Home health services are often necessary for seniors as they age. Seniors are often faced with the possibility of losing independence and having to rely on others to do household tasks. This can be difficult to think about or discuss with family, so it is easy to understand why many seniors may put off thinking or planning how they want to be cared for if they are no longer able to care for themselves. A senior who prefers to receive home health services instead of other options such as assisted living or nursing home care needs to plan to ensure the home care they need and want.
For a senior to develop a plan for home health services they need to consider many factors and options, but there are three main concerns that they have to address:
- Who will perform the home care duties needed?
- How will they pay for home care?
- What home care services will they likely need?
Who will perform the home care duties needed?
When a senior desires to remain in their home as they age and prefers home care services, it is very important to evaluate what kind of informal home care support is available to them. These are family members or friends who can help the senior perform tasks they find difficult such as:
- Performing errands and/ or grocery shopping
- Transportation to appointments
- Managing finances
- Cleaning and laundry
- Regular social visits
Once the senior identifies potential caretakers, they will need to discuss these needs with the potential caretakers. Friends and family members may be more then able and willing to assist a senior, but they need to understand how much time this may require from the caretaker. The caretaker must also decide if they are comfortable committing to the responsibilities.
Home Care Agencies or Home Health Services
A sound financial plan is critical if additional support is necessary from a home care agency or a home health service. Seniors can count on Medicare to cover costs for in home medical services such as visiting nurses and nurse aides to help recover from an injury or illness. However, most non medical home care will need to be paid out of pocket. Depending on the amount of non medical home care needed the costs can vary widely. Non medical home care costs on average between $19 and $21 per hour when hired through a homecare agency.
The senior also needs to consider their medical conditions, if they have any, and what the typical amount of home care they will likely need. Speaking with a physician can help to make sure that the amount of care expected reflects what amount of home health services to reasonably expect. Of course, some health issues may progress beyond what the senior is comfortable with having managed at home. In this situation, planning for assisted living or a nursing home may be the right decision for them.