Home Health Care
Senior Home Care Guide
If you’re like the majority of seniors, you probably want to live at home for as long as possible. You like your feeling of independence. Home care for seniors is healthcare and/or personal care support that’s provided in-home. It is designed to delay or prevent moving to a nursing home or assisted living center. The thought of paying for an assisted living facility makes your heart flutter. But there are some activities of daily living (ADLs) like dressing, bathing driving or grocery shopping that can become difficult for some seniors. In-home care provides seniors with home health care, non-medical care and even companionship. You keep your independence and your house. In-home care professionals come to you. And with 78 million baby boomers starting to retire at a rate of 8,000 a day, the demand for in-home care will only increase, meaning more competition, better service and lower prices.
Why Senior In-Home Care and What to Expect?
One survey shows that 90% of seniors want to stay in their homes as long as possible. Your home is where you’re comfortable. It’s what is familiar. It provides comfort. If you move out to an assisted living community or nursing home, you’re starting over. You may have to room with a stranger. With in-home care, you’re able to remain as independent as you can be. Independence is a psychological boon, especially when the effects of aging are taking place. For example, you have hip replacement surgery. And instead of heading to a nursing home for care, you go back home, where a physical therapist helps your recovery. And a home health aide tends to your home until you can. The surroundings are yours. You sleep in your bed. All of this familiarity can help with your recovery. One study found that those who received in-home care visited the doctor 25% fewer times than those that didn’t receive in-home care. Clients with Alzheimer’s or other dementia diseases, made almost 50% less trips to the doctor.
As a team, home care workers can deliver most eldercare services that hospitals provide. Workers can be hired for complete caregiving needs, or they can provide respite (rest) for the person’s spouse or other regular care provider. Most home care workers have the following job titles:
- Health Care Aide
- Registered Nurse
- Companion or Homemaker
Physical therapists, social workers and other specialists make home visits too, as do charitable volunteers.
Home care has important benefits compared with alternatives. For example, compared with recuperating alone, receiving nurse-directed home care after hospitalization is associated with longer life and a lower risk of rehospitalization, according to a study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The same study found that because rehospitalization was less likely with home care, total medical bills for heart failure patients were about 35% lower.
- Greater Convenience
- Better Quality of Life
- Lower Medical Bills
Examples of elderly home care services include:
- Monitoring heart rate and blood pressure
- Caring for wounds from injury or surgery
- Managing IVs and catheters
- Providing physical and cognitive therapies
- Educating patients and caregivers
- Preparing meals and cleaning the home
- Providing transportation
- Providing companionship
Additionally some of the best home care agencies offer enrichment programs that are tailored to each customer or patient. For example, a senior’s customized home care enrichment plan might include playing word games, painting, taking walks and attending church with her caregiver.
Types of Senior In-Home Care
Not all in-home care is the same. There is service for any kind of need.
Licensed Medical Professional Care
For example, a man shows signs of Alzheimer’s, but is otherwise physically healthy. He may just need help with paying his bills, getting to appointments, etc. He won’t necessarily need medical help yet. Licensed medical professionals can include physicians, physician’s assistants (PA), nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and some specialty home health aides who work under the direction of a physician.
A recent survey by Home Instead Senior Care of over 1,600 caregivers showed the following services used by clients:
- 60% used home-health nurses
- 59% used physical therapists
- 32% used occupational therapists
- 37% had at least one in-home visit from a PA or nurse practitioner
- 17% had an in-home visit from a physician
Non-Medical Paraprofessionals Care
Non-medical paraprofessionals include as home health aides, personal care attendants, homemakers and companions. Home health aides provide hands-on care and assistance to with ADLs (see below). They can also help with cooking, shopping and laundry.
Homemakers or companions provide services such as light housekeeping, transportation, and companionship. These activities are known as instrumental ADLs (see below). People with Alzheimer’s will often use a companion to assist them.
Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
- Oral Care
- Walking or using a wheelchair
- Change linens
- General shopping
- Meal preparations
- Managing money
- Medication management