It’s no secret that the majority of seniors prefer to stay within their home as long as possible rather than join a senior living community. If you or your loved one share this desire but could use a bit of help with daily activities and tending to chores may find home health care options for seniors appealing. Home caregivers can provide a range of services ranging from non-medical care such as companionship and assistance with activities of daily living to in-home medical care for those with acute or chronic health conditions. Workers can be employed to provide full-time care or part-time care depending on the family’s needs, and these roles are typically filled by companion caregivers, homemakers, health care aides, certified nursing assistants and registered nurses.
For example, when family members need a respite from typically caregiving duties, a home care worker can fill in as needed. Another common reason people request home health care is right after a surgery or injury has occurred and seniors need medical help such as wound care, medication dispensation, and assistance with daily activities while they recover. Medical and care providers including physical therapists can offer most of the care necessary in these situations to allow seniors to remain in the comfort of their own home and minimize the need for outings to get to appointments.
A senior’s mindset and level of happiness appears to play a vital role concerning overall health. According to a number of studies performed in recent years, seniors who enjoy greater independence through home health care visit doctors 25% less often than those who don’t have these services. Even more interesting is the fact that home care beneficiaries with dementia related conditions made 49% less doctor trips. The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reported a study indicating that receiving in-home care after hospitalization versus no care can reduce the chances of re-hospitalization and actually extend one’s lifespan. These incredible benefits can be attributed to a number of factors, including the fact that there is less risk of infection within the home versus a hospital or facility.
Furthermore, seniors with in-home care are less likely to have an accident or injure themselves performing daily tasks like driving, bathing and cooking. In situations where medical care is needed, a licensed in-home health care provider can offer immediate assistance—an invaluable service when time is of the essence. Home care staff also provide companionship for seniors which keeps their minds active and engaged, and it’s not unusual for caregivers to become lifelong friends with some of the seniors they care for. These connections are invaluable sources of hope and inspiration for many elderly individuals, especially those with memory related conditions. Beyond the health benefits, there are three additional key perks of in-home health care for seniors:
As mentioned, there are two primary types of senior home care providers: those who provide only non-medical assistance and those who are qualified to offer medical related care.
Typically filled by homemakers, companion caregivers, and home health aides, these individuals are not qualified to administer medications of any type but can remind seniors when it’s time to take them. Companions and homemakers can only provide non-hands on services like companionship, running errands, cooking, transporting beneficiaries, and helping with chores around the house. However, home health aides undergo training that allows them to engage with seniors and assist with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, eating, grooming and helping seniors with mobility issues get around safely.
Medical home caregivers such as vocational nurses, nursing assistants, registered nurses and sometimes physical therapists are ideal choices for seniors who need greater levels of care, suffer from dementia, are in hospice situations or are recovering from an injury or surgery. These caregivers can provide the same services as non-medical caregivers with additional abilities to assist with medication dispensation (including injections), wound care, monitoring vital signs, managing catheters and IVs, and in certain cases even rehabilitation exercises.
There are two primary ways to find in home caregivers: go through the process of hiring privately, or by using an agency. (You can find reputable agencies near you now—just enter your zip code or city in the search bar above.) There are many benefits of using the services of an agency, as the process of hiring home caregivers individually can be time consuming—and you’ll need to hire more than one. Here are some essential steps that agencies handle that you’ll want to also do for each private hire.
Once all of those bases are covered and you’re down to a few candidates, you’ll want to have several interviews with those individuals or have a meeting with your chosen agency to discuss your loved one’s very specific needs and preferences. Explain any dietary issues, physical disabilities, memory and/or medical conditions, transportation needs, the level of home maintenance needed and any other situations that are vital for caregivers to be aware of and trained to handle.
There are numerous factors that determine the cost of senior home care with the primary one being your location. Cities with higher costs of living call for higher wages for employees, so home care in a rural or low-cost city will be lower than care in places like New York City or Los Angeles. As a national average, home health care costs approximately $16-23 per hour with the higher end of the spectrum going to medical providers such as registered nurses. Using an agency may seem more expensive initially, but considering that they handle all the background checks, payroll, taxes, insurance and so on, they are well worth the peace of mind for most families.
There are a number of ways to get financial assistance or pay for home care. Some of the most commonly utilized include:
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