Home care, also known as in-home care, provides services for older adults who wish to live safely at home for as long as possible. Home care can prolong, or even prevent, a move to an assisted living facility or nursing home.
In addition to caring for the senior, home care has enormous benefits for the away family. Home care services can ease a family caregiver’s burden of responsibilities and bring the whole family peace of mind.
Who Needs Home Care?
47.8 million Americans (15% of the total population) are now age 65 or older—and that number is projected to more than double to 98.2 million by the year 2060. Especially if they’re living alone, most of these seniors will benefit from the help of a compassionate caregiver now and then. After all, the aging process is complicated and unpredictable, and no one should have to face its challenges alone, all the time.
Home care can help individuals who require assistance with:
- Bathing, dressing, grooming
- Eating and feeding
- Bathing and toileting
- Walking and mobility
- Preparing meals
- Housekeeping and laundry
- Shopping, driving, and traveling
Maybe your elderly loved one is worried about falling and would appreciate a gentle assist getting in and out of the shower. Or perhaps they’re not getting the nutrition they need and could use some guidance with meal planning and grocery shopping. Or maybe they’re lonely and would like someone to talk to and play cards with on a regular basis.
When home care is provided, older adults with health, memory, or orientation challenges can rest easy, knowing there’s no need to leave their familiar surroundings, establish new routines, or share a room with a stranger.
Home care services can also prove helpful to couples, removing burdens that may fall more heavily on one spouse, alleviating worry, and allowing for a more balanced lifestyle.
Why Do People Prefer Home Care?
Studies by AARP have found that the overwhelming majority of seniors—nearly 90%–want to remain in their homes for as long as possible. That’s not a surprise! Home is where people feel the most comfortable. It’s the place seniors know best, surrounded not only by familiar belongings but also a familiar neighborhood. Home is where they feel safe and relaxed.
When compared to other senior care options, such as moving into an assisted living facility or nursing home, the benefits of choosing home care services for seniors include:
- Greater convenience
- More short-term flexibility
- Improved quality of life
- Lowered risk of hospitalization
How Do I Find Home Care?
Finding the right home care which best meets your needs will take some time. Start by asking for referrals from friends, family, and elder care professionals or community groups in your area. You can also read reviews at Yelp or other online rating agencies.
As you begin to review your options, be sure to consider all of the different types of home care options that are available. For example, you could hire:
- Private caregivers you find through your network or by placing an ad
- Independent caregivers listed at a caregiver registry
- Home care agencies that act as the employer of the caregiver and handle all aspects of caregiving
- Care-managed home care agencies, which are similar to home care agencies, but also employ professional geriatric care managers who develop comprehensive care plans and offer additional services beyond caregiving
Finding home care for your elderly loved one requires due diligence. But the effort is worth it. The right agency will become a trusted part of your family, helping all of you enjoy more peace of mind and a better quality of life overall.