Oct 18, 2023

What is in-home senior care?

Manny Cominsky

Aging in place has become a priority for many older adults, with the desire to remain in the comfort of their own homes as they grow older. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of in-home senior care, exploring the services available, the benefits of aging in place, and how to make it a viable option for yourself or your loved ones. By understanding the different types of care, financial considerations, and the importance of planning ahead, you can make informed decisions about whether in-home care is right for you or your senior loved one.

Understanding Home Care

What is In-Home Care?

Home care refers to non-medical caregiving and assistance provided in the client's home. It encompasses a wide range of services, including assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), companionship, transportation, and more. Home care allows seniors to maintain their independence and age in place while receiving the necessary support to meet their needs.

Who is a Good Fit for In-Home Care?

Home care is an ideal option for seniors who wish to live independently but require some level of assistance. It is suitable for those who struggle with mobility, need help with daily household tasks, require transportation, desire companionship, or need assistance with ADLs. Home care can also benefit seniors in the early stages of memory impairment and those in need of housekeeping services.

Who is Not a Good Fit for In-Home Care?

While home care is a suitable choice for many seniors, it may not be appropriate for everyone. Seniors who require nursing care or regular medical attention, those seeking an all-inclusive lifestyle offered in residential care communities, and individuals needing physical, occupational, or speech therapy services at home may not be the best fit for home care. Those with advanced memory impairment requiring a secure environment and around-the-clock care may also require alternative care options.

Determining the Need for In-Home Care

Signs That In-Home Care May Be Necessary

Some common signs that in-home care might be right for you or your senior loved one include weight loss or decreased muscle mass, decreased mobility, increased forgetfulness, worsening hygiene practices, neglecting home cleanliness or organization, inability to drive or accidents while driving, isolation or signs of loneliness, and occurrence of accidents and injuries such as falls. Short-term home care may also be necessary during recovery from surgery or a health emergency.

Assessing the Level of Care Needed

Before seeking home care services, it is crucial to determine the level of care required. Assess your own or your senior loved one’s needs by considering tasks that must be performed, such as grooming, bill payment, assistance with mobility, and medication management. Calculate the amount of time during the day you or your senior loved one will require assistance, which can help determine the appropriate level of care.

Types of In-Home Care Services

There are several different types of in-home senior care, each providing unique benefits and levels of care depending on the senior’s particular needs. 

Companion Care Services

Companion care services are ideal for seniors who live independently but require social support and supervision. A companion caregiver spends time with the senior, engaging in activities such as reading, hobbies, or providing transportation and medication management. This type of care is suitable for seniors in the early stages of memory impairment who do not yet require extensive assistance.

Personal Care Assistance

Personal care assistance is designed for seniors who need regular help with ADLs. Personal care assistants provide assistance with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and mobility assistance. This level of care is comparable to the services provided in assisted living communities and can be used as respite care for family caregivers.

Home Health Care

Home health care differs from other types of home care as it involves certified healthcare professionals providing medical assistance. Home health aides can administer medication, provide wound care, offer occupational and physical therapy, and manage chronic conditions. Home health care services are often recommended by physicians and may require a doctor's written order for insurance coverage.

Paying for In-Home Care Services

The Cost of In-Home Care

Home care can be costly, but it is often more affordable than long-term care facilities. The average cost of in-home care in the United States is $4,957 per month, while home health care averages $5,148 per month. Factors such as insurance coverage, location, and the level of care required can influence the cost. It is important to research local costs and consider financial assistance options.

Financial Assistance Options

Various financial assistance options can help cover the cost of home care services. Private insurance, such as long-term care insurance, may provide coverage for home care. Veterans and their spouses may be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, which offers additional financial support for home care. Life insurance policies and reverse mortgage loans can also be used to finance long-term care. Additionally, some states offer assistance programs that do not require Medicaid eligibility.

Making the Decision to Age in Place

Evaluating Your Needs and Circumstances

When considering aging in place, it is important to evaluate your needs, circumstances, and preferences. Factors such as location and accessibility, home accessibility and maintenance, available support, potential isolation, medical conditions, and finances should be considered. Discussing the decision with family members and healthcare professionals can provide valuable insights and support.

Alternatives to Aging in Place

While aging in place is a desirable option for many, it may not be suitable for everyone. Independent living or retirement communities offer amenities and services that can make life easier for older adults. Assisted living facilities or nursing homes may be more appropriate for individuals with extensive medical needs. It is essential to explore alternative options and choose the best fit for your specific circumstances.

Finding and Hiring Home Care Providers

Researching Home Care Providers

When searching for home care providers seek referrals from family, friends, and healthcare professionals. Full-service agencies and independent providers are two options to consider, each with its own advantages and considerations. Background checks, interviews, and discussions about compensation and schedules are essential steps in the hiring process.

Talking to Loved Ones About Home Care

Approaching the topic of home care with a loved one can be challenging. Express your concerns as your own, without accusing or placing blame. Involve your loved one in the decision-making process, respecting their autonomy. Address any resistance by understanding the underlying reasons and providing reassurance. Enlisting the help of others, such as healthcare professionals or support groups, can also be beneficial.

Aging in place with the support of home care services can enable older adults to maintain their independence, age gracefully, and enjoy their golden years in the comfort of their own homes. By understanding the different types of home care, evaluating needs and circumstances, exploring financial assistance options, and finding the right providers, you can make informed decisions and create a plan that ensures a fulfilling and secure future. Aging in place is a journey that requires careful consideration and planning, but with the right support, it can be a rewarding and empowering experience.

To learn more about how Sunbound can help make senior care more affordable for you or your loved one, send us an email at info@sunboundhomes.com or request more information on Sunbound. Sunbound is the best way to pay for senior living and senior care and is on a mission to make senior living affordable for everyone.

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