You already know that aging in place is an ever-growing trend for today's seniors. (If you didn’t, you can catch up on all the details regarding aging in place here. If there is an aging adult in your life who is eager to stay in the comfort of their own home whilst maintaining their independence, the time will most likely come when you need to discuss home care service options.
Oftentimes, the burden of caring for an aging loved one falls within the family. The issue arises, however, when the responsibilities related to caring for a loved one becomes overly challenging, time-intensive and/or interferes with the primary caregiving family members’ own need to care for themselves and their family. Home care services allow family caregivers to take a step back and confidently get help from a care professional. At the same time, these services also allow seniors to remain in their home when they begin to need extra assistance with daily activities. Home Care providers are available to provide a myriad of services for aging adults, and can do so in part-time, full-time or live-in capacities. In this article we will discuss the variety of home care services available, so you can choose the right services to fit you and your family’s unique needs.
When we discuss home care, it’s important to clearly delineate between medical vs non-medical care as this distinction will play a role in how specialized of a caregiver you need to look for.
On the whole, non-medical related home care is about providing a senior the support they need in order to maintain their independence and as such, includes a wide range of basic caregiving tasks.
Generally this category includes any assistance that goes towards the running of the household. This can include things like laundry, housekeeping, running errands, handyman services or gardening. In-home care workers can also help with bill paying, making and keeping track of appointments and more.
Non-medical personal care aims to assist the aging adult with any of the daily activities they might need help with. This might include bathing, dressing and/or grooming. If mobility issues come into play, this also falls under the category of personal care. Nutrition is considered personal care as well, so many home care aids can also shop for and prepare nutritious meals.
A category all its own, an aging adult might need assistance in getting to the grocery store, their appointments, religious services, social engagements, and more. Transportation is considered a non-medical home care service. These non-medical types of care can range anywhere from a few hours a day all the way to full-time live-in care. Think of non-medical care as the perfect option for an aging adult who needs some assistance in order to live at home safely, but does not require specialized or skilled nursing care.
Medical care or health care is that which requires specifically trained professionals to provide care for advanced or specialized needs. These sorts of services are usually done under doctors orders.
Home health care includes primary health care but also things like caring for and managing chronic diseases such as heart conditions, arthritis and diabetes, or cognitive conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, among others.
Skilled nursing care is also considered medical care when the patient requires post-op or rehabilitative care, or when a therapist needs to come to the home to provide occupational therapy, physical therapy and/or speech therapy. Cancer support is also considered medical care.
Skilled medical care is also necessary when a senior requires assistance with specialized medical machinery like a ventilator, or with feeding tubes, catheters, injections or blood draws, or the administration of medication, etc.
At the end of the day, part-time non-medical care is an excellent option for seniors looking to age in place. Not only is it a great way to get started with some help in the senior’s home, (especially if the aging adult is hesitant about home care), it can also easily be expanded as the senior’s needs require it. Many home care agencies will even let you begin with a trial run of services, so that the aging adult can experience the many benefits of assistance before making a long-term commitment.
Home care services provide extra companionship alongside the assistance with daily living activities. Part-time care allows seniors to stay in their own home for as long as possible, in a clean, safe living space.
Home care services are helpful for the senior’s family as well, as it can take some of the challenges off of the family caregiver’s shoulders and gives them the piece of mind that a caring professional is making sure their loved one is well taken care of and their needs are met.