Aging adults often require some form of care or assistance. Even persons who enjoy their independence may want someone to keep them company or with whom they can do hobbies. Other persons may need additional care but would prefer not to leave their homes.

This could be for many reasons, like wanting to stay in familiar surroundings or close to friends, family, and places that they frequently visit. Or they may want to stay in the home because of sentimental reasons.

It is not always possible for aging adults to stay in their homes without someone to take care of them. It is also not always possible for a family member to take care of their relatives due to other work and life responsibilities.

In these cases, in home care services could be an option. These services provide the care that an aging adult requires without removing them from their home – or the home of their loved ones. In any event, aging adults could benefit from counseling sessions with a gerontological social worker to help them work through challenges that they face as they grow older.


Different care services.

Older adults can benefit from a variety of care services. Some services facilities enable seniors to live independently in communities. These facilities provide access to care services that independent older adults may require from time to time. Other facilities provide higher levels of care for individuals who need more specialized health services.

There are also options for aging adults to receive care in their homes or the homes of their loved ones. These services could provide basic care or cater to persons who require a higher level of health care.

Retirement and independent living communities.

Residents in these communities live independently while having easy access to amenities and services that they may require. Independent living communities provide residents with social amenities as well as health care facilities and other services. This allows residents to maintain their independence while being close to activities and services that they could require as they grow older.

Assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

These establishments provide a higher level of care than independent living communities. They are better suited for individuals who have physical, mental, or medical conditions that make independent living difficult. Persons with these conditions require more care and assistance.

In home care.

In home care is sometimes also referred to as ‘aging in place.’ It enables the care recipient to stay in their own home instead of moving to a retirement, senior care, or long term care facility.

This means they are able to stay in familiar surroundings close to friends and family members while receiving the care that they may require. In most cases, seniors who benefit from in home care services are persons who do not require a lot of care. These individuals may only require companionship or assistance with chores around the house and some daily tasks.

Having said that, more and more people choose in home care services over staying in a retirement community or nursing home. Because of this, the demand for in home caregivers who can provide more qualified medical care is growing.


Different types of in home care services.

There are different types of home health services. The type of care seniors require depends on their physical, mental, and emotional health needs. Some individuals may only require companionship or assistance with daily tasks. Others could require care for a medical condition.

Companion care services.

Older adults who are able to live independently and need minor assistance with their daily activities could benefit from companion care services. In these instances, the caregiver provides companionship and social support to individuals who might feel isolated otherwise.

Companions could accompany the care recipient to social activities or keep them company in their own home. They could read to the care recipient or participate in their hobbies like building puzzles, baking, walking, or playing card or board games.

Companion caregivers could drive the care recipients around and provide general supervision. They are not necessarily certified to provide medical care, although they could remind the care recipient to take their medication.

Personal care assistance.

Caregivers who provide personal care assistance helps care recipients with daily living activities. These personal care services could include grocery shopping, moving around, bathing, and personal grooming.

Generally, in home caregivers who provide personal care assistance are not certified to provide medical care. Their primary focus is to assist care recipients with daily tasks that they can no longer safely perform by themselves or that their family members are not able to help them with.

Home health care.

Home health caregivers are certified to provide medical assistance. These individuals are more qualified than home health aides. The latter can only perform basic health care services like checking vital signs, respiration rate, and temperature. On the other hand, the level of care that one receives from a home health caregiver is on par with the nursing care provided by a nursing home.

In many cases, this level of care is recommended by a physician. This recommendation may be required in order for the services to be covered by insurance. The care could be temporary while a patient is recovering from surgery, and illness, or injury. It could also be long term if the individual will require continuous medical care while choosing to stay in their own home.

This type of care could include speech therapy, physical therapy, infusion therapy, respiratory therapy, and occupational therapy. The caregiver is responsible for providing medical care and liaising with the care recipient’s family and other health care providers.

In some cases, home care aides or home health caregivers could fill in for a family caregiver at times when they are unable to provide care to their loved one. The in home caregiver will only work a few hours a week in these situations.

In other instances, patients may have a debilitating medical condition (like dementia) that requires full-time care. Caregivers in these positions will likely live in the care recipient’s home and work shifts, usually a few days on and a few days off. In these cases, two or more caregivers may be required, or a family caregiver may need to provide respite care when the primary caregiver is off.


Tasks that an in home care services provider could perform.

The tasks that an in home caregiver may be required to perform differ from person to person. These duties will depend on the care receiver’s needs and the caregiver’s abilities, skills, and qualifications. Each situation will look slightly different. A care plan should be discussed during the interview process and confirmed once the caregiver has been selected and employed.

Caregivers could be required to do light home maintenance. This could include doing the laundry and dishes, grocery shopping, light gardening, and small maintenance jobs like changing a light bulb.

A caregiver should be able to drive the care recipient around. They will often be required to accompany the care recipient to social gatherings, doctor’s appointments, or to run errands.

Many caregiver roles include assistance with daily tasks and personal care. This could include bathing and dressing, moving from the bed to a chair, moving about the home in general, and preparing meals. Home health caregivers will likely need to be able to provide medical assistance and treatment to their clients.


Finding the right in home care service provider.

For many, the thought of having a stranger in their home is daunting. It is essential that both the care receiver and their family are comfortable with the caregiver. Even if the caregiver will only spend a few hours a week in the care recipient’s home, the recipient should be able to trust the caregiver and feel assured that they will receive adequate care.

When looking for an in home care services provider, you could either find an independent provider or make use of a home care agency. An independent care provider could be someone you know or who has been referred to you. The hourly wage for these individuals could be lower than a caregiver from an agency. However, you will need to cover other costs like liability insurance and taxes. These costs are usually included in the hourly cost for caregivers who work through agencies. More than that, you will need to verify qualifications, identity and perform a background check.

An agency can provide you with a number of candidates to interview and choose from. These candidates are usually screened, their qualifications verified, and their backgrounds checked. An agency can also help you to quickly find a replacement if things don’t work out with a particular caregiver. They could also send a replacement to offer respite care if your regular caregiver is unable to perform their duties for a short amount of time (like when they are ill or have a family emergency).

When looking for a in home care services provider, there are a few other factors to consider besides being comfortable with them. Some states require caregivers to hold specific qualifications and licenses in order to provide different levels of care and services. Caregivers who offer home health care generally need more training (especially in the medical field) and specific licensure where companion care providers or assisted daily living providers may not need these.

If you are using an independent care provider, you should be able to obtain this information from your local authorities. On the other hand, if you use an agency, the agency will usually provide this information to you.


Typical costs associated with in home care services.

The national average rate for an in home caregiver was around $4,481 per month. This depends on the number of hours that the in home care services provider is required to work and the level of care they need to provide. Individuals who provide higher levels of care, including more specific medical care, will likely have higher hourly wages. These wages could also differ from state to state.

Home care services could work out less expensive than residential care (either in a retirement or nursing facility). This is especially true if the care recipient only requires care services a few hours a week (or day).

If the care recipient has long term care insurance, this could be used to cover the cost of in home care services. This is a separate policy from (or add on to) a standard insurance policy. Like with regular insurance policies, the cover depends on various factors, including the age of the beneficiary when they took out the policy, the type of policy, and the coverage offered by the insurance provider. These policies could potentially only be activated once the beneficiary requires a specific minimum level of care. That means that companion services may not be covered by an individual’s long term care insurance.

Some seniors could qualify for in home care benefits through Medicaid. The eligibility requirements for these benefits vary from state to state. In some states, companion care and personal care assistance could be covered by Medicaid, while individuals from other states may need to show financial and medical need in order to receive benefits for home health care.

Medicare only covers in home health care and only if the recipient meets specific requirements. Veterans and their spouses could be able to use the Aid and Attendance benefit to assist with paying for in home health services. Some life insurance policies (like hybrid life insurance) could be used to pay for long term in home health services.


How to hire a in home care provider.

Hiring an in home care services provider is a big decision. You need to ensure that the person has all the qualifications and skills required to do the job. You also need to establish whether the care recipient will feel comfortable around the caregiver – and that they have gotten used to the idea of having a stranger in their home. Most importantly, you want to make sure that the care recipient will be safe while in the care of the provider.

Thorough screening and in-depth interviews could give you the information you require to establish whether a particular care provider will be a good fit.

Tasks need to be discussed in detail to ensure that they are within the care provider’s abilities. Discuss compensation and payment schedules in advance and avoid making advanced payments. Ensure that you understand precisely what is included in fees if you are using an agency. You also need to familiarize yourself with the processes and procedures involved in terminating the service or requesting a different care provider.

It is recommended that you request several references. These references should be from previous employers as well as personal references. By contacting references, you can ask third parties about the candidate’s abilities and characteristics. By speaking to references, you could gain information on the candidate’s trustworthiness, reliability, punctuality, and how they perform under certain conditions (like how they are able to handle emergencies or mishaps).

If you are using an agency, they will usually provide you with background checks on each candidate. Suppose you are looking at using an independent in home care services provider. In that case, you can make use of an online agency to conduct a background check on the individual. 

The relationship between a caregiver and care recipient is often intimate and will require a personal connection. A care recipient should feel comfortable around the care provider and having them in their home. It might be required that you find a different care provider if they are not a good fit for the person who they will be taking care of.


Certifications and requirements to become an in home care service provider.

The certifications and licenses that an in home services provider needs to hold depend on the types of care they will provide.

Companions, personal care providers, and home health aides generally only require a high school diploma.

Nursing assistants or certified nursing assistants can provide basic medical care. In some states, these individuals can administer medications. Nursing assistants or certified nursing assistants are usually required to complete a state-approved education program and pass a state competency exam.

Licensed practical nurses (LPN) and licensed vocational nurses (LVN) are able to provide more advanced medical care while working under the supervision of a registered nurse. These individuals can monitor vital signs, assist with bathing and dressing, insert catheters, change bandages, and perform basic wound care, and discuss the patient’s care needs while reporting to a registered nurse or doctor. In some states, licensed practical nurses or licensed vocational nurses can administer medications and IV drips. LPNs and LVNs are required to hold a certificate or diploma from a state-approved educational program. They also need to have passed the National Council Licensure Examination.

Registered nurses can provide advanced medical care. They are able to educate the care recipient and their family about the patient’s medical and health conditions. Registered nurses can perform basic caregiving duties. They can also assess the care recipient’s condition, administer medicines and treatments, use medical equipment, and perform diagnostic tests and analyze the results. A registered nurse either holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, an Associates Degree in Nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. They also need to have passed the National Council of Licensure Examination.

More and more seniors are choosing to make use of home health care services. This allows them to stay in their home instead of moving to a retirement or nursing facility. In home care services gives older adults the care they need in their own home. In some cases, in home health services could be less expensive than live-in facilities. This depends on the level of care and how many hours the care recipient needs. In some cases, a family caregiver could assist with caregiving duties. This will lower the number of hours that an in home caregiver will be required to work, making this option of care more attainable financially.