April 15, 2017
Hi there. Katelyn writing. In the first two months of this blog, we discussed the importance of talking about aging and planning for it, and then we went through community services that might help someone stay in their home. If you didn’t catch these, you should read them.
Today we are going to focus on one option that is a bit tricky. I say it is a bit tricky because everyone knows it is the lesser of two evils… bringing a caregiver into your home means you are still at home where you feel comfortable and secure. You are surrounded by your memories, your neighbors, things you know. However, it tends to scare people, and it scares me too, and my grandfather, Frank. Not many older adults want to accept that someone will come into their home and help them with cleaning or cooking, or even worse, bathing. However, it is an option and sometimes one that keeps someone from moving to a long-term care community.
Home care is a term that is more well-known throughout the healthcare field, but the problem is it is a very general term. There is a whole spectrum of what home care can provide, from homemaker services, like cleaning, laundry, and cooking, to therapy services, like physical therapy or IV therapy for an infection. When looking into home care, understand that when the time comes, there are a wide variety of meanings to it.
Perhaps one day, I walk into my parents’ home and realize they are struggling to keep up with the household cleaning or I talk to my grandfather and begin to realize his eating habits are not very great because he only uses the microwave. These are situations where anyone can help – a family member/friend can come in once a week or you can hire someone to come in. This is known ashomemaker services.
Perhaps it is something more. Maybe I begin to notice my grandfather has been wearing the same clothes for a few days and seems to not be showering properly. These situations are where again, anyone can really help, but it is important to be trained to properly help with these tasks. This is known as personal care. Personal care includes those activities of daily living that medical people also talk about: eating, bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, transferring/walking, and continence.
Last one. Perhaps there is a doctor’s appointment or hospitalization and the doctor recommends some physical therapy so my mother can get stronger. This is known asskilled nursing care. This is very specific medical care from a professional, such as physical/occupational/speech therapy, IV therapy for an infection, wound care, etc. These are often services that the doctor will prescribe to you and create a plan of care.
So that is great, but what does it cost? In-home services may vary in cost, but the average in this St. Louis region is about $18 - $21/hour. Costs vary per company and also based upon what level of services you are looking at. Many places will also have some sort of minimum number of hours their caregivers are there in order to come to your home. Prices may vary if you hire a live-in or 24-hour caregiver as well. Some places may even offer a specific price just for them to come in and help with bathing, since that does not usually meet the minimum number of hours but is a common need.
Medicare might pay for some home care, but only for skilled nursing care, that highest level of care. For this to happen, your doctor has to establish and review a regular plan of care for skilled nursing care. You also must be considered homebound, meaning you can’t get a physical therapist to come to your home if you are able to drive down the street and get physical therapy at an outpatient clinic. Be on the lookout for a more detailed blog posting about Medicare and long-term care options.
If you qualify for Medicaid, you may quality for in-home services as well. Be on the lookout for a blog posting specifically outlining Medicaid in the future. If you cannot wait, give me call and we can talk.
Now everyone’s favorite part of the blog. Here is what you need to do:
If you don’t need home care yet, you have less homework. I just want you to pay attention when you are meeting with friend groups, out networking, at the fitness club, your favorite restaurant, or at your congregation. If someone you know mentions home care, ask them about their experience. Gain knowledge before you need it.
 Activities of daily living, sometimes referred to as ADLs are routine activities that you tend to do every day without assistance. Again, a family member may be able to help, but it is important they are trained. For example, you must be trained to lift someone from bed to wheelchair so you are not injuring that person or yourself.
Disclaimer: This blog acts as an overview for you. Please do not hesitate to post questions here or reach out to me at VOYCE at 314-919-2403 or email@example.com. My focus is on the St. Louis region in Missouri.
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