Photo nursing-home-careArticle contributed by Daniel Faxtor of LivingSenior

There’s no place like home and, like the rest of us, that’s where most seniors would prefer to spend their golden years.  Unfortunately, health issues sometimes make that impossible for seniors who are living on their own or with a spouse who is unable to take on the care-giving task.

But there’s good news.  Staying at home is still an option for many seniors that only need minor care.  All you need is the right in-home care service.

Maintaining independence is a big part of the desire to stay at home — and in-home care can help seniors achieve it.  Depending on your needs and capabilities, in-home agencies can arrange for a visit from caregivers anywhere from once a day to around-the-clock.

Sometimes a sudden change in health – a fall, broken hip, mild confusion, small stroke, to name a few – cause seniors or their families to feel that they need to make a move,  Immediately.  But take a while to think it over, talk to other family members, tour a couple senior communities and maybe speak to a social worker (at the hospital or senior center) and then make the decision based on your needs, desires and prognosis.

Here a few things to consider when deciding if in-home care is right for your senior loved one:

  • Is their house safe and accessible for their current health and physical condition? Can they easily make any home modifications?  (e.g. wheelchair ramp, safety bars in the shower, wider hallways, handles rather than doorknobs)?
  • Do they have a spouse, family member or roommate who will be there at night in case of emergency?
  • Are there in-home agencies in their community?  If so, ask them for references. And find out if their services meet your loved one’s needs.  Do they want someone to stay the night or make an occasional visit?
  • What do these agencies charge?  Is the fee per hour or per visit?
  • How do these costs fit your senior’s finances?  What is the difference between in-home care costs and monthly fees at a senior community in your area?  Does the senior qualify for any Medicaid, county funding options or Veteran’s Affairs funds?  These often apply to in-home care as well.
  • Do they have a family or friends who will still stop by to visit or will they be isolated at home?
  • Make a list of the services they would need, such as help with bathing, dressing, cooking, shopping, etc.   Does this list sound manageable with in-home care or would it make more sense to move to a senior community that could help with all these needs?
  • How is their overall health?  Do they have one health concern that needs attention or do they have a chronic condition (or several) that will need increasing care?  Is their health problem expected to get worse?

Check with your local senior center for more information about local in-home agencies.  Make a list of questions and interview several places before making any decisions.  With a little help – or even a lot – from an in-home caregiver, your senior loved one can keep their independence in the place where they feel most at home.

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