There’s no place like home

| Abby Dehmer for The Catholic Spirit | June 19, 2013 | 0 Comments

How do you choose the right home care agency?

A home health care worker checks a man’s blood pressure. Home care allows individuals and their families to choose the services they need and tailor them to fit their lifestyle. Bigstockphoto.com

A home health care worker checks a man’s blood pressure. Home care allows individuals and their families to choose the services they need and tailor them to fit their lifestyle. Bigstockphoto.com

First it started with spoiled food in the refrigerator. Then, the general cleanliness of the house started to change. When her mom started to lose noticeable weight, Diane knew it was time to talk.

Chatting over a cup of coffee, Diane learned that her widowed mother wasn’t eating regular meals because she didn’t feel like cooking for one person, and she wasn’t cleaning the floors because the vacuum was too heavy. Diane realized her mother needed additional assistance that could no longer be provided with her weekly check-ins.

Diane knew her mother would not willingly move from the home she shared with her husband for the past 50 years; she made those wishes very clear years ago. As Diane began to research care options for her mother, a friend encouraged her to look into home care.

What is home care?

Home care is simply any type of care provided in your home. There are two styles of home care available: non-medical and health care.

Non-medical home care encompasses areas of need such as medication reminders, respite, companionship, transportation or meal assistance and planning. Home health care includes more involved tasks, such as help getting in and out of bed or chairs, medication administration, skilled therapy services or end-of-life medical care.

Many home care agencies provide a range of services, from two hours, one day a week; up to 24 hours a day every day. A home health aide could be hired to visit an individual’s home twice a week to clean the kitchen, run errands or do laundry. Some may choose to hire a home care agency to provide 24-hour care, with staff available at all times to help ensure health and safety.

Home care allows individuals and their families to choose the services they need and tailor them to fit their lifestyle.

Although assisted living and long-term care communities have a role to play in aging, many older adults simply want to remain in their home as long as possible. Home health care enables the individual to feel safe and independent while still maintaining an active lifestyle.

Oftentimes, allowing a home health care aide to visit the individual can greatly improve his or her overall quality of life. The individual regularly receives one-on-one attention, is able to maintain daily activities with few interruptions, and the constant monitoring of health may even prevent a hospital stay.

Where do you begin? First and foremost, you should have an open conversation with your loved one about his or her wishes for the future. While some individuals may have specific plans for their care, others may have never considered the opportunities available.

Resources like http://www.sttheresemn.org/resources/senivision provide ideas to have a thoughtful dialogue with loved ones about the future.

Next, take a moment to do the math. Often, care can be dictated by an individual’s financial capabilities. Here are a few average cost comparisons to consider from http://www.longtermcare.gov:

  • $205 per day or $6,235 per month for a semi-private room in a nursing home.
  • $229 per day or $6,965 per month for a private room in a nursing home.
  • $3,293 per month for care in an assisted living facility (one-bedroom unit).
  • $21 per hour for a home health aide (40 hrs./week = $3,360/month).
  • $19 per hour for homemaker services (40 hrs./week = $3,040/month).
  • $67 per day for services in an adult day health care center.

Finally, interview at least three home health care organizations before making a decision. Consider the following questions when interviewing an agency:

  • Does the agency provide the specific care or service needed?
  • What continuing education opportunities are provided to staff?
  • What is the payment structure?

Does the company have a quality improvement program?

Each organization is going to provide similar services, but one agency will put you at ease, knowing it’s the “right” fit for you and your loved one.

Dehmer is a communications director at Saint Therese, which provides senior care and housing at locations in New Hope, Brooklyn Park and Shoreview.


For more information

Visit Catholic Senior Service or call its Help Line at (877) 420-6461. For more information visit At Home Solutions by Saint Therese or email heatherr@sttheresemn.org.

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Category: Senior Living