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Seniors who prefer to age in place often seek out the assistance of licensed in-home care agencies to help them find trained and qualified caregivers. The assistance of these organizations can be invaluable to seniors and families seeking part-time or full-time in-home aid. Home care agencies typically employ both non-medical and medical providers ranging from home health aides and personal assistants to nursing assistants and registered nurses. This give home care agencies an advantage over other options. They are prepared to meet a variety of in-home care services for seniors that prevents the need for families to undertake the daunting task of hiring individuals themselves.
Sometimes seniors simply needing some help around the house or just someone to talk to. Home care agencies can locate qualified companions and homemakers who provide such assistance, but cannot offer any hands-on care. Those seeking assistance with daily activities of living such as bathing, grooming, eating, dressing, cooking and mobility will need a home heath aide with the proper training to offer hands-on care. If you are looking for a caregiver with the ability to drive the beneficiary around or run errands, you’ll want to discuss this with the home care agency, as there are often strict requirements concerning transportation.
Home care agencies are a simple solution for seniors who are recovering from an injury, need post-surgery medical care, or have acute or chronic conditions that limit their mobility and other functions. Medical home care providers sent by agencies are licensed and certified, so they can provide a wide range of medical care including medication administration, managing IVs, catheters, injections, wound care, monitoring vital signs and other support services including those of personal care and home health assistants.
When comparing the ease of finding a reputable home care agency to the task of finding an independent caregiver, agencies offer a clear advantage for seniors and their families. The primary goal of these organizations are to ensure charges receive quality care, therefore agencies handle important tasks including:
Finding local home care agencies is a relatively simple process, and you’ll want to investigate their reviews and reputation with reliable sources such as the Better Business Bureau. Once you have solid leads, here are a few questions to ask agencies when exploring the possibilities.
Have a list ready that states the actual needs of the senior beneficiary. Consider creating a timeline of sorts that lists out their daily activities and needs that includes when they prefer meals and naps, whether they have special dietary needs, prefer a certain language spoken in the home, etc. Also, determine exactly how much—if any—hands on care is necessary, and whether your needs call for part-time, full-time or 24/7 care. If memory issues are a concern, ask the next question.
Seniors who have been diagnosed with some type of memory loss such as one of the many forms of dementia, specialized care from a medical provider may be necessary. Inquire as to the agencies availability of trained and qualified memory care staff members with both experience and extensive knowledge about memory loss and the progression of certain conditions.
Only in-home medical caregivers such as home health aides, CNA’s and RN’s are allowed to perform medication management. So, it’s essential to ensure that the agency oversees their staff’s methods of monitoring patients. Are they aware of the precautions, side effects and special restrictions for your loved one’s medications? In certain situations, agencies can also provide care manager services in addition to traditional home care. This is where a qualified individual comes out as scheduled to refill medications and pill boxes, so non-medical caregivers can remind beneficiaries to take them on schedule.
Seniors who may need transportation to and from appointments, shopping, and other outings will want to inquire about certain policies. Will the caregiver use the family’s auto or their own? If the caregiver drives their own vehicle, there’s no way to be certain of current insurance, as one missed payment can negate policies. Are caregivers willing to use public transportation? An agency’s policies can make or break the final decision.
Armed with all of this information, you’re in a good position to make a solid choice on choosing a home care agency for senior caregivers.
For non-medical caregivers provided through an agency for a charge with no special needs, one can expect to pay an average of $15 per hour of services. For medical care providers the national average per hour is approximately $21. However, for beneficiaries with severe emotional, memory, mobility or other serious conditions costs may rise. Keep in mind that the region you live in will also be a factor in determining the overall cost.
There are many considerations for paying for senior care through a home health agency beyond self payment options. Concerning Medicare, this coverage typically will not cover any type of non-medical care regardless of where it occurs or who provides it. However, they will cover certain short-term cases of in-home care when prescribed by a doctor. State-funded Medicaid and long-term insurance policies are two of the better options for seniors seeking to cover all or the majority of expenses related to home care. However, certain individuals may qualify for SSI, Disability or Veterans benefits that can assist with home care agency costs.
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