What is home care and what can I expect?

As people age, they may find difficulty completing daily tasks that they once completed with ease.  Family members and neighbors may pitch in to help, which may become overwhelming for everyone involved.  You know that something has to be done but what can you do?  One solution is to seek help from a home care agency or private duty agency.  What is the difference between both and what can you expect from each?  Actually they are one in the same but go by various names but the premise behind them are the same.  Providing additional supportive services in the home for you or a loved one to assist with the daily activities that have become difficult and if continued can lead to an unsafe situation.

Home Care has many options. The agency will work with you to develop a plan of care allowing individuals the ability to age in place in a safe and secure environment.  Many agencies have a minimum number of hours required daily.  Depending on the agency you choose times of service can vary from 1-4 hours minimum per day up to 24 hour care. Make sure your agency is State licensed and the employees are supervised and trained by a skilled nurse.  Also ask if criminal and other background checks are required and how long is their training program.  Are there any lifting restrictions? Does the agency have general liability insurance and workers compensation insurance coverage for their employees? How long have they been in business and how is the caregiver’s time in the home documented.  The decision to hire a home care agency can be met with resistance, since nobody wants to give up their independence or feel that they are losing control of their daily lives.  Many older individuals do not mind a family member’s help but hesitate to let a stranger come in and “take over”.  Home Care professionals understand this and are willing to meet with the older person to explain their services and reassure the individual that his or her wishes will be accommodated as much as possible. 

A variety of services are available in home care including but not limited to the following:

  • Personal Care- Bathing, dressing and grooming
  • Meal Preparation
  • Medication management and reminders
  • Light housekeeping
  • Errand services and grocery shopping
  • Conversation and companionship
  • Transportation
  • Laundry assistance
  • Mobility and transfer assistance and monitoring

The in home care plan should provide support while maintaining the individuals dignity and allow them as much independence as possible to promote aging in place.  It is difficult to hire a home care agency for the first time for your loved one, but once the plan is in place and the senior gets to know their caregivers that are visiting the home daily, weekly or monthly you will see a transition occur as they start to look forward to seeing their caregivers on a regular basis. 

Services can be paid in a variety of ways including private pay, Veterans Administration pension benefit, many in home support programs through your local Area Agency on Aging and through a long term care insurance policy.  The agency can help you through that process.

If you do your research and ask the right questions an in home caregiver can provide piece of mind while helping you or your loved one maintain your independence in your home.

In the next blog entry, we will be discussing home health care and what to expect.

Submitted by Karen Curry, Director of Community Relations at Caring Mission Home Care and TCM Home Health. Visit us on the web at www.thecaringmission.com or check us out on facebook for more helpful articles and tips at www.facebook.com/caringmission  or give us a call to speak with a caring professional at 1-866-922-7464.

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