In-home care refers to a range of health care and personal assistance services provided to individuals in their homes. Trained caregivers or home health care professionals typically offer these services to individuals who are elderly, have chronic health conditions, or have recently been discharged from the hospital.
In-home care services can include assistance with daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, and grooming, as well as help with medication management, meal preparation, and transportation. Additionally, in-home care providers can offer specialized physical, occupational, and speech therapy services.
Contact your local Area Agency on Aging or visit the National Association of Home Care & Hospice website to find an in-home care provider. You can also ask your doctor for recommendations or check online directories for home care providers in your area.
When choosing an in-home care provider, it’s essential to consider factors such as qualifications, experience, and services. You should also review the provider’s references and check that they are licensed and insured.
It’s also important to keep in mind that in-home care, even with health insurance, can be expensive, and costs can vary depending on the type of care required and the location of the individual. Some individuals may be eligible for Medicaid or other government-funded programs to help cover the cost of in-home care.
Preparing Your House for a caregiver
Hiring skilled, in-home care is one of the most crucial things you can do to ensure that your aging family member is safe, healthy, secure, and independent.
The vast majority of seniors choose to remain in their cozy homes as they get older. An excellent method to respect your loved one’s preferences and provide them with the care and assistance they require to live a happy and independent life is to hire a non-medical home companion.
So what happens when your family has decided to hire a professional caregiver? What can you do to assist your elderly relative in getting ready for their new full- or part-time companionship?
Here are a few steps to get your home ready for a new caregiver:
- Create a schedule of care: Include all necessary daily tasks such as meal times, medication schedules, and activities.
- Ensure the care recipient’s room is clean and comfortable: This includes providing fresh bedding and ensuring no trip hazards.
- Prepare a care binder: Include all necessary information, such as emergency contact numbers, doctor’s contact information, and any medical information the caregiver should know.
- Communicate with the new caregiver: Provide an overview of the care recipient’s daily routine, likes, and dislikes.
- Have a backup plan in place: In case the caregiver is unavailable, it’s essential to have a backup plan in place to ensure that the care recipient is well taken care of.
- Make sure the home is safe: This can entail changing the lighting, adding ramps, removing doors and obstacles, and making some things or places easier to reach. The bathroom should be reviewed as a critical space. In an emergency, consider installing a home monitoring system. Hiring a handyman to help with these tasks will be a great idea. Be sure also to keep emergency numbers in an easily accessible place.
- Show the new caregiver around the home, where the supplies are kept, how the appliances work, etc.
- Provide the caregiver with keys to the house and other access codes if necessary.
- Establish clear rules and boundaries and communicate them to the caregiver.
- Lastly, be available to answer any new caregiver questions and check in regularly to ensure everything is going smoothly.
When it’s time to hire a caregiver?
Several signs may indicate it’s time to hire a caregiver for an aging loved one or a family member with a chronic health condition:
Difficulty with daily activities: If your loved one has a problem with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and toileting, it may be time to hire a caregiver.
Medication management: If your loved one has trouble remembering to take their medication or multiple prescriptions, a caregiver can assist with medication management and monitoring vital signs.
Safety concerns: If you notice that your loved one is having difficulty navigating their home, or if you’re concerned about their safety, a caregiver can help ensure that the house is safe and assist with mobility and transfers.
Isolation and loneliness: If your loved one spends much time alone and is socially isolated, a caregiver can provide companionship and socialization.
Caregiver burnout: If you are providing care for a loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, tired, and stressed, it may be time to hire a caregiver to provide respite care.
Difficulty managing household tasks: If your loved one is struggling with tasks such as meal preparation, cleaning, and laundry, a caregiver can assist.
Difficulty with transportation: If your loved one can no longer drive or has difficulty getting around, a caregiver can provide transportation to appointments and errands.
Recent hospitalization or surgery: If your loved one has recently been discharged from the hospital or had surgery, a caregiver can assist with post-hospital care and recovery at home.
Hiring a caregiver can help with daily tasks and give you and your loved one peace of mind, knowing they are receiving the care they need to maintain their independence and quality of life.
Benefits of hiring a live-in caregiver
A live-in caregiver can provide several benefits for the care recipient and their family. Some of the benefits of having a live-in caregiver include the following:
Around-the-clock care: A live-in caregiver can provide constant care and monitoring, providing peace of mind for both the care recipient and their family.
Increased safety: A live-in caregiver can help ensure that the care recipient’s home is safe and secure and can assist with mobility and transfers to prevent falls.
Assistance with daily living activities: A live-in caregiver can assist with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and toileting, which can help the care recipient maintain their independence.
Medication management: A live-in caregiver can assist with medication management, which can help ensure that the care recipient is taking their medication as prescribed.
Companionship and socialization: A live-in caregiver can provide companionship and socialization, which can help prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Respite for family caregivers: A live-in caregiver can provide respite care for family caregivers, which can help alleviate feelings of stress, fatigue, and burnout.
In-home care: A live-in caregiver can provide care in the comfort of the care recipient’s home, which can be less disruptive and stressful than moving the care recipient to a care facility.
Cost-effective: A live-in caregiver can be more cost-effective than other types of care, such as a nursing home or assisted living facility, especially for those with long-term needs.
It’s important to note that live-in caregivers should be appropriately trained, licensed, insured, and have undergone a background check. It’s also important to consider the caregiver’s qualifications, experience, and services when choosing a live-in caregiver. We reached out to experience home care providers to ask for their advice on how to get ready. Read on to learn more.
Q&A with the experts
What Is the difference between a nurse and a caregiver? How do I know which one to hire?
There comes a time when our loved ones may require extra help to carry out their daily routines or for medical support. Commonly considered options may include caregivers or nurses, which leaves us with the question – which is the better-suited option for our loved ones?
A caregiver is any individual who takes on the commitment and responsibility to look after someone who requires assistance for reasons such as being afflicted with an illness or living with a disability.
Caregivers are often trained and certified to assist individuals with activities of daily living (ADLs) comprising 6 activities – washing, toileting, dressing, feeding, mobility, and transferring. These are routine activities learned from young people and are commonly carried out daily without assistance.
Caregivers are also trained to monitor the health and medical condition of those in charge – though it is important to note that they are not licensed to provide medical tasks such as administering medication or changing feeding tubes and catheters.
On the other hand, nurses are trained and licensed healthcare professionals who can similarly assist with ADLs. Still, the key difference is that they are qualified to perform medical tasks and nursing procedures such as administering medication, changing medical devices like feeding tubes and catheters, taking blood samples, wound care, and overall health monitoring.
This saves you the hassle and cost of traveling and waiting at hospitals and clinics and provides a more stress-free option for your loved one to receive medical care in a comfortable, familiar setting.
Whether to hire a home caregiver or a home nurse for your loved one ultimately depends on their needs. For example, if your loved one mainly requires help with their activities of daily living and does not have nursing needs, then a caregiver would be able to meet their needs best. However, if your loved one has complex medical history and requires specialist medical care daily, a home nurse would be required.
By Lee Jing Hong, Senior Marketing Associate at Homage.
Three Essential Design Decisions Before Mom or Dad Moves Into Your Home
There comes a time when we realize our older parents, in-laws, or even grandparents can no longer live in their homes, and moving into senior living is not an option. The only choice is living with you, but what do you need to do to ensure your home is age-friendly before they move in?
I call this the “3 P Plan”: Prevention, Privacy, and Personalization.
Prevention: Let’s begin with the need to ensure your loved one is protected from issues in the home that most affect older adults: falls prevention.
- Keep walkways clutter-free – we are not as nimble as we age, and stepping over trip hazards such as Legos and piles of newspapers can be an emergency room visit you want to avoid. Ensure rugs have well-taped down corners and edges, or remove them altogether. Two-three million older adults are treated in emergency rooms annually – most for hip and other fractures from falls at home.
- Have a bathroom on the same floor as their new bedroom, so they don’t have to manage stairs. Also, ensure there are well-installed grab bars in the bathroom and that bath mats are non-slip. The bathroom is where 80% of falls in the home happen.
- Have good lighting in “task” areas such as the kitchen and bathroom. At age 60, we need three times the light to see well as we did at age 20.
Privacy: One thing your loved one and your family will give up is a little privacy when you become roommates. The flip side of losing a little privacy is that both older adults and younger generations benefit from living under the same roof. Older adults feel relevant and can share their wisdom and experience with grandchildren, becoming a sounding board for problems or advice. Studies have shown that grandchildren who live with grandparents are more resilient and feel they can stand up to bullies and face life’s challenges better. Some things to consider:
- If Mom’s favorite soap opera is on at the same time as your kid’s favorite TV show, it may be beneficial to have a small TV for her viewing pleasure in her bedroom.
- Do you have pets? Does your loved one have allergies or issues with pets (e.g., frightened of big dogs)? You may have to have pet-free zones. On the other hand, pet therapy is highly beneficial for older adults, helping reduce high blood pressure, calm agitation, and offering companionship when everyone else is busy.
Personalization: It is important to allow your loved one to make this feel like their sanctuary and personalize their space (typically the bedroom). Painting the room their favorite color and adding décor elements they love is vital to make them feel like more than a guest. And give them a “job” or responsibility – that integrates them into the family routine and makes them feel more welcome.
By Sherri Snelling, gerontologist and CEO at Caregiving Club.
What is and How do Electronic Caregiver Remote Patient Monitoring Systems Work?
Electronic Caregiver (ECG) provides next-generation remote patient monitoring (RPM) services nationwide for both Medicare-reimbursed and private pay continuous care support. The program has exceptionally high patient utilization rates while delivering increased patient engagement, improved treatment adherence, and optimized care coordination.
Electronic Caregiver is a total solution involving a comprehensive, vertically integrated infrastructure coupled with more capable, patient-friendly technology interfaces. ECG’s RPM success begins with the patient and works back to the provider, delivering more support, customization, and care management per minute than any other Connected Care company.
The ECG patient receives one of two options for RPM services. One is an interactive, voice and touch-based smart health hub called Pro Health. The other is the brand-new Addison Care Virtual Caregiver, an advanced care management interface with a 3D living avatar and an experience personalized for cultural and individual preferences.
Both 24/7 ECG systems provide unparalleled ease of use and deliver various experiences, connectivity, and benefits. ECG systems offer automated, interactive, monitored health assessments and reminders for vitals and medication management, and are fully integrated with a full-service TeleCare Center staffed with specialized RNs, LPNs, CNAs, and quality assurance teams. ECG RPM programs also include 24/7 emergency response, wireless health monitoring peripheral devices matched with the patient’s disease profile, and additional hands-free connection to key members of the care circle.
For the provider, Electronic Caregiver delivers flexible choices for EHR integrations, custom dashboards, and implementation support. ECG performs patient outreach, program education, and manages custom logistics to deliver smart technologies to patient homes, personalized for individual care plans. ECG provides services through its TeleCare Center, including chronic care management, remote patient monitoring, and behavioral health support. In-clinic patient awareness programs and white labeling are added while managing heavier service and hardware tasks, so providers don’t require additional staffing or suffer interruptions to existing workflows.
ECG’s primary focus is to increase patient engagement, oversight, and adherence, to early-identify changes in health status, and to empower care teams to transform real-time actionable data into faster, more informed interventions to personalize treatment directives on an individual basis.
By Anthony Dohrmann, CEO and Founder at Electronic Caregiver.
Three ways for a person to get their home ready for a paid caregiver to come into the home to help.
Three quick ideas off the top of my head on how to prepare the home for a paid caregiver
· Information—about the person being cared for and emergency contact information
· Activities—set out a few favorite activities for the two of them to do
· Routine—write the usual day’s routine on a dry-erase board
And I would add that as you prepare the home, include the care receiver in the preparation, as that provides readiness.
By Faith Unger, CaregiverU caregiver education program director at AGE of Central Texas.
What Are Three Signs That It’s Time to Hire an In-Home Caregiver?
Your senior loved one lives alone in the house they have lived in for decades. You check in on them daily. A meal delivery service provides nutritious meals during the week. You act as chauffeur, drive them to the store or doctor appointments, and try to meet their basic needs while balancing your home life.
Recently, however, things don’t seem to be quite right. You stopped in today and noticed they had been wearing the same clothes for the past three days. In addition, they aren’t using their walker, which is sitting idly next to their recliner. You have repeatedly tried to get them to use it but to no avail. Is it time to hire an in-home caregiver?
Three signs that it’s time to hire an in-home caregiver:
- Poor Hygiene and Personal Care. Your loved one is wearing the same clothes day after day, puts off bathing, their hair is dirty and not combed, and oral care such as dentures not cleaned or teeth not brushed. An in-home caregiver can assist in bathing and personal care.
- Medication Errors. Your loved one is either forgetting to take their medicine or taking the wrong ones at the wrong time. An in-home caregiver can remind and double-check medications and make sure that the right medicines are taken at the correct time. Along with medication monitoring, the caregiver can alert you when medications run low.
- House Cluttered and Unkempt. Food left out on the kitchen table or bedside overnight can pose a severe health threat. Clothing, towels, magazines, and other items left on the floor are a trip hazard. Forgetting to use the walker or other assistive devices such as a cane or wheelchair can lead to a fall. An in-home caregiver would remind your loved one to use their assistive device(s). They can help keep the floors free of clutter, vacuum, and do other light housekeeping.
Hiring an in-home caregiver can give you peace of mind knowing that when you aren’t there, they can provide care and assistance, enabling your senior loved one to remain in their home, amongst familiar spaces and belonging. Find Senior Care that you can trust.
By Lynda Menegotti, Marketing Manager at Caring Village.
Caring for parents from afar: Three tips to ensure your Australian parents receive the best support.
Remove the stress arising from living overseas by planning in advance, and if your parents are over 65 years of age, start planning now.
While 65 is ‘young’ these days, a series of sudden unfortunate events, say commencing with a fall, can see you weighing up whether to jump on a plane. It needn’t be this way.
Four tips for planning
- Start speaking with your parents about what support they need to remain in their own homes. Understand their wants and wishes. Avoid a disgruntled response by using the word “support” rather than “care” and having this conversation face to face.
If they are starting to experience difficulties performing day-to-day tasks, organize an aged care assessment. Do this now, as the wait time for assessments is around six weeks, and receiving government subsidies for in-home care assistance can take up to two years.
- Understand your parent’s financial position. Have to hand in the figures and relevant “income and assets” documents. You’ll need these to complete the government-subsidy paperwork. Also, encourage your parents to see a reputable financial planner to obtain advice on how their potential future care needs will be met. With the average Australian age of death increasing year on year (in 2020: 83.2 years), plan for the various scenarios.
- You need to be able to make decisions on your parent’s behalf should they lose capacity. Under Australian law, you can only make financial, care support, and health decisions on their behalf if you have been appointed Enduring Power of Attorney, Enduring Guardian, and have an Advanced Health Care Directive (note: different terminologies are used in the various States/Territories). If your parents still need to organize these documents, encourage them to visit their family lawyer to draw them up.
Finally, having on-the-ground support at all times gives peace of mind. So consider introducing a care consultant, like myself, to your parents early on to prepare for the day you may need assistance urgently.
For other recent related articles from the author, visit:
By Danielle Robertson, Care Consultant and Managing Director, DR Care Solutions, Australia
How can home care agencies try to avoid caregiver burnout?
Your home care business may be flourishing as the demand for caregiving increases, but alongside a generous income and client base lies a growing potential for overworked caregivers. You know best, your caregivers are the lifeline to your client’s happiness and your agency’s success.
Caregiver support should be available both proactively and retroactively, ensuring your staff is feeling valued. Here are a few methods you can implement today to stave caregiver burnout before it’s too late:
1. Ask for Routine Job Feedback
Caregivers work remotely, ensuring your staff stays top of mind by reaching out frequently and checking in on their employees is vital to a thriving work ecosystem. We recommend agencies having routine calls with caregivers every few weeks to “check the pulse” of their staff. Questions can include:
Do you feel like you have the best resources for a healthy work environment?
Are you comfortable with your workload?
Are you feeling supported by us? How else can we help?
Caregivers can also be asked to fill out surveys, either by name or anonymously, to gauge employee morale, but if agencies don’t ask, caregivers might be afraid to speak up.
2. Cover the Costs of Counseling
Regardless of providing health insurance for your employees, you can offer them short-time counseling and health-focused educational clinics.
These can include free Employee Assistance Programs, virtual mental health and education conferences, and in-person therapy sessions.
All offers should be well advertised and promoted so that employees are encouraged to take advantage of the benefits.
3. Increase Employee Perks
Incentives make difficult work more enjoyable. They can even be the sole reason caregivers stay in
demanding jobs. In short, perks are worth the extra employer expense.
Incentives can include holiday bonuses, extra vacation time, gift cards, treating them to lunch, and anything that supports relaxation and time away from work.
4. Create a Workplace Community
Remote work means caregivers have fewer chances to meet coworkers and form in-person social networks. They can feel especially isolated on the job and in work-related struggles.
Fortunately, there are many online caregiving forums that offer that sense of community. Here, caregivers can vent to one another, get caregiving-related information, and have a sense of comradery in their industry, despite working remotely.
Agencies can also create their own online forums, either via their website, apps such as Slack/Teams, or social media, to encourage caregivers to connect. These networks can be smaller and more personable.
It’s also important not to overlook events like company picnics and holiday parties. These give caregivers a chance to meet in person, share stories, and find encouragement. This increased camaraderie and community is significant for the overall health and success of your agency.
Caregiver burnout is evident and growing within the industry as workload increases, not to mention it makes hard-found retention even more volatile for home care agencies.
It’s essential to support your employees now in ways that are effective and long-lasting.
By Taylor Stack, AxisCare.