Home support

The good news is people are living longer! The bad news is nearly 70?percent of Americans who reach age 65 will at some point in their life be unable to care for themselves without assistance. Unfortunately, a lot of long-term care in the United States is provided by relatives who juggle work and their own family responsibilities. The undue stress of this added responsibility often leads to Family Caregiver Burnout. As much as family members want to do everything themselves, they eventually realize they need help. In many situations, other family members are not available to lend a helping hand. Either they moved away or are too busy working and raising their own family. Other times the ones that can help, come with stipulations. Such as, I’ll come over and help with meals, but I’m not assisting with showering or toileting. Some people just have boundaries they don’t want to cross, especially when it comes to family members. If you or someone you know are in this predicament, know that help is only a phone call away as Home Care Agencies are plentiful.

Home Care Agencies can assist with ADLs (activities of daily living). These include help with bathing, toileting, eating, dressing & grooming, and help with transfers and ambulation. Most caregivers also offer home support, activities like light housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, medication reminders, transportation and more. Some Homecare Agencies even offer specialized care, like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s care, companion care, respite care and assistance with hospice care.

Utilizing the help of a home care agency usually begins with a free, no obligation, in-home assessment with the primary caregiver and their loved one. The information obtained from the assessment allows agencies to match the clients’ needs with the strengths of their caregivers. During the assessment, the duties your loved one needs help with and the frequency of those needs are discussed. A customized schedule is then put together based on needs and budget. Whether your loved one needs a couple of hours a week or 24/7 home care, schedules are customized to provide loving care for the client and peace of mind for the family. For planning purposes, most agencies charge between $20 and $25 an hour.

Sometimes financial assistance is available for home care through Veteran programs like Aid and Attendance, through long-term care insurance policies or through Medicaid paid waiver and options programs. However, even those who do not qualify for financial assistance and pay privately, find their peace of mind well worth the investment.

When choosing an agency, it is always good to ask questions ahead of time. Policies on minimum shift requirements are good to know, as well as hourly rates, which can fluctuate depending on the length of the shift and time of day. Some agencies provide a discount for longer shifts and some charge more for evening and weekend hours. It’s also good to know what kind of caregiver training the agencies provide and if they insure and bond their caregivers. Lastly, you should discuss a back-up plan in case a caregiver is unable to attend a scheduled shift. Larger home care agencies have many other caregivers who can fill in should the primary caregiver be unavailable for a shift. This helps with reliability knowing that another caregiver can be scheduled so no gap in service is experienced. If you only take one thing away from this article, I hope you learned that family caregivers don’t have to do this alone – quality help is just a phone call away.

Contact numbers for inquiries on home support:

Local Area Agency on Aging — 723-3763

Pennsylvania Independent Enrollment Broker — 1-800-550-4227

Anthony Viglione’s title is Marketing Director of Senior Helpers

This article brought to you by the Eldercare Council of Forest-Warren Counties.