In-home care can be as unique as the seniors who choose to use it. There are many different services available, and you can build a care plan that fits your schedule. In-home care has grown in popularity over the years because services have expanded and it tends to be less expensive than other forms of care. For example, in-home services cost between $125 to $132 per day in Baltimore, but a nursing home can cost between $310 and $352 daily.
What does in-home care look like in Baltimore? There are a variety of options, and you should know what each one is so you can find what you need. In this guide, we’ll look at some of your options, see what other seniors want from their care, and learn how to cover the cost and make in-home care work for your schedule.
The Baltimore area has quite a few in-home care agencies and even more in the surrounding neighborhoods. In-home care is usually one of two different types of services, personal care or home health aides. Home health aides tend to handle medical and health needs like medication reminders, doing therapy at home, dressing wounds, monitoring vital signs, and keeping an eye on medical conditions. Personal care, often called homemakers or companions, tend to handle more basic needs like keeping your house clean, running errands, and preparing meals.
To get a better feel for the care in your area, we looked at a few reviews on SeniorAdvisor.com. These reviews are from clients or family members and highlight the things most people are looking for when they search for in-home care. Here are a few common needs we found:
Making sure they meet your requirements, no matter how different they are. Not all seniors will need the same kind of attention, and a good agency will make sure they adapt to what the client needs. A daughter of a customer with Options for Senior America wrote, “My mom just [started] using the services from this agency and so far everything is great. The caregiver is understanding of the needs for my mom. They are on time and provide light housekeeping and go to the store for errands.”
A high level of professionalism and communication. When the managers for agencies care for their clients, it trickles down to the caregivers and their services. Seniors and their family members appreciate when everyone in the agency is respectful and professional. A relative of a Senior Assist client said, “Responsive and very attentive to my family’s needs. Very much pleased with my consultation and the services provided.”
Quick response and delicate care during difficult times. Sometimes seniors get in-home care towards the end of their life, and that can be a hard time for everyone involved. Caregivers that are sensitive to those needs make a big difference. A family member of a former client of Elizabeth Cooney Personal Care wrote, “They were able to supply my family with a caregiver immediately and for 24 hrs. a day for my dying father. They were very helpful in giving my mother the help she needed as well as moral support.”
Another bonus to in-home care is that you can create your schedule. If you only need help a few times a week, then you don’t have to have a full-time caregiver. If a family member takes care of you most the time, but you want to give them a break, you can use an agency to provide respite care. Or, if you’re ready for the full-time care, you can find a provider that will give you around the clock care in your home. Most agencies also have last-minute scheduling, so if you’re stranded without care at the last minute, they can send someone over.
The ability to customize your care doesn’t just extend to when you get care, but how you choose your care. There are a few ways to find a caregiver that will meet your needs, and it’s a good idea to use a few resources, so you have assistance.
You have the options to hire your caregiver. While agencies are popular, you don’t have to use one to find a caregiver. In fact, hiring a caregiver gives you total control over the process and allows you to hire and pay family members for their services. Keep in mind that you will oversee everything including payments, insurance, and any taxes.
Many seniors choose to use a blend of agency care and personally hired caregivers. This option gives you the benefit of consistent help without using one caregiver too much. If a family member takes care of you most days, but they need a break, you can use an agency to provide a caregiver. A blend of two also helps you find help when an emergency pops up, or your regular caregiver must be away.
You can also use concierge services and online shopping to handle some of your more basic care needs. Concierge services like TaskRabbit help you find people to handle things like picking up groceries or dropping off your dry cleaning. Rover is another online service provider that will help you take care of your pets whether you need a dog walker or a pet sitter. Amazon Prime Now is an online shopping service that can help deliver things you forgot at the store quickly, most times on the same day.
Just like with any care, you need to consider each caregiver and service provider. Talk to your friends and family members and ask for suggestions. You can also do some research online at the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland to find reviews and profiles on local businesses.
If you want to use Medicare to cover your costs, your doctor needs to state that you are homebound and need either therapy or skilled nursing. You will also only be able to use Medicare approved agencies.
Long-term insurance often covers in-home care, so be sure to check the coverage. Homeowners can use reverse mortgages to get in-home care, but there is a certain amount of risk that comes with this option. Meet with a HUD-certified counselor to go over the ins and outs.
Finally, low-income seniors could use Medicaid to get coverage and veterans can use their VA bills. The city of Baltimore also has a lot of senior services to consider. You can find everything from in-home care assessments to meal delivery to transportation services all at a discounted cost or sometimes free.
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