The terms, “home healthcare,” “in-home care” or “at home care” are all comprehensive, umbrella terms that comprise a wide range of services and offerings available to seniors or housebound individuals.
From a dedicated driver who comes to drive a client to a weekday appointment or social activity, to meal preparation, hygiene care, or even 24-hour live-in care – professional, at home caregivers know every client is different and the services are tailored accordingly.
These services can be scheduled as little or as often as you like, and can range from four hours for just four days per week to full-time, live-in assistance.
Scheduling a free, in-home assessment with reputable homecare agencies is the best way to establish which of the following services makes sense for you or your loved ones.
At Home Care Services Explained
The following guide will serve as a brief tutorial about the various services offered by at home, non-medical care providers. These services are available a la carte or they can be mixed-and-matched, depending on your needs, or those of a loved one.
As aging affects vision and mobility, many seniors find that while they’re physically able to lead an active lifestyle, they’re no longer able to drive themselves safely to and from desired locations and activities.
Having to turn in the keys is often a traumatic and heart-wrenching decision to make, but it is also a necessary one when the safety of the driver and others is at risk.
Driving services provide a way for seniors to get out and about, observe routine appointments (including doctor’s visits and hair or nail appointments), run errands, attend religious events, socialize, and so on.
The caregivers employed by professional and reputable home care agencies have passed comprehensive DMV checks and have valid driver’s licenses, ensuring the client is in good hands.
Loneliness is one of the greatest risks of aging. The combination of losing spouses, friends and loved ones, combined with decreased mobility or the inability to drive anymore can leave seniors increasingly isolated.
A lonely senior is more prone to depression, exacerbated health conditions and are susceptible to accelerated memory lapses.
Companionship services are the balm to all of the above. Caregiving services work diligently to pair clients with caregivers who share similar interests, personality traits and levels of sociability.
Companions offer a range of engagement, depending on the senior’s interests. This can include:
- Reading out loud
- Playing cards
- Listening to or playing music together
- Walking pets (pushing the senior in a wheelchair when necessary)
- Keeping seniors company during meals
- Driving and/or accompanying clients to events and/or activities of interesting
- Attending movies or concerts together
- and more.
What starts out as a professional relationship quickly transforms into very special friendships over time, and professional companions significantly improve the quality of life for seniors who live alone.
Meal preparation and company
There’s no arguing with the adage, “you are what you eat…” but what does that mean for seniors who find it increasingly difficult to prepare meals on their own, or who are uninspired to cook for themselves?
What is the quality of food consumed by a senior if the one who “did all the cooking” has passed away?
A healthy diet is key to aging well and remaining as healthy as possible, and we also know that healthy diets can be integral to reducing symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Caregivers may also serve as personal cooks, learn the preferred meals of clients and how they like their meals cooked and prepared.
In addition to planning delicious and nutritious meals, based on the client’s preferences and doctor’s recommendations, the at home care provider can also do the shopping, make meals and snacks ahead of time for easy heat-up or consumption, and can stay a while to keep the client company and/or to clean up after the meal.
It’s amazing what three meals a day, smoothies, and tasty snacks can do to rejuvenate seniors and get them interested in things they’ve become lackluster about. Meal preparation services often give seniors a new lease on life.
Light housekeeping for looks, health and safety
Even the most meticulous of housekeepers will fall short when vision fades or when energy wanes. However, a clean home is good for the mind, body and soul.
Although you may not receive full-service housekeeping from your at home care provider, you can expect to get some light housekeeping done. The main difference is that the housekeeping duties will have a direct impact on client health and safety – such as maintaining a clean kitchen or bathroom. Any housekeeping demands outside of those related to health and safety will need to be coordinated through a separate agency.
In addition to enjoying a home that is spick and span, the caregiver-turned-housekeeper will also evaluate how the home is arranged, organized and laid out.
With the client’s permission, the housekeeper might re-organize kitchen cupboards to make them more accessible for a senior who has trouble bending and reaching, or who shouldn’t be up on stepladders anymore.
At home care providers will make sure lighting is sufficient, trip hazards are minimized, the items used most often are stored in the easiest locations to access and so on.
Keep seniors active
The more we study the importance of living an active lifestyle, the more we understand that even modified exercise makes a notable difference in the lives of seniors – both mobile and housebound.
From transporting seniors to aquatic exercise or yoga classes to providing guidance and support with prescribed physical therapy regimens, caregivers will help keep your senior loved one active and moving each day.
Exercise can also be integrated into a senior’s daily routine in “disguise,” via activities such as:
- walking short distances to get the mail or to visit with a neighbor
- stretching exercises to support flexibility and balance before getting up in the morning or out of a chair
- remaining as engaged and participatory in daily dressing
- bathing and grooming habits
- dancing together
- and so on.
Daily dressing, bathing and hygiene
Some of the simplest daily tasks, getting out of bed, taking clothes off, getting dressing, brushing one’s own hair, etc., become increasingly difficult when illness, weakness, chronic pain or dementia enter the picture.
The inability to get up and move in a timely manner can lead to bathroom accidents. When individuals are no longer able to dress themselves, do laundry, bathe or take care of other personal needs, it becomes embarrassing to go out in public, which further isolates seniors from the friends and activities they most enjoy.
Professional caregivers are trained to assist their clients with any challenges that arise with daily dressing, bathing or hygiene routines, and they do so while maintaining the client’s dignity and sense of self-worth.
Medication reminders and other timely responsibilities
Getting up and going to work each day, setting and maintaining appointments, these are the things that keep us turning the proverbial calendar pages and paying attention to the clock’s chimes – always with a general awareness of the date, day of the week and time.
The retired life, especially an inactive one where each day seems to blend into another, makes it more difficult to determine how many days have passed or what time of the day it is. This general life haze is exacerbated by any type of memory care issues.
As a result, seniors may forget to take important medications, attend critical appointments with their general physician or specialists, and so on.
Professional, licensed caregivers pass complete background checks, making them the ideal, trustworthy candidates for keeping things on track. In the midst of any of the above at home care services, the caregiver can also ensure the client takes their medications on time and as prescribed, that appointments and social engagements are observed and that expired food is thrown away and replaced.
At home caregivers can also make sure the client sends cherished birthday and holiday cards on time and facilitate other personal, traditional gestures the client is known for by friends and family.
Support skilled nursing care and prevent unnecessary hospital readmissions
Finally, at home care services can also augment or support skilled nursing care whenever required. Most at home skilled nursing care, or even hospice providers, are considered part-time services and require the presence of a caregiver of some kind in order to be implemented.
Licensed caregivers facilitate the skilled nursing staff and ensure the client’s well-being and safety remain a priority, even after nurses, physicians, physical therapists or volunteers are finished for the day.
Georgetown Home Care’s highly-trained care at home care providers can assist the skilled nursing team and fill-in the gaps – not to mention keep on the lookout for warning signs and symptoms, in order to prevent unnecessary hospital readmissions.
Increase quality of life and general well-being with at home care services
Our goal at Georgetown Home Care is to provide personalized, compassionate and joyful at home care services in order to keep you and your loved ones active, engaged and as independent as possible.
Contact us to learn more about our services or to schedule a free, in-home assessment. That is the best way to determine which services are needed, which ones aren’t and to begin creating a long-term plan, increasing services if and when they’re needed.