In-home Care Options for Caregivers

Did you know that more than 80% of those aged 65 and over who receive care, live at home or with their loved ones? The types of care being provided may include transportation, meal preparation, medication management, grooming, bathing assistance and much, much more – all of which is defined as in-home care. If you are a family caregiver in need of extra help to care for your aging loved one - rest assured, it is out there! To help you get started we’ve outlined the most common types of in-home care organized into two categories: non-medical and medical.

Non-medical Care

In-home non-medical care is paid or unpaid assistance supporting aging adults with their activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs are routine activities that people do every day without needing assistance including eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring (walking) and continence. Assistance with ADLs can be provided by professionals or non-professional caregivers to help give comfort and support to aging adults as they age in their own home. Here are the non-medical care options for in-home care:

  • Respite Care – All caregivers need to take breaks – or in other words “respite.” Respite care can help family caregivers by relieving them of their duties temporarily, while ensuring their loved one is receiving safe and professional care. During this time, family caregivers can take some ‘me’ time to recharge their batteries or get some things done for themselves. Respite care services provide temporary relief to regular family caregivers, from a few hours a day to several weeks, by offering companionship or supervision as needed.
  • Adult Day Care – At local centers, older adults can find structured programs that allow a family caregiver to continue with his or her day-to-day activities at work (or home). Services provided to aging adults include health, social, and other support services during the day. Participating in an adult day care center can create a nice daily routine and increase social interactions, which can benefit the overall brain health of the individual.
  • Professional Caregivers – Adults that need assistance with more than three ADLs typically need about nine hours of assistance a day (source). If family caregivers need consistent help with the ADLs for their aging loved ones, then a professional caregiver may be a good fit. These professionals can provide in-home personal care services for tasks like bathing, dressing, getting around, and other regular activities. Find out how  much these professional home caregivers typically cost here.
  • Home Companion – Sometimes all a family caregiver needs is someone to check-in on and spend some companion time with their aging loved one from time-to-time. This is an easy support system that friends and loved ones can provide. Home companion care can range from routine in-person visits, low impact activities, or a phone or video call each day to provide social interaction for the aging loved one.
  •  Homemaker – Unable to do those daily chores? That is where a homemaker can step-in to help. From housekeeping, laundry, grocery shopping, and meal preparation to other everyday tasks – a homemaker can assist. Sometimes there is overlap between a homemaker and a professional caregiver who assists with ADLs, but an easy way to look at it is: homemakers help with the household needs (cleaning, shopping, etc.) and professional caregivers help the care recipient with daily needs (bathing, moving around, etc.).

Medical Care

In-home medical care is typically a paid service for skilled medical support in two primary ways:

  • Skilled Health Care Services – This type of medical care is provided by a licensed nurse that may include any of the following:
    • Injections
    • Wellness check-ups
    • Medication management
    • Wound care
    • Rehabilitation
    • Physical therapy
    • Help with medical equipment
  • Hospice – Caring for a loved one that has a life expectancy of six months or less can be emotionally draining and logistically complicated. Hospice caregivers help to control pain, in order to provide peace, comfort and dignity to the recipient of care as much as possible. Hospice programs also provide services to support the family as well.

If you're interested in in-home medical care, a good first step would be to contact a Home Healthcare Agency. While Home Healthcare Agencies typically provide short-term medical care, which differs from the nonmedical in-home care care discussed above, in some cases, these Agencies may be able to provide both types of care.

The above list is a breakdown of the non-medical and medical in-home care options. Still unsure where to go from here? It can be overwhelming, but remember that there is plenty of help out there if you just ask. One potential resource is to hire a Geriatric Care Manager in your area. They are professionals who perform an assessment of an aging loved ones mental, physical, environmental, and financial conditions to create a care plan and assist in arranging housing, medical, social and other services. Find the best option(s) for you and your aging loved one.