Frequently Asked Questions About Home Care for the Elderly

If you or an elderly member of you family needs home care, you’re likely to have plenty of questions. Home care for the elderly – sometimes called senior home care – is often complex and the services can vary widely depending on the patient’s needs. We’ve collected answers to the most common questions, including home care cost, the kinds of caregivers and other information, to help you make decisions.

What is in-home care?

The term in-home care covers a wide range of services but typically includes direct personal care, nursing care or services like physical therapy delivered in the patient’s home.

What is personal care assistance?

This kind of service includes activities of daily living – dressing, bathing, toileting, supervision, companionship and assistance with meals. It may also include meal preparation, transportation, light housekeeping, laundry and medication reminders.

What is in-home nursing care?

Nurses provide a higher level of more complex care. This might include dressing changes, medication preparation and intravenous medications. Nurses also perform physical examinations and assessments, and modify the plan of care based on their findings.

Are home care and home health care the same?

They differ slightly. Home care includes companionship and non-medical services such as meal preparation, while home healthcare includes more complex care like skilled nursing care, physical and occupational therapy.

Can people in assisted living get home care?

In most cases, yes. The assisted living facility is that individual’s home. The actual services available will usually depend on insurance coverage and what is already offered in the facility.

Senior Home Care For The Elderly

Who provides in-home care?

Direct personal care providers are usually certified nurse aides or home health aides. Nursing care is provided by licensed practical or vocational nurses and registered nurses. Other providers include physical and respiratory therapists, pharmacists and other health professionals.

Where to find a moving company for seniors?

For help with moving seniors, we can provide important information about nearby self-storage units, charitable organizations and consignment shops.

Will we always get the same caregiver?

Most in-home agencies try to assure continuity of caregivers. If you need daily or 24-hour care, there will be a certain amount of variance as the workers need to have days off.

How are caregivers selected?

The agency searches for qualified applicants in different venues, screens them, confirms qualifications, references and experience and supervises the employees to assure they are providing safe, effective care.

What if there’s a medical emergency?

All caregivers receive basic emergency training on hire with annual updates. In a medical emergency, the caregiver would dial 911 and then provide emergency care until the response team arrives.

How can I assure quality care?

In two words: stay involved. Visit frequently, talk to your loved one and check for such issues as cleanliness. Observe the interaction between the caregiver and patient. Immediately report any concerns to the agency.

How do I decide what services are needed?

Make a list of all the things your loved one can and can’t do for him- or herself. Contact a home care agency representative for help if you’re not sure you have everything – many offer complimentary assessments.

How do I find home care?

Each community is different – your options may include hospital-based home care, private agencies and independent caregivers. Check the phone book, call the local hospitals and social service agencies, and talk to family and friends.

How do I find the top-rated senior home care agency?

Consumer Affairs rates home care agencies and Medicare also has information on its website. You can also check with health care professionals in your community, friends and relatives who receive services.

Can I hire someone privately?

You can. However, a private hire may affect payment issues and you will have to conduct background checks and other activities to assure safe, competent care for your loved one.

How do I pay for home care?

You usually have three options: self-pay, public third-party payers like Medicare and private third-party payers like Blue Shield or Blue Cross or long-term care plans. Each may have different requirements and payment structures.

How much does in-home care cost?

Costs vary widely depending on services and location. In 2015, Genworth Financial Services reported a home health aide cost an average of $20 an hour and homemaker services cost $19 an hour.

What are the average charges for 24-hour care for the elderly?

Based on the Genworth figures, the cost of a home health aide would be $480 a day. Nursing care would be considerably more expensive.

What’s the average hourly rate for non-medical caregivers?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median (midpoint) hourly wage for home health aides in 2015 was $10.54 per hour.

What’s the average cost of assisted living compared to in-home care?

Genworth reports that assisted living cost $3,500 a month in 2015, while the daily cost for a home health aide was $480. A homemaker cost $456 per day.

Does Medicare/Medicaid/private insurance pay for in-home care?

It depends – clinical services by a registered nurse, physical therapist or occupational therapist are usually covered. Personal care like meal preparation, housekeeping and transportation is not usually covered.

What about veteran’s benefits?

The VA “Aid and Attendance” program can help pay for in-home care in some situations. You must apply for the benefits and meet certain requirements. Both veterans and spouses of deceased veterans may be eligible for this benefit – contact the local VA office.

Deciding on home care for the elderly is not always easy – the services vary and payment issues can be complex. Low cost elderly care is not always synonymous with high quality care, and senior caregivers vary in skills, training and competence. Make sure you do your research before making a choice and stay involved with your loved one who is receiving in-home care services.