Services to Help you Stay at Home
Each year, more than 22,000 agencies nationwide provide home care services to more than two million people with physical disabilities, chronic health problems, dementia, or terminal illnesses. As the population ages, the number of home care agencies will continue to grow.
We’re living longer—and healthier—lives than ever before in human history. However, if a time comes when help is needed, there are many California agencies that can assist and help with home care/respite care needs. Because so many seniors wish to remain in the home and community that holds a lifetime of memories, a wide variety of home care services have evolved in recent years to make this feasible.
What is home care?
Home care typically refers to non-medical services that assist individuals with activities of daily living. Home care is an increasingly popular choice for care because it enables individuals to remain in their own environments, and can also be a lifesaver for caregivers.
For example, simple tasks such as housekeeping, shopping, meal preparation, opening a jar, or driving to appointments can become increasingly difficult for many older adults. Personal tasks such as bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting and even transferring from the bed to a chair can became unmanageable alone. Many types of individuals, including those who come trained and screened by an agency, provide such services. In general, home care providers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They may work by themselves or as a team on a shift, part-time, hourly, live-in, or on an as-needed basis.
While some home care agencies provide health-oriented services, it is important to understand the difference between non-medical home care and home health care. Home health care is more specialized medical care, such as that provided by nurses or physical and respiratory therapists. Care providers are trained medical, health care and psychiatric professionals, or certified nurses’ aides. Home health services are usually ordered by a physician and may be covered by insurance.
Types of services available for seniors living at home
- Homemaker Services – Can include help with cooking, light cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and other household chores.
- Personal Care – Assistance with a variety of daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, toilet use, grooming and eating.
- Companionship – From daily telephone calls from a “buddy,” to a daily “friendly” visitor, to round-the-clock paid companions.
- Home Health Care – Skilled care that can include nursing; speech, occupational, physical, or respiratory therapy; home health aides, and social work or psychiatric care.
- Adult Day Care – Daily, facility-based programs in a community center setting for seniors who need monitoring or companionship during the day.
- Activity Groups – Games, trips, shopping outings, and other stimulating group activities.
- Respite Care – A trained companion or professional caregiver stays with your loved one and takes over your caregiving role, whether for several hours or several days. These brief reprieves from a caregiving situation are healthy for the primary caregiver and also for the care recipient…a change of daily routine for both. Respite care is a “short break” therefore it is a stress releaser for the primary caregiver/family member.
- Live-in Help – Home care best suited to long-distance caregiving or other situations in which the primary caregiver can’t be there in person and the senior needs round-the-clock support. Room, board and, in many cases, a salary, is provided in exchange for meal preparation, light housekeeping, and other non-medical services.
- Hospice Care – Medical, social, and emotional services for the terminally ill and their families. Caregiver Support Groups – Support for issues about aging, peer companionship, illness-based support, groups for caregivers, grief support and many others to help people experiencing life challenges with a family member..
In addition to consulting with your senior family member and any relevant medical or therapeutic professionals, consider a “needs assessment,” which can be conducted by a care manager or home care specialist—or you can do it yourself.