Nearly three-quarters of elderly adults wish to stay in their homes as they age, according to research from AARP. However, decreased mobility, trouble completing household tasks, and cognitive decline can make aging at home difficult and unsafe for seniors.
Home care is nonmedical help from caregivers or aides in your home. It may offer an ideal compromise for older adults who need assistance with daily living but aren’t ready to move to assisted living or another type of long-term care community — and it can provide essential support for family caregivers.
Learn about the potential benefits of home care services for seniors to determine what’s right for you and your aging loved one.
Home care, or in-home care, services vary greatly and range from housekeeping to assistance with personal care. For example, some seniors may need occasional help with transportation and meal prep. Others who require incontinence care, have dementia, or need mobility assistance — but don’t wish to make the transition to senior living — may need full-time personal care and help around the house.
Home care services, tailored to an individual, may include:
Depending on services needed, the amount of home care someone receives can be as little as a few hours a week to full-time care. Generally, recipients pay for services by the hour, and agencies or private caregivers set costs for home care.
Home care aides, sometimes called personal care aides, often have some level of senior caregiver training. While they aren’t registered nurses, they may receive training in helping with activities of daily living (ADLs), assistance with mobility, emergency procedures, general health, and behavior monitoring.
Different states have different training requirements for in-home caregivers. Some states, like Alabama, have no mandatory licensing, while others, like Washington, require a companion/caregiver business license for all in-home caregivers and certified nursing assistant training for anyone hired by an agency. See this caregiver training requirements chart to learn your state’s policies.
State requirements apply to all caregivers, but most home care agencies have their own training policies for potential clients to review. This is one benefit of hiring anagency caregiver rather than a private caregiver. Agencies also provide background checks, insurance policies, and continuing education.
If your aging loved one struggles with dementia, look for a home care aide with a history of caring for seniors with cognitive decline. Many home care agencies provide specialized training in dementia care, mental stimulation, and activities for older adults experiencing memory loss.
Seniors aging in place and their primary caregivers both may experience the benefits of home care.
In-home care can help aging adults who:
In-home care can benefit family caregivers who:
Prescribed by a physician, home health care is different from in-home care and is provided by licensed medical professionals. As part of a health care plan, home health care is generally paid for by Medicare or private health insurance, while in-home care is generally covered by private pay.
Home care aides may provide minor medical services like medication management, blood pressure and blood sugar monitoring, and regular movement for bedsore prevention, but most aides aren’t licensed to provide medical services. If your loved one needs assistance with a chronic condition or severe injury, they may reap the most benefits of home health care combined with home care services.
Ask an A Place for Mom local advisor at no cost.
If you think home care may be the right fit for your family, you can reach out to A Place for Mom’s Senior Living Advisors for a free consultation about in-home care options near you.
Our Senior Living Advisors can help you compare care types, review local in-home care service providers, discuss ways to pay for care, and schedule interviews with potential care providers. From sending in-home care resources to answering all your questions regarding senior living, we’re here to assist with you every step of the way.
National Institute on Aging. “Social isolation, loneliness in older people pose health risks.”
Perspectives on Psychological Science. “Loneliness: clinical import and interventions.”
Rush University. “Health Benefits of Cleaning.”