Busting Senior-Care Myths: In-Home Care Is Only for Very Ill People
“I don’t need help at home. I’m not sick!” is a common refrain among older adults who think in-home care is only for people with major medical issues, people who value their privacy and those who want to age in place. It’s true that in-home care is important for seniors with chronic health problems or who are on hospice at home. But in-home care isn’t only for people who need high levels of daily care. In some cases, in-home care can delay the need for more extensive caregiving by helping older adults eat well, keep up with medical appointments, manage medications and stay active.
To bust this myth, it’s helpful to think of in-home care as a continuum of services, ranging from errands and light chores to round-the-clock caregiving.
In-Home Care Options for Seniors
Here are some examples of how in-home care can help even the healthiest seniors. Even if your folks don’t want or need help at home now, knowing your family’s options can save time if they do need help in the future:
1. Concierge Services to Save Time and Effort
One of the great things about living now is how easy it is to have just about anything delivered. Your parents can use services like Amazon Prime or InstaCart to get groceries and personal care items delivered. Other services like Favor (where my son works) and TaskRabbit will bring dry cleaning, prescriptions, restaurant meals and other items to your parents for a small fee and a tip. Other services like Rover will send someone to walk your parents’ dog.
These services are convenient for seniors who’d rather not spend their golden years handling minor tasks on their own. They’re also extremely helpful when a caregiver or parent is ill and can’t go grocery shopping or run errands.
2. Home Health Aide Help with Appointments and Medications
A common problem among seniors who live at home is forgetting to keep medical appointments and take medication. This can have serious health consequences, especially for people on blood thinners, high blood pressure medication and insulin. A home health aide who comes in once a day can ensure that your folks are following their medication schedule and let you know if they’re not. Some agencies provide aides who can drive your parents to their dentist appointments and doctor if they no longer drive, and who can remind them or you when it’s time to make follow-up appointments.
If your folks need this kind of help, here’s more information about what to look for in a home caregiver.
3. In-Home Respite Care While Family Members Are Away
Family caregivers get sick, travel for work and need vacations just like everyone else. Having reliable in-home respite care makes it easier to deal with schedule changes while ensuring your folks have the companionship and help they need.
In-home health aides can also help family caregivers stay healthy by covering the night shift. This is especially valuable help if your parents need help using the bathroom at night or have a tendency to wake up and wander.
4. Part-Time Care for Social Errands and Outings
Some seniors can handle chores and cooking just fine, but may be lonely or need help getting around town. Part-time aides can come by just to spend time going on outings, playing games or visiting with friends.
By helping seniors stay socially engaged, this type of home care can reduce health risks related to isolation, which include dementia, depression and high blood pressure.
5. Part-Time Homemaker Services to Ensure a Clean Home and Healthy Meals
In-home care isn’t all or nothing, and most home care services allow clients to customize their care schedule. It may be that a once-a-week visit from a homemaker is all your folks need to cook or plan meals, do a little light housekeeping and take care of laundry.
Many professional homemakers are also trained to check for fall hazards in clients’ homes, which can prevent injuries that lead to the need for more care.
If you’re interested in learning more about choosing a home health service, see our checklist for interviewing in-home care agencies.
You can also contact SeniorAdvisor.com directly at 1-800-805-3621 for information about in-home care providers near you.