Do you want to be taken care of at home? Find out about all the services you can have in order to maintain your independence and stay at home for longer.
What are some of the home health care services for seniors?
Sometimes it may be difficult to accept that most of the people older than 65 need some type of care assistance. You may be used to handle things on your own, even to divide duties with your spouse, or to ask for help from a family member in order to take care of things around the house. But as you get older, things start to become more difficult and even the easiest tasks become a huge burden for you. If you don’t like the idea of moving to an assisted living facility, nursing home or a retirement community, home aid care services may be able to assist you in living in your own home for longer.
Home aide care services include:
Household maintenance. It is not easy to keep a household running. If you find it difficult to keep up, you can look into shopping, housekeeping, handyman, laundry and gardening services. But if you need assistance in paying the bills or making appointment, financial and healthcare management may be able to help you out.
Transportation. Transportation is a key thing for older people. Maybe you don’t like to drive at night or you find it difficult to drive. Having access to buses, trains, reduces fare taxis, rideshare apps and senior transportation services can help you retain your independence and maintain your social network.
Home modifications. If you think that your mobility is becoming limited, but still want to keep your existing residence comfortable and accessible you can get home modifications. Modifications can include things like ramps to avoid or minimize the use of stairs, grab bars in the shower, or perhaps installing a new bathroom on the ground floor.
Personal care. Help with everyday activities such as bathing, dressing or preparing a meal is called personal or custodial care. Home care services can provide personal care services that range from a couple of hours a day to all day and night live-in care. They may also provide limited assistance with things such as reminding to take your medications or taking your blood pressure.
Health aide. Some of healthcare services can be provided at home by well trained professionals, such as home health nurses, social workers or therapists. Check with your health service or insurance in order to see what kind of coverage is available, even though you may have to cover some additional cost out of your own pocket. Hospice care can also be provided at home.
Adult daycare programs. Day programs or adult daycare can help you out with different activities and socialization to keep you busy during the day, and give space for your caregivers to rest. Some of the daycare programs are social, while others specialize in diseases such as early stage Alzheimer’s or other limited health care services.
Is getting older at home the right place for you?
It is totally normal to want to stay at home as you grow older. As we face the losses that come with aging, the familiar can be comforting, and your home is likely full of good memories and familiar people. However you may want to look at the bigger picture if you were to decide whether to stay at home for good. In many cases, people leave their home in case of a health crisis or a sudden loss, making adjustments more difficult. It is easier to plan early and examine which home care services are available for you and your family.
It is obvious that people are in different financial situations, have different kind of support and their general health and mobility is in a different state as well. Here are some things you have to consider when choosing your aging in place and home care options:
Location and accessibility. Is your home located in a rural area and you need a lot of driving, or you’re in an area in which public transport is easily accessible? How long does it take you to go to the grocery store, shopping or even make medical appointments? Being close to community services and activities is also an important thing you should consider.
Home accessibility and maintenance. Can your home be modified without problems? Do you have to go up a lot of steps or maybe a steep hill to get to your home? Do you have a large yard that needs maintenance?
Having support. Does your family or close friends live close to you? How much are they involved in helping you? Are they capable of providing you the right support you need? Many older adults who need care, rely on their family for help, but in some more difficult cases families may not be able to respond to your needs. Caregiving can be demanding both physically and emotionally, especially if it is primarily on one person like a spouse or child. Your relationship with your family caregiver may be healthier if you are open to getting help from another source.
Isolation. You may feel isolated if you cannot leave home without any assistance. Not being able to participate in hobbies you once loved, visit family members or friends, or staying involved in community service that kept you motivated can be difficult and even lead to depression.
Medical conditions. The future cannot be predicted. But if you or your spouse suffer from a medical condition that worsens over time, it is highly important to think about how will you manage the health and mobility problems. What are some common complications of your condition, and how can you handle them?
Financial situation. It is helpful if you make a budget with anticipated expenses in order to see the advantages and disadvantages of your situation. Alternative arrangements such as assisted living can be expensive, but the help you’ll get from professional caregivers at home can become expensive as well, especially if you need around-the-clock care.
The opinions of your family. Even though it is up to you to choose where you want to continue living, it can be helpful to hear out the opinions of your family members. Are they worried about your safety or a health problem that will need additional care? Being open minded to your family member’s opinions is very important for your wellbeing.
Growing older at home vs. other types of senior housing
If you are worried about the maintenance of your home, feel like you’re being cut off from social amenities, or just want to be more involved with people your age, an independent living or retirement community may be a better option for you. Housekeeping staff is friendly towards aging adults and even though residents live independently, most communities offer amenities and services. Independent living is not about losing your independence but rather living your life easier.
But if you or your spouse have medical needs, it may be better to consider living in a nursing home or an assisted living facility.
Embracing changes in your level of independence
It is perfectly normal to feel vulnerable, confused or even angry when you realize that the things you once could do perfectly normal, are now becoming a difficulty for you. You even might feel guilty for letting strangers help you do things you’ve been used to doing for yourself. Or even having unfamiliar people in your home may be uncomfortable for you. By embracing these feelings and keeping an open mind to new ways to make your life easier, you will cope with your situation better and prolong your independence.
Go easy on yourself. Losses are a normal part of aging, and it is most definitely a sign of weakness to lose a part of your independence. Realize that it is perfectly normal to feel sad or even frustrated about changes in your home care situation, but don’t feel like you’re a failure.
Be open to new possibilities. Wanting to make your life easier, your family members may offer suggestions about home care services. You should hear them out and keeping an open mind to discuss the options instead of dismissing them out of hand, because sometimes new situations are also new experiences and lead us to discovering new possibilities or new friendships.
Try a trial run of services. You can experience the benefits of home care services without having to commit to anything in the long run if you try a trial run of services.
Figuring out the right home care services for you
When you know what your needs are, it is advisable to figure out which home services are right for you and in which place to find the best providers. Of course it’s difficult to allow people you don’t know to take care of you. You have to do your research and decide whether to engage a home care service provider directly or contact an agency to do it for you.
Start by seeking referrals from friends, family members or neighbors. They may suggest you a guy who can regularly check-in with you and assist you with your household as well. Some local religious groups arrange social activities and offer meals for older adults. You can also ask your doctor or health professional if they know someone who can help you out with your needs.
Full-service agencies are usually expensive but they provide applicants who have already had background checks. They also take care of billing and tax issues if you choose a caregiver who works for their agency. In a case if your caregiver doesn’t want to continue working they will find a replacement quickly, and will also provide coverage if he calls in sick.
Independent providers are usually cheaper but you have to do all the legwork. You have to handle taxes, identity verifications, and background checks. In a case if he is sick, or doesn’t want to work anymore, you’ll have to find a replacement on your own.
Tips for hiring home care providers
It all depends on your needs, for example if you need someone to go shopping or do yard maintenance is different from hiring someone who will provide live-in or hands-on personal care. But there are some tips to keep in mind, like doing your homework in the initial hiring process that will improve your chances of success.
- Make sure to have an interview with each candidate. You should always have an interview with a candidate in order to get to know him better and decide if he’s the right person you need.
- Be clear about the tasks, schedules and skills involved, and ask if that’s okay with them
- Discuss payment schedules. You should discuss about how are you going to pay him and keep in mind to never pay in advance
- Ask for some work and personal references, and check them out carefully. Verify all the information provided, and ask all references about trustworthiness, punctuality, reliability and how they handle stressful situations
- Check his/her background. If you’re working through an agency, background checks are provided, but you may still want to check the validity of the information. Background checks can be done inexpensively through online agencies that will warn you if they find out something that poses a potentially serious problem
- If you are working with an agency, make sure to ask what is covered. Ask if some specific services include additional fees or add-ons? If so how can you terminate the provider you chose and request another one?
- Don’t hesitate to move on if it’s not the right fit. It’s important to feel comfortable with your home care provider who is delivering services in the privacy of your own home. If you don’t feel comfortable, try solving it out by communicating the issues you have with your provider. If you are unable to solve any issues with communication, don’t be afraid to look for another provider.
Talking to a person you love about home care services
It can be difficult to see your loved ones struggling to care for themselves. Perhaps you noticed your loved one’s home has become much messier than it used to be, or they are wearing dirty and stained clothes. Maybe you opened the refrigerator and there was no food, or you thought they aren’t paying attention to personal hygiene as they once did. Or maybe he’s suffered a recent fall and got injured, or you’ve noticed a pan burning unattended on the stove.
In some cases decline happens gradually or in a case of sudden change in health or losing a significant other can also trigger problems. No matter the reason, if you’re concerned about the safety of your loved one, or the condition of their home, it is important to bring up the subject carefully.
Instead of accusing, express your concerns as your own. An older adult may be more open to hear you out if you are coming from a place where you express your concern. For example instead of telling him “It’s obvious that you’re incapable of taking care of you anymore, something needs to be done,’’ try saying “I am worried that you cannot handle all responsibilities lately, what do you think we should do about it?”
Respect the autonomy of your loved one and involve them in decisions. In the end the final decision about care is up to them, unless they are incapacitated. You can offer your suggestions and ideas for home care services if you’re willing to help them out. If you believe that home care is not enough, what other options are you considering as available? Instead of trying to impose a permanent solution, you should consider offering to try something temporarily just to see how it works for them.
Try to figure out the real reason behind any resistance. Your loved one may refuse to get help because he is frightened of not being able to do tasks that were formerly so easy. Maybe they are frustrated that they can’t connect with friends as they used to, or they still grieve for the loss of a loved one. They might be even scared and uncomfortable with the idea of having a “stranger” in their home.
Enlist the help of others. Has your loved one shared experiences with someone who has already used home care services? Talking with other people who have had positive experiences in having home care services may remove some fears of the unknown. Sometimes hearing feedback from a third party such as a geriatric care manager or a family physician can help a loved one to realize that change is for the better.
We can Help! Our local advisors can help your family make a confident decision about senior living.