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How Much Home Care Does Your Loved One Need?

May 6, 2016

How Much Home Care Does Your Loved One Need?

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According to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), nearly 5 million people utilize home care services annually. Home care is specialized medical care that is provided at home and is especially good for those that have trouble leaving the home or wish to age in place. For seniors that don’t require specialized medical care but do need assistance around the home, personal care is another option. There are a large variety of care types available, so it is best to determine if home care is the best option for your loved one and then how much care is necessary.

Home care services

No matter the level of care you need, there is a home care option for you. Here is a list of the different services you can receive with in-home care:

  • Skilled nursing care
  • Therapy
    • Physical
    • Occupational
    • Speech
  • Home healthcare aides
  • Social workers
  • Nutrition and diet help
  • Medication assistance

Signs Your Loved One May Need Home Care

Even if you are the primary caregiver for your senior, depending on their needs, it may be time to seek help from another home caregiver. While home care is available to a large number of seniors because of the range of care options available, it is not for everyone. Here are some signs that your senior may need personal home care:

Activities of Daily Living

  • Trouble getting in and out of bed, off the toilet, etc.
  • Difficulty moving throughout the home
  • Falls
  • Decreased driving skills
  • Cluttered and unclean home
  • Declining nutrition and hygiene

Medical/Medication Management

  • Managing medications
  • Mild wound care
  • Difficulties controlling pain
  • Oxygen
  • Trouble following specific diet or fluid consumption

Medical Conditions and Treatment

  • Recent surgery
  • Chronic illness with instability
  • Combination of diseases
  • Changing medications
  • Confusion or memory loss
  • Infection

How much home care does my loved one need?

The amount of home care required depends on what medical and non-medical attention they need and their specific situation. The good thing about home care is that the services can be individually personalized. You can hire a home caregiver to visit just a couple hours a week, or you can hire a live-in nurse aide to provide 24-hour care. Whether your senior just needs some companionship or they need something more involved like skilled nursing care, there is a home care option that will fit your needs.

Frequency of care

You'll need to determine how often your senior will need in-home care. If your loved one only needs help with managing medications, someone can come to the home one day a week and layout what time and what day the medications should be taken and how they should be taken. If they need more help than that, such as help with mobility and cooking and cleaning, there are options for personal care helpers to visit a few times a week.

The frequency of the care might be just one day a week to help with cleaning and other tasks around the house such as laundry, two days where cooking is done and instructions are left regarding reheating, or a caregiver can stop by to make sure your loved one is able to do all of the activities of daily living necessary. Schedules can also be set up, so anytime your loved one needs a ride to a doctor's appointment or somewhere else, a volunteer is able to take them there.

Personal care

If your senior doesn't need skilled nursing care but does require help around the house to complete daily activities or tasks, consider assistance through personal care. Home care aides, home health aides, home attendants, and volunteers typically provide the services for personal care. They are able to help with cooking and cleaning, as well as help getting around: either in the house or through transportation. They will help your senior with hygiene and nutritional services or meal preparation.

In-home medical care

Home care is the next step up from personal care and is geared toward more specialized medical care. If your loved one is immobile, has a chronic health condition, or is recovering from a major surgery, you may need in-home medical care. You will want to hire a home nurse to help manage your senior's condition or help with their recovery. For seniors with Alzheimer's or another type of dementia, in-home memory care is also available.

Therapy

Therapy is a large part of home care and can come in many forms including physical, occupational, and speech. Many seniors require some type of therapy so they are able to live their life at the highest level of functionality. Additionally, home care can be scheduled after a surgery so recovery and any associated therapies can be completed in the comfort of the home. With consistent attention, infections can be warded off or monitored and progress can happen more quickly.

Both personal and medical home care is a great option for seniors who have personal and medical needs, but prefer, or are required to stay in their own home. Once the correct type of care is determined, your loved one will be able to receive personalized care in the comfort of their home.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between home care and an assisted living facility?

There are several differences between home care and assisted living. Home care means hiring a trained professional to provide care right in your home, while assisted living involves moving to a community to receive similar care. The amount of assistance that home care provides depends on your senior's needs and can be tailored accordingly. Home care can range anywhere from weekly companionship and therapy to 24-hour skilled nursing care or even hospice. In contrast, assisted living provides seniors with an enriching community of their peers and medical attention as needed, making it a flexible option for many. 

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Due to our financial situation, I simply cannot afford to put my parents in a home, but having them live with me isn’t exactly ideal. Are there any other affordable options?

We realize that senior care communities can be costly, but there are a few things to be considered. Many healthcare providers will help offset the costs of moving to a senior care community. If that’s still not financially possible, look into having a home care aid come to your parents' house a few times a week. These home care aids can be hired through an agency or independently and can provide a variety of services to take care of senior loved ones. Don’t let money get in the way of providing the care your parents deserve.

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