With the continuing struggle towards economic recovery, many Americans have found themselves either delaying plans to enter a retirement community or cancelling those plans altogether. Today, Home Care and Home Healthcare offer viable economic options and high-quality care for senior citizens who want to maintain a level of independence while remaining in their own home. In-home care has shown additional benefits, as some studies have shown; the longer seniors stay independent from institutionalized care the better they feel, emotionally and physically.
Home Care, referred to in some states as Home Maker Companion Services or Personal Care Services, allows aging individuals to continue residing in their homes while an attendant assists them with many non-medical day-to-day tasks, such as grooming, bathing, housekeeping, and meal preparation. They may also offer services such as running errands or general companionship. Home Care can be scheduled daily or weekly. Services offered will vary from agency to agency, so it is best to shop around for a provider that best suits your needs.
Home Healthcare is the in-home skilled nursing alternative to Assisted Living. A registered health professional will come to your home to provide services ranging from physical therapy to prescription management and wound care. Unlike general Home Care or companion services, all Home Healthcare providers are required to be licensed and registered within their State. The services provided will vary based on needs, and attendants can be scheduled 24 hours a day.
Some things to consider when deciding on Home Care:
1. Medical condition and needs. Home Care may be adequate and affordable for an elder who needs help with physical therapy, monitoring a chronic health condition, exercise or help around the home (bathing and getting meals, for example). Unfortunately, in some situations a long term stay-at-home solution is not practical or cost effective. Weighing available options and factoring in future healthcare needs are crucial to making the decision whether to stay at home.
2. Cost. Home care is one of the most economical solutions for senior care, but costs can increase dramatically if certain factors aren’t considered - size of the home and services required, desired frequency of visits, even the location of the home can increase cost if it requires significant travel on the part of the caretaker or agency.
3. Support and access to medical Services. When deciding to stay at home, a practical assessment of distance to medical facilities should be considered. Does the Home Care agency provide transportation to medical appointments? How close are friends and family if transportation needs arise?
4. Availability. Home Care and Home Healthcare is a burgeoning category with over 70% growth predicted in the next decade by the Bureau of labor Statistics. Be sure you research the availability of advanced care and the quality of what is available in your area.
With the rapid growth of Home Care options, States are moving to regulate and monitor the quality of care to protect their elderly constituents. For additional information on Home Care options, check the current regulations and availability in your area. Reach out to your local Ombudsman or Area Agency on Aging. Home Care may not be the best fit for every situation, but with increased availability of services and rapid expansion, its practicality as an option will only increase.