HIV/AIDS has been called by some “the forgotten disease,” which isn’t much comfort to the 1.2 million people living with it in the U.S. and more than 35 million globally. Though research, education and access to different medication combinations have been able to reduce its spread and lower the number of U.S. AIDS cases from their peak in the 1980s, it’s definitely is still around. At Accredited Home Care, our staff is very much aware of HIV – and we’re ready to help!
We’ve been offering quality home health care to residents in and around the Glendale area for 35 years, which means we’ve assisted thousands of people of all ages battling the disease, including some who have been able to manage their medical condition well for years.
We also know that older patients with either disease often need even more care and attention. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 26 percent of those with diagnosed or undiagnosed HIV infection are 55 and older, and 40 percent of those aged 55 and older were diagnosed with AIDS at the time of their diagnosis.
This month is a perfect time to draw more attention to HIV and those battling it, along with letting them know that there is help out there and they’re definitely not forgotten.
Sept. 18 is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day – it’s not a celebration by any means, but a large public opportunity to tell people that help is available for everyone and that the government remains committed to finding a cure, even if there isn’t the visible fanfare and red ribbons everywhere that there used to be when HIV was just coming into the public consciousness.
This information campaign is also designed to reduce some of the stigma that still surrounds the virus and may keep people, especially older ones, from wanting to seek help at any point in their illnesses.
Available Home Health Care Services
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has called the HIV/AIDS epidemic “Forgotten but Not Gone.” Regardless of the current perceived lack of public attention into further treatment and resources, it’s a disease where older patients still need access to quality care and resources in their local communities.
A universal cure may still be years or even decades away, but patients with the diseases today can still benefit from all types of health care services. These can vary by individual and the disease’s progression.
Accredited Home Care is always happy to offer home health care options from trained professionals for those who may not want to or may not be ready to relocate to an assisted living community.
These can include:
- In-home caregiving. With a goal of helping clients maintain independence, caregivers can visit on a regularly scheduled basis to offer all types of help, from meal preparation to mobility assistance, from light housekeeping to transportation to appointments. Even laundry and grocery shopping can be available. There’s no weekly minimum number of visits, and schedules and services can be flexible based on the client’s condition and care needs.
- Professional therapy. HIV patients may have other health challenges as well, so home health care services can benefit these as well, such as physical therapy, speech therapy or occupational therapy. Patients who need more advanced care, such as injections, or catheters, can receive it. Home exercise can provide physical activity, whether it’s helping a specific injury or condition or just assisting overall wellness.
- Social work. Every community has different levels of HIV services and specialties, from medical care to resources for medication and support groups. For some, it could be a chronic disability that lasts for years, so there are also financial concerns. Trained social workers can give patients and their families the run-down on what to expect or where to get help.
- Support. Because the Accredited Home Care staff has been familiar with HIV and AIDS for decades, we know that people with either of these diagnoses always have a lot of concerns about their present and future. We also know that not everyone around them understands what they’re going through, and some older patients may feel especially isolated. So we’re always happy to listen anytime anyone wants to share their thoughts or concerns.
As the disease progresses, home health care professionals are flexible in offering different types of services, including pain management. They also can share observations with a primary provider.
How to take part
One of the more valuable things to come out of National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day is a sense of how many people are affected, whether it’s working on a cure, providing education to prevent its spread, raising funds or dealing with it as a patient or care provider. While patients may sometimes feel alone or perhaps only encounter fellow patients, the day is an opportunity for everyone to know that there’s plenty of activity taking place.
People can find ways to show their support here, or get involved in their local communities. They can even post their own testimonials online or decorate their sites social media with digital ribbons.
The team at Accredited Home Care encourages Glendale residents to also use the day as an opportunity to learn more about home health care options.