More than 7.6 million Americans suffering from acute illnesses or living with chronic health conditions receive in-home care, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This number is even greater when you consider the number of people receiving informal care from family members, which may occur in up to 20% of U.S. households.
Many of those receiving care are seniors who might otherwise be living in assisted living or other long-term care facilities. “A lot of people just want to stay in their home,” says Dennis Autrey, a Senior Living Advisor with A Place For Mom, who, with his wife, operated two offices of TLC, an in-home care agency, in Washington state for three years. When families can’t meet the needs of those who need care, they may choose to use home care services.
Some agencies are licensed to provide health care as well as personal care, while others provide only personal care. What’s the difference?
When it comes to paying for home care, there are several options.
The National Council on Aging offers a free online service that can help to figure out which benefits someone qualifies for, see http://www.benefitscheckup.org.
Most in-home care agencies will come to a client’s home to conduct a free needs assessment, Autrey says. “When you do an assessment, you meet with a family member in the parent’s home. You want to see how the home is laid out, and you want to be where they’ll require their care,” he says. “You determine what’s required: how many hours a day, how many days a week will mom require help?”
For instance, he says, the senior might just need somebody to spend the night to help her get to the bathroom in the middle of the night or help her if she falls out of bed. In-home care, Autrey says, “gives piece of mind-not only for the people being cared for but also for family members who have been trying to care for their parents and want some respite care or need a break.”
Update: January 2018