In-home care, also known as homecare, is nonmedical care provided in the client's home. It includes custodial care and assistance with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing and providing medication reminders. Homecare workers are professionally trained caregivers who provide companionship and are responsible for maintaining a safe environment for the person receiving care. Caregivers are available to provide assistance that allows many seniors to remain at home -- from one afternoon per week or 24 hours a day.
In-Home Care Options
There are different types of in-home care to accommodate seniors with different needs. In-home caregivers, also known as personal care assistants, come to the home to help with activities daily living, such as light housekeeping, grocery shopping, meal preparation, medication reminders, and grooming. Some provide help with personal care for toileting and bathing. In-home caregivers generally do not provide medical care.
For those who need a higher level of care (deemed necessary by a doctor), home healthcare is an in-home service in which nurses or trained health aides provide skilled medical care. These caregivers also help with activities of daily living such as housekeeping, eating and grooming, and/or physical therapy. A doctor can also help determine whether in-home care is the best route or whether your aging loved one needs to move to a skilled nursing facility.
Care companions, also called elder companions, provide company for older adults living alone, especially those who are homebound due to frailty or dementia. In addition to helping with daily activities, they help decrease isolation and improve quality of life.
What to Expect
Homecare can be arranged without a physician's order and is different from home health care, in that caregivers do not provide nursing care. For example, while they may provide medication reminders, they are not allowed to administer medication. Neither are caregivers housecleaners; although some light housekeeping may be necessary and appropriate, heavy housecleaning is normally not expected. Homecare workers may provide care within a facility setting; check with the agency you have chosen to verify whether it offers this service.