As people age they often require increased assistance in everyday activities. Decisions on what is the best type of care for a senior can be difficult and often complicated. Here is help on how to decide between assisted living or senior care in their home.
The choices between assisted living professionally at a nursing home or relying on care in the home can be an agonizing choice for the family of a senior. There are pros and cons to both options and they should be carefully considered before an arrangement is in place.
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Home care generally refers to health care or support provided in the patient's home, but this term is usually applied to non-medical care or custodian care provided by persons who are not licensed medical personnel. Family and friends, who are referred to as caregivers, primary caregiver or voluntary caregiver in this context, can also provide home care. Mostly, however, services are provided by agencies or independent providers.
Seniors comprise the majority of the recipients of home care. Of these, studies show that more women than men need in home senior care. There are other individuals who would typically use this service, such as people with disabilities or special needs and people recovering from major surgeries.
This type of care makes it possible to remain at home and in the environment they are most comfortable with instead of using long-term institution-based nursing care. It allows them to be near loved ones and gives them a feeling of living a "normal" life as opposed to long term stays in a hospice or nursing home. There is also a variety of options available for home care services, depending on the type and frequency of assistance needed.
Billing can be on an hourly, daily or weekly basis with payment coming from the patient and his or her family members or through a variety of public and privates sources. Professional health care services are usually ordered by a doctor and may be covered with insurance. Some community organizations, such as the local cancer society or Alzheimer's association, may also provide funding to help pay for home care services.
Senior Services - a Need Filled for the Elderly
Many of us will gladly take Mom to her doctor's appointments, administer medications, and check in if the need arises without a second thought. But with millions of loyal children caring for aging parents out of their own pockets, a little financial relief is welcome. Few family caregivers are aware that you can get paid - however small the amount may be - to care for Mom and provide homecare services. Due to the long working hours, however, some adult children caregivers have been forced to leave their full-time jobs or even scale back their hours spent on the clock, leading to a significantly reduced cash flow. Fortunately, if being a caregiver is causing a noticeable financial strain, there are homecare reimbursement programs that can help alleviate some of the burden. Keep in mind, however, that you must practice patience when applying for these programs - make sure that your application is up-to-date and all the necessary attachments are included before you send it so that delays aren't any longer than necessary.
Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI)
Long-term care insurance, which functions as an indemnity program, only pays the insured the amount that was contracted at the outset, and regardless of homecare services that are received, will only pay that specified amount.
Making the Arrangement with Mom Official
Since money is involved, it's recommended that family caregivers draw up some sort of short, typewritten contract that outlines the terms of the caregiving situation in depth, including the pay rate and frequency, job description and homecare services that will be provided, and how various expenses will be reimbursed (if applicable). Hiring an attorney or other legal professional will help all family caregivers involved create a legal document that prevents sticky situations from arising.
It's also important to remember that this payment is viewed as income by the government, so all family caregivers must report their earnings each year as taxable income. Though the money received for providing homecare services is negligible, it will help to offset many of the costs associated with providing Mom (or Dad) with a loving, stable, and comfortable home.