is always in control As the disease has robbed him all the possible controls he has on his body, let him be in charge of small things like asking his permission first before you enter his room, asking if you can sit beside him, and other small gestures that can make him feel good about himself.
  • Always ask him if he needs anything Most HIV patients are embarrassed to voice out their concerns or needs.  Instead of waiting for him to ask you, ask him what you can do to make him more comfortable.  Volunteer to help him bath, use the toilet, shave his face, and eat.
  • Always make sure the house is clean and has bright and cheerful atmosphere Keeping the whole house organized, neat, and clean has a positive effect to his moods and temperament.  As older people are cranky, maintaining a cheerful ambiance around the house can help lessen stress and fatigue.
  • Let him stay in a room located near a bathroom As the disease progresses, he will become weaker and weaker, and moving around the house will become a problem.   A bathroom near his room can make his life easier and more comfortable.
  • Make sure basic comfort stuff like towels, trash basket, extra blankets, and the like are placed near his bed As mobility will become a problem in the later part of the progression of the disease, it is recommended that all his stuffs are placed near his bed so that he can just grab them right away if ever he will need to use them.

In caring for a senior with HIV at home, it is also recommended to hire a professional nurse to take care of his medical needs.  Hiring a professional senior care giver is also recommended as from time to time you need to have a break and find time to spend with the rest of the members of your family.

References:

Caring for Someone with AIDS at Home

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/brochures/careathome/index.htm

HIV in the elderly.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11361952

Seniors & HIV

http://www.eldercare.gov/ELDERCARE.NET/Public/Resources/Factsheets/Seniors_HIV.aspx

 

About the Guest Author

Agnes Embile Jimenez is a professional blogger and writer.  She advocates in raising awareness about better senior care and living through publishing informative articles on the net with the help of TopRetirementHomes.com, a company that offers free senior care information in Glendale.

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