Hiring Home Care for your Aging Loved One
According to a 2015 survey by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, there are around 43.5 million caregivers in the United States. There are 15.7 million family caregivers that take care of someone who has Alzheimer's disease or some other form of dementia. Caregivers will spend on average, 13 days each month doing tasks that include giving medicine, laundry, shopping, transport, and food preparation and 6 days each month doing activities of daily living. Many times, caregivers are spouses, children of an aging parent, or other close relatives. It is often the wish of the aging care recipient to be able to stay at home instead of moving into a nursing home or assisted living facility. Caregivers may become exhausted or frustrated with the amount of time they spend caregiving for their care recipients; researching and hiring in-home care can be an answer for many families looking for help for their aging loved one.
Can I Afford Paying for In-Home Care?
Location: What region of the country you live in and whether you live in the city or in a more rural area will be included in cost factors. Services can range from free (such as local volunteers or free or low-cost programs like meals on wheels) to around $40/hour.
Duration: Although it may be a hard conversation to have with your loved one, sitting down and realistically discussing what it is they can and cannot do will help determine what kind of help that they may need and continue assessing if further help will be needed in the future, such as regressing physical health or worsening dementia. This will determine the number of hours that will be needed to spend paying for services.
Type: There are many types of care services ranging from licensed nurse care to hire housekeeping services. Let's breakdown services in home care can provide:
Licensed Medical Care: This includes a range of licensed medical professionals including physicians, physician assistants, registered nurses, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, and occupational therapists. These services often are shorter visits that focus on their specialties such as writing prescriptions, dressing wounds for post-surgery care, drawing blood, taking blood pressure, or working on post-surgery scar stretching and flexibility, or practicing daily living tasks.
Non-Medical Paraprofessional Home Health Care: This includes non-licensed individuals that are trained to help with a range of activities of daily living (bathing, grooming, dressing, oral care, walking/wheelchair use, feeding, and toilet assistance),or instrumental activities of daily living such as housekeeping, transportation, meal preparation, finance managing, medicine managing, shopping. Paraprofessionals can also be providing companionship for your loved one when doing all of these tasks which is comforting for loved ones that live far away.
Are there any free or low-cost home care options for seniors?
Although in-home care whether it is through an agency or a private party, care recipients and their families are typically private paying whether out of pocket or through a long-term care insurance policy. It is worth researching some free or low-cost options that may exist in your local community such as meals on wheels, various church’s ministry services, and volunteer services. Checking on eldercare.gov and the National Council on Aging's Benefit Check Up will also be good resources for local help and to see what benefits an aging loved one can qualify for. Another program to check out is through Medicare and Medicaid's PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) may cover in-home care for frail elderly that are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. Researching and planning ahead for caregiving help can reduce stress and provide a cost-saving plan of action if your loved one would need in-home care in the future. Be sure to do research and check for recommendations before hiring the help you need.
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