As the Baby Boomer Generation ages, there will likely be more need to find home care services to support them at home by their families. These kinds of services can vary quite a bit in what they can provide and who will pay for it. As you consider contracting home care services you need to consider at a minimum the following things:
- How much help will you need?
In other words, will you need round-the-clock help, or just someone to be there part of the day when you can’t, or to allow you to sleep? Do you need someone to come in and be there so you can take a break? You may even need to vary your initial requirements depending on the medical condition of the person involved. This is also a good opportunity to speak with your prescribing health care provider to get some idea what the trajectory of the disease process will be so you can anticipate your family member’s needs, as well as your own.
- What kind of help is needed?
Home care services these days offer a wide variety of providers who can perform certain functions in the home. For example, you may not need a nurse when a skilled companion can do the things needed to assist the person. Maybe you need a Physical Therapist, or an Occupational Therapist as well. These are questions that you should discuss with the patient’s health care provider and the agency you contact to see what is available.
- How are the services going to be paid for, and for how long?
To have the costs covered by any insurance often a physician will have to prescribe the need for it, or if a patient is in the hospital and meets certain criteria the Case Managers can often arrange for it before you even leave the hospital. Medicare will pay for home care services under certain circumstances, and in my experience for a limited time. If the patient’s needs exceed this time frame you’ll need to consider how you will pay for services. It might be necessary to get creative with how to use home care services if you are on a limited budget.
- Learn everything you can about the issues facing your loved one
There is nothing more empowering than knowledge. As a family member, you will be front line to the intricacies of your family member’s aging experience. You will need to be alert to sometimes subtle, but important changes that occur in order to anticipate their needs. The best way you can do that is learn about all their issues and potential issues. If your family member has a disease like Dementia or Alzheimer’s, it can be immensely helpful as the disease progresses to be already a part of a support group of people experiencing the same things you are. These types of groups are often good sources of resources for additional help too.
As the largest generation in American history ages, existing resources will be strained if not overloaded, by an inability to care for seniors. It will be difficult to find an assisted living or nursing home that will meet your standards and the your loved one’s needs. If you elect to keep them at home, it’s important that you understand the commitment you are making, and ensure that you have the resources you need.