Home care, or senior care, is the opportunity to have a screened, professional caregiver come to a senior citizen’s place of residence (whether home, senior living community or hospital) to assist with various personal care needs, companionship, meal, homemaking, etc. By allowing caregivers to assist with basic needs, the senior is able to retain as much independence as possible for as long as possible. Studies show that starting home care services prior to a catastrophic event allows the senior adult to remain independent for longer and for less cost than waiting until a catastrophic event, such as a fall resulting in a broken hip. Home care presents the opportunity to stay in one’s home as long as one desires.
What are the qualifications of a caregiver? Caregivers are available in basically three skill levels:
1. Companions – These individuals, also konwn as sitters, should have life experiences that allow them to relate well to senior adults. They help with running errands, preparing meals, shopping, writing letters, reading, light housekeeping, companionship, and medication reminders.
2. Nursing Assistant (C.N.A.) – Undergoes training and is licensed by the state. Must complete ongoing education each year and keep credentials current. These individuals provide assistance with walking, take fall precautions, and assist with bathing and dressing, as well as all the companion duties (see above).
3. Skilled Nurse (LPN or RN) – Undergoes extensive training and is licensed by the state. Is required to keep credentials current. These individuals assist with wound care, give injections, take lab draws, start and maintain IVs, provide catheter care, as well as certain other skilled tasks. Of course, skilled nurses also provide nursing assistant and companionship duties in the home setting.
It may seem confusing to determine what level of care is needed. However, most homecare companies will provide a nurse’s assessment to help you determine the best level of care. With the various levels of care available, nearly anyone can remain at home for as long as they wish.
How much does Home care cost? The cost varies by company. Home Care companies charge a variety of ways; some charge two fees, one for the caregiver and one charge for the company. Others charge a membership fee, then an ongoing rate for the actual care provided. Make sure you understand the total cost involved and what it includes.
Does Medicare cover Homecare? No. Homecare is usually either paid for by private funds or by Long Term Care Insurance.
Is it best to remain at home or move to a facility? This is an entirely personal question that each senior adult must answer. In many cases, the decision is not made by the senior adult, but rather by the family. Homecare is the solution that assists families, with however much or little is needed, in allowing the senior adult to remain in their home surrounded by things dear to them. What is clear is that an overwhelming majority of older adults prefer to, and choose to, stay at home. This is made possible by home care services delivered in the comfort and privacy of the senior adult’s home.
How do I begin using Home Care? It is actually very simple. When speaking with the Home Ccare Company you have selected, you will provide a description of your circumstances. The company should send an RN to your home and gather the necessary information. Then, you can either interview potential caregivers or simply set up the time you would like to have the caregiver come to your home. The Home Care Company will provide support and make any changes as requested in the future.