There are many different reasons seniors could choose in-home care over other care alternatives. An important one is cost. In 2015, the median cost for in-home care in the Wichita area was $114 per day versus $156 daily for assisted living, and $194 for private nursing home care. Having care providers in the home allows seniors to stay in a familiar space longer, which is an important consideration for many adults ages 65 and older.
What can you expect from in-home care? Let’s examine the commonalities in the Wichita area including what care types are available, what patients think, and the best way to find in-home care that’s right for you.
There are dozens of home care providers in the greater Wichita area. The services are divided into either personal care (also known as homemaker or companionship care) and home health care. Agencies may be able to provide both types of care. State regulations require agencies to be certified and listed with the Department of Aging and Disability Services Home and Community Support Services Agencies program.
To better understand the care needs and expectations in Wichita, we explored the reviews left by seniors and their family members on SeniorAdvisor.com. Some highlights included:
Responsive and caring staff. “The leadership has been responsive to our requests, the caregivers have demonstrated high capabilities, and they have consistently projected kindness to my parents,” wrote the son of a BrightStart Healthcare patient.
Professional and dependable company. “They are very timely, well organized, and a very well run company,” wrote a client of Right at Home.
Some reviewers also mentioned providers who were able to send a caregiver on short notice as being a plus. Several area agencies have the staff on hand to send someone out the same day, making it easy to accommodate your needs, if you have a last-minute change.
Outside of last-minute care, most agencies will work with you to provide a caregiver on a schedule that meets your needs. For example, you may only need respite care during an illness, vacation, or while taking personal time away from caregiving for a loved one. Alternately, you may want a caregiver on a part-time basis to assist a loved one with personal needs for a few hours each day. Live-in or full-time caregivers are also available to assist family caregivers who may work full-time or reside too far away to be the main caregiver.
Part of putting together a puzzle is keeping the big picture in mind, and that’s also an important aspect of putting together a strong senior care plan for you or your loved one. By including several different pieces, you’ll always have resources quickly available to provide needed care.
Hiring a caregiver directly is an option if you don’t wish to work through an agency. By making a direct hire, you have the ability to pay relatives the going rate for caregiving and you have complete control of the process and who is giving care. There are a few downsides, including the time it takes to find, screen, and hire a caregiver as well as the payroll, insurance, and tax responsibilities that come with hiring directly.
Combine agency care with caregivers you hire directly. For many, this is the perfect combination for seniors who want to compensate a family member for care but who want to make sure they are able to rest, work, and take care of their own health. Agencies can also provide respite care if a caregiver needs time off.
Utilize concierge and online shopping services locally to help with errands and household chores. Services like AmazonPrime can deliver household items right to your door, and Rover can provide pet walking when you don’t have time to do it yourself.
To make the care plan work, be sure to research companies you plan to use. Ask for recommendations and check online reviews and ratings with the Nebraska Better Business Bureau. Inquire with agencies about their state licensing, employee bonding, and insurance coverage to ensure you’re working with a reputable provider.
Medicare recipients may be covered for in-home health care in very specific circumstances. Criteria include being under the care of a doctor who is willing to certify that the senior is homebound and in need of occupational, speech-language or physical therapy, or skilled nursing care periodically. Additionally, the care provider must be Medicare certified.
Long-term care insurance benefits and taking out a reverse mortgage on a home are two private pay options to finance care.
Seniors who are in need of in-home care, but are low-income and aren’t eligible for reimbursement through Medicare, may be eligible to receive assistance from Kansas Medicaid. Another resource is the VA Aid & Attendance pension for veterans of war and their widows.
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