How Do I Choose the Right Type of Senior Home Care for Elderly Parents?

Do you have an aging parent who is no longer able to live independently? Making the decision about where and how to live during this transition can be challenging for both the elder parent, who likely desires to stay independent, and the loving adult children who want the best care for their mom or dad.

According to Pew Research, almost two out of three people over 65 say they would like to stay in their own home. Only 8% want to live with a family member, while only 4% desire to move to a nursing home. Only one out of six elderly Americans (17%) would choose to move into an assisted living facility. This presents a senior care dilemma.

Home Care vs. Senior Living Facilities

As the data indicate, most seniors consider the possibility of going to an assisted living center or nursing home completely unacceptable. Aging in place at home can provide your elderly parent with familiarity, comfort, improved quality of life, and peace of mind. Read on as we look at the diverse options you and your parent may have available for in-home care.

In-Home Care for Seniors

Home care helps older adults live independently in their own familiar, comfortable homes. If you can locate an appropriate in-home care provider and figure out how to pay for it, there are many advantages to having in-home care assistance. Care provider visits can address your parent’s social isolation while giving you a break. Their neutral, professional perspective can also help you understand your parent’s situation in a way not colored by family “baggage.”

Types of Home Care

Know the difference between “home care” and “home health.” Home care is not medical care, so health insurance and Medicare don’t cover it. Families typically pay out-of-pocket for home care assistance unless they have long-term care insurance to cover it.

Home health care consists of physician-ordered medical services delivered at a client’s home by a skilled professional such as a certified nursing aide, LPN, or physical therapist. These services qualify under Medicare and most health insurance plans, to some extent.

1.    Full-Service Private Home Care Agencies

Basic companionship, light housekeeping, transportation, bathing, and dressing are among the more common non-medical services that care-at-home agencies provide. Respite care and dementia care may also be available. Agency employees are pre-screened, trained, supervised, bonded, and often insured.

2.    Nursing and Healthcare Registries

Nursing and healthcare registries assign service providers to adults needing senior home care. The recipient or their family member usually manages the worker.

Although you must consider the risk that some registry workers may not have training to meet your specific needs, nurses can be a good choice for personal or bodily care and health services. Supervision, taxes, and workers’ compensation coverage often fall to the family.

3.    Home Health Agencies

Medicare-certified home health agencies offer skilled nursing care. They provide wound care, monitor health conditions, and administer injections. Some workers have training in diabetes, blood pressure, and heart disease monitoring or dialysis assistance. Home health care may include Medicare-covered rehabilitation therapies such as respiratory therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.

4.    Hospice Care

Hospice care provides support and comfort to patients with a life-ending illness and their families. Hospice care can occur at home, in a hospice facility, or in the hospital. Hospices offer services ranging from nursing and mental health care to spiritual advising. Specific services are up to the recipient and their family.

5.    Medicaid Home or Community-Based Care

Medicaid is for those who can’t afford to pay for home care. Services focus on keeping elders from going to nursing homes and do not require the recipient to be sick or homebound. However, a social worker must first assess the elderly parent and approve them for home care.

Which Is Best for Your Loved One?

No perfect answer exists about which senior home care option is best for your situation. Depending on your parent’s specific needs, you probably have a couple of choices.

You may be looking for some combination of Mary Poppins and Nanny McPhee, but you have to be realistic about the care models you’re considering. Settle on the bottom line services that you absolutely must have. The more hours you can afford to schedule, the more flexible the provider company can be, and the more likely you will get the specific caregiver that your parent likes most.

Reviews and Referrals

Search your area for providers that fit your situation. Google the company names and read their reviews. Ask neighbors, friends, and colleagues for referrals based on their own experiences. Form a shortlist of companies to call and interview.

Top Questions to Ask

Now that you have a shortlist of care-at-home providers, ask them:

  1. Are you insured? Are your employees bonded?
  2. Do you provide Workers Comp insurance?
  3. Can we see references from previous clients?
  4. Do you conduct employee background checks and drug tests?
  5. Do you offer caregiver job training and certification?
  6. Is there a maximum number of shifts an employee can work?
  7. Can we interview and choose our caregiver?
  8. Do you offer customized care services or plans?
  9. How do you communicate with family?
  10. How do you handle emergencies and after-hours calls?
  11. How do you handle complaints about caregivers or requests for replacements?

Plan Now for Success Later

Choosing appropriate senior home care can help keep your parent in their home much longer. Often, you’ll find that primary care and companionship are all that your parent needs. As time progresses, they may require significantly more, such as medication management, trained healthcare assistance, or hospice.

Regardless of which option you choose, someone has to handle things. Many adult children have had to give up their jobs to manage care for elderly parents. Other adult children choose to hire a professional aging care manager or talk to a trusted home care agency.

To talk about the ways you can safely keep your elderly parent in the familiar comfort of their own home, give us a call. We welcome your questions!

Contact us at Crystal Home Care in Chicago, IL, at (708) 535-4300 to talk with one of our knowledgeable team members about your options and strategies.

We provide professional in-home care services throughout Chicagoland and the surrounding suburbs including but not limited to: ChicagoHinsdaleWinnetkaNorthbrookWilmetteOak Brook

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