Home care services allow people to remain in their homes longer than they would be able to on their own. These professional support services allow individuals to live independently while managing chronic illnesses, recovering from surgery, or just helping with typical daily activities.
Caregivers provide home care services to aide in living safely at home. These services may include personal care, household support, companion care, the transition from hospital to home, respite care, and 24/7 in-home care.
When Does Someone Need Home Care?
Anyone who wishes to stay at home as long as possible but struggles with some of the regular activities of daily living is a good candidate for home care services. Candidates for home care might need help with any or all of the following:
- Mobility Assistance
- Healthy Food Preparation
- Medication Reminders
- Home Cleaning & Safety
- Personal Hygiene
- Exercise and Rehabilitation Assistance and Monitoring
- Socialization to Prevent Loneliness
- Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia Patient Supervision
What If Someone Needs More Help?
Home care primarily deals with non-medical assistance for people who need help with the activities listed above. If additional medical services are needed a home health provider will often fill the gap beyond typical home care services.
Many home care agencies work directly with home health agencies to coordinate skilled nursing care for clients in a home setting. These services go beyond what a home care agency will typically provide.
How Does Someone Find the Right Home Care Service?
Inviting someone into a home to care for them can be a stressful process, so it’s always best to start with a conversation about what services are needed.
Next, determine how to pay for the services. Home care is typically paid for with private funds, long-term care insurance benefits, Veterans Aid & Attendance pension benefits, or Medicaid (in some states).
Finally, research online and in your local community with a Certified Senior Advisor® to learn about agencies and pricing in your area.
What Questions Should Someone Ask a Home Care Agency?
- Are caregivers W2 employees or 1099 independent contractors?
- What is the hiring and selection process for the agency’s staff?
- What is the training and certification program for the agency’s caregivers?
- How does the agency ensure quality?
- What happens if a caregiver does not show up for work?
- How many criminal background checks are performed on caregivers?
- Do they offer any case management services? How much do they cost?
- Are there extra fees for overnights, weekends, and payment processing? What is the real cost?
- What is the process for changing the care schedule? How long is the required notice for schedule changes?
- Is the agency licensed, insured, and bonded?
- Who oversees the staff and coordinates client care? Are they certified?
Why Should Someone Hire an Agency Instead of a Private Caregiver?
While it may seem more cost-effective to hire a private individual to provide care, an agency has access to multiple caregivers to cover a wide variety of cases. Additionally, the agency is responsible for hiring and training the staff, providing insurance, and bonding, and meeting payroll obligations, including federal, state, and local taxes. An agency can provide time off to the caregivers and fill-in when the caregiver is sick or has other obligations.
Home care can be a great help in keeping someone at home as long as possible. Understanding what home care provides and how to find and evaluate a reputable agency can be the first step to aging safely at home.