What is Home Care?

what is Home care

A growing number of seniors these days express their desire to remain at home for as long as possible, which is known as “aging in place.” However, age-related challenges like cognitive decline and decreased mobility can make living at home without home care assistance unsafe and difficult.

In-home care, when combined with home modifications and assistive technology, can substantially enhance the safety of aging in place for most seniors. Caregivers provide assistance with personal care, companionship, and monitoring, ensuring that seniors receive the same level of care they would in a long-term care facility but in the comfort of their own homes. This arrangement offers the ideal balance for seniors who require assistance but are not ready to move to a residential care community.

This guide has been curated to help you better understand homecare services and navigate the process of hiring a caregiver or agency. You will find comprehensive information on the various types of home care, associated costs, payment options, indicators of when in-home care becomes necessary, and strategies for finding the best provider for your loved one.

What Is In-Home Care

In-home care, also known as home care, offers nonmedical care directly in the client’s place of residence. This includes custodial care for seniors and assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as eating, bathing, and medication reminders. Additionally, home care aides provide companionship, socialization, and cognitive stimulation for seniors.

Often, family caregivers use these services as a respite when they need to travel, work, or attend to other personal errands.

The support provided by home care aides enables many elderly individuals to remain at home rather than relocate to a residential care community. It is also a suitable option for those who require assistance while maintaining their independence, as the level of care can be tailored to each individual’s needs, ranging from a few hours a week to 24-hour care, seven days a week.

What Are the Different In-Home Care Options?

To accommodate the varying needs of elderly adults, various types of in-home care are available. These levels range from basic companionship and light housekeeping to specialized medical care provided by trained home health care aides. For clarity, we have categorized in-home care into three primary groups, as outlined below.

Companion Care Services

Professional caregivers, often known as “elder companions,” provide companionship to older adults who are isolated, frail, or cognitively impaired due to conditions like Alzheimer’s. They offer essential support by accompanying clients to appointments, ensuring their safety, engaging in activities such as reading aloud and playing games, and assisting with light meals and snacks.

By providing personalized attention and care, companion caregivers help individuals maintain their independence and well-being. They alleviate loneliness, improve mood, and foster meaningful relationships, enhancing the quality of life for the care recipient and their loved ones.

Personal Care Assistance

Home care aides provide more than just companionship. They assist with various activities of daily living (ADLs), such as grocery shopping and personal care tasks like grooming, dressing, bathing, and using the restroom. These aides also offer temporary respite care for families.

Many families hire personal care assistants to address specific home care challenges. For instance, a small woman might hire a strong aide to help lift her spouse during bath time, or a son concerned about privacy might hire a woman to bathe his mother. Personal care assistants can also help seniors who are struggling to maintain their homes or complete all ADLs independently but do not yet require the full-time assistance offered by assisted living communities.

In addition to helping with ADLs, these assistants can also arrange meal preparation, accompany individuals to doctor’s appointments, and provide other non-medical assistance to help your loved one live at home longer. If you need to be away for a few hours or overnight, in-home care can alleviate your worries, especially if the caregiver is familiar with your loved one through regular services.

Home Health Care

Home health care is a specialized form of in-home care encompassing advanced medical care and therapeutic interventions. Unlike personal care assistants, who are not authorized to provide medical care, home health aides must complete specialized training, possess a nursing degree, or hold relevant certification to perform skilled nursing tasks. These tasks include administering injections, managing oxygen tubes and catheters, and conducting physical or occupational therapy.

It is important to note that home health care is the only type of home care that includes skilled nursing or therapy services. Standard home care does not encompass any medical services. Individuals requiring skilled nursing care, medication administration, or physical or occupational therapy should opt for home health care rather than regular home care.

In-home caregivers provide assistance with daily living activities such as light housekeeping, grocery shopping, meal preparation, medication reminders, and personal grooming. While home health care aides can also offer personal care assistance, the converse is not true (personal care assistants cannot provide in-home health care).

Below are some options available for in-home care and home healthcare services.

Home Care Services

Personal care assistants craft tailored care plans for individuals’ unique needs, excluding medical care. The spectrum of available services encompasses:

  • Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs)
  • Mobility assistance
  • Grocery shopping and meal preparation
  • Housekeeping, cleaning, and laundry services
  • Transportation to medical appointments, social gatherings, and beyond
  • Companionship, social engagement, and cognitive stimulation
  • Medication management (excluding administration)
  • Respite for family caregivers

Home Health Care Services

Home health care aides deliver specialized medical care that surpasses the scope of personal care assistants. The type of care provided is tailored to the individual’s medical needs and may include various services, such as:

  • Skilled nursing, first aid, and wound treatment
  • Post-surgical recovery care
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Respiratory therapy, including assistance with oxygen tanks and tubing
  • Assistance with maintaining and cleaning feeding tubes, catheters, and other medical devices
  • Medication administration, including injections
  • Assistance in managing and monitoring chronic conditions
  • Blood withdrawals

Additional Resources:

Learn more about other ways to pay for home care: Ways to Pay for Home Care Costs

We Can Help Your Loved One Age in Place

Physical and cognitive decline can make day-to-day life more challenging for your senior, who may need professional assistance with everyday tasks such as dressing, grooming, bathing, meal planning, and toileting.

Devoted Care Services offers personalized care solutions designed to enhance the comfort and well-being of your loved one. With assistance provided by Devoted Care Services, your loved one will have the one-on-one support they need by their side to age in place comfortably.

Schedule a free home care consultation with your local Devoted Care Services to help you understand your senior care options and make the best choice.

Schedule A Free Consultation

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