“Quality of life” is one of those vague terms that are hard to define until it isn’t there anymore. This topic is something that Accredited Home Care wants to focus on with all of our clients, and something our clients undoubtedly appreciate. But we’re also quick to admit that figuring out what exactly that phrase means isn’t always that easy.
“Quality of life” can be used to describe what’s present in certain communities that offer ample activities, a lot of culture and a high interest in people getting out and doing things, as opposed to poor conditions where people want to or need to stay inside.
Maybe a safe, secure community may have all sorts of walking and biking trails, warm temperatures, nice weather, fun shops and friendly people, which all can positively impact quality of life. Likewise, a place with lower quality of life standards may not be as fun to visit or live in. Maybe there aren’t fun places to go or do.
When you’re talking about health, focusing on quality of life can mean effort is placed into what helps someone feel good, or at least functional at a normal level, rather than being in too much pain, the effects of medication, or other physical or mental challenges due to a certain health condition or conditions.
For instance, someone with high levels of pain may be advised to treat the pain with medication. But certain medications may make someone feel too drowsy or unable to focus. Though the pain may be reduced, it may still be difficult for someone to want to get out of bed, let alone to go somewhere for social activities.
This is the challenge that health care providers in the Encino area face in trying to treat certain symptoms or conditions but still making sure that the patient’s quality of life isn’t dramatically affected. Or if it is affected, a provider may try to make sure that any disruption is minimal.
A good example is a crutches or a cast if someone breaks a leg – it may be difficult for them to get around for a few weeks but hopefully the treatment will help the leg heal better. But when someone is talking about pain, the provider may also look at possible side effects, medical history and lifestyle to come up with the appropriate medication, dosage level or course of treatment.
Caregivers, family members or the client themselves may be part of these discussions about if or how someone’s quality of life could be affected, or be part of efforts to improve it when possible.
Focus on quality
January was considered International Quality of Life Month, which is considered an unofficial occasion for people of all ages, professions and health levels can focus on what they can to do improve their own quality of life, and perhaps find ways to improve others’ lives as well.
The Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing, part of the University of Minnesota, suggests that looking for quality of life can involve a period of introspection and interest in finding one’s place in the world.
In the center’s view, quality of life is about discovering purpose, which can eventually lead to peace and greater self-discovery.
Although some of our clients may have already found their purpose or purposes earlier in life and have been living wonderful lives ever since, the idea of finding more peace is definitely a good one to consider when considering quality of life.
Can peace come from working on building or improving relationships with family members? Can peace come from learning new skills, whatever your age? Can peace come from thinking of ways to leave a lasting legacy in your community, and actually doing something about it?
The Centers for Disease Control use the term “multidimensional” to describe all the elements that can combine to into quality of life – it can be physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, cultural and even financial.
People who analyze statistics have even come up with complex formulas to determine quality of life at every level from individual to how certain countries rank. (If you’re curious, Canada and Sweden are pretty high in many charts.) Population and policy experts and governments sometimes look at this information to see what they can do to improve conditions and their overall ranking.
The CDC and World Health Organization have also come with metrics that look more at health: the Health Related Quality of Life, which looks at conditions that positively or negatively impact individual health. These findings can also influence public policy or resources toward agencies that help certain communities.
How Home health care can help
Encino-area residents seeking home health care solutions can ask prospective caregivers their thoughts on quality of life.
Agencies like Accredited Home Care are willing to put effort into doing everything possible to help clients, starting with their physical conditions. Then, they look beyond this for ways to brighten their days in other ways. This can include taking the time during a visit to talk to every client about their lives.
Some of the available services for clients also can help other aspects of their life, everything from helping with meal planning to light housekeeping.
For more information, visit Accredited Home Care.