When to Choose 24/7 Home Health Care
Most seniors want to stay completely independent for as long as possible. They’ll insist that they can handle all the same things they’ve always done. However, there comes a point for many families where they have to make tough decisions about how to best care for their elderly loved ones. It doesn’t always come in the form of an explosive intervention, a dramatic revoking of the car keys, or a drawn-out argument. But it is usually difficult for all parties involved. Fortunately, with 24/7 home health care, a lot of the strife surrounding these decisions can be circumvented.
Elders often do not want to leave their homes. So, instead of moving them into a nursing home, a caregiver can come to where they call home and make them more comfortable and safe there. Here, we’re going to give you some information about 24/7 home care services so that you’ll feel more empowered making the right choice for your loved one. We’ll talk about some of the most common situations where this kind of caregiving makes the most sense as well as what your other options are.
Before we get into all that, though, we’ll answer some general questions you probably have about 24/7 home care services. Let’s jump into the most obvious one first.
What does 24/7 home health care look like?
As you might imagine, 24/7 home health care can take a lot of different forms. Your loved one needs different types of care throughout the day. You, your loved one, and their care team can collaborate on a schedule that works for everyone. Prompting or helping with dressing, personal hygiene, and breakfast might be the tasks in the morning. Medication management, taking care of household chores, answering the door and phone, and participating in fun activities are all things 24/7 home care services can handle during the day. And then getting ready for bed and seeing to any nighttime needs rounds things out.
The specifics will vary depending on what exactly your loved one needs. What remains the same between all 24/7 home care services is that seniors receive the appropriate level of help for them, and they get to remain in their own homes.
Shifts for 24/7 home health care differ between caregiving teams. Some split up overnights from the day. Some are six hours long, while others are eight. Make sure you’re comfortable with how your chosen caregiving team handles their shifts.
Here at Seniors Home Care, our caregivers are always alert and awake when they’re on the job with your loved one. This includes those potentially dangerous overnight hours. If they need help getting to the bathroom or require other assistance deep in the night, there will be someone readily available.
How much does 24/7 home health care cost?
This is one of the most common questions families have when they first start exploring their options for 24/7 home care services. It’s no secret that any kind of care for seniors is going to be a considerable expense. Families have to save and plan well in advance in order to afford the right kind of care for their loved ones. 24/7 home health care is no different.
Nationwide, the average hourly rate is a little over $20. Overnight rates will often differ from daytime ones. What you actually pay will also depend on whether you’re hiring the caregiver(s) yourself or you decide to go through an agency instead. Agencies tend to be a little more expensive per hour, but you’re not responsible as the employer. You’re also trusting the agency with the screening of potential caregivers, which takes a lot of work off of your shoulders.
You might also wonder about the relative cost of 24/7 home health care compared to a nursing home or other residential option. Even though there are tons of mostly intangible benefits to aging in place, the financial element will always play a big role in your decision. Assisted living or a nursing home will tend to cost less than 24/7 home care services.
What kind of assistance can I get with the cost of 24/7 home care services?
The bad news is that Medicare does not cover these types of services unless they’re medically necessary. Whether 24/7 home health care will have that status will vary from person to person. The good news is that there are still several other avenues to help you pay for these services.
Medicare Advantage plans can often cover more care than basic Medicare on its own. To look more deeply into this option, check with the plan provider to see if it would be a good fit. If your loved one is a veteran, contact your regional Veterans Affairs office. They’ll be able to tell you what kinds of support you can receive through their organization. Or, you might consider the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). It’s a federal program that aims to keep more aging adults in their own homes and out of nursing homes. Check out the list of qualifications to get an idea of if PACE could help you out.
What are my other home care options?
Keep in mind that there are lots of in-home care options that are less intense than 24/7 home health care. You don’t have to go from 0 to 100. If in-home care is attractive to you and the senior in your life, consider hiring help for a few hours a week to start out. The agency you work with should have suggestions for you based on their initial meetings with your loved one.
Home care services can be as simple as providing companionship — reminiscing, doing jigsaw puzzles, playing games, going through photo albums, etc. It can also include skilled medical care on the more intense side of things. Some families prefer to have a caregiver there all day while they take over for the nighttime hours, or vice versa.
Cutting down on the number of hours the professional caregiver is there is one of the ways you can save money if true 24/7 home care services are not in your budget. The agency should be flexible enough to craft a schedule and solution that fits all of your family’s needs.
Agency vs Independent Caregiver
Many people lean toward hiring an independent caregiver because of perceived cost savings, and it’s true that their hourly rate is likely to be less than that of an agency. However, there are a lot of other considerations at play.
A 24/7 home care services agency is going to screen all of their employees for the right background, education, experience, and ability to do the job. If you decide to hire an independent caregiver, you’re responsible for all of that yourself. Plus, you have the burden of being the employer and all of the tax and liability concerns that go along with that status. If you choose to use an agency, they handle those aspects.
Finally, an agency is also likely to be more flexible. If your regular caregiver has an emergency and can’t make it, they’ll probably be able to send someone else to cover their scheduled shift. Finding an alternate independent caregiver is going to be more of a hassle on your end.
What kinds of needs would suit 24/7 care?
Basically, any scenario in which a senior can’t be safely left alone could be a good fit for 24/7 home health care. Memory care is a prime example. Dementia can make it so that people aren’t able to complete daily tasks. They might also be at risk for serious falls, falling prey to phone calls or door-to-door scams, or getting lost. If these concerns are big issues, 24/7 home care services can be a good fit. Having someone there in the middle of the night can provide a lot of peace of mind.
And don’t overlook the mental health component of a senior’s well being, either. Aging in place has a lot of benefits, but your elderly loved one might also start feeling lonely, especially if they can no longer drive and get around to the different social gatherings they used to participate in. Isolation can do a lot of damage to someone’s mental state. Transportation is often included in 24/7 home care services, which could make getting out to social events a lot easier.
It’s also worth noting that 24/7 home health care doesn’t have to be a long-term care solution. Sometimes, it’s only necessary for a brief period, like when someone is recovering from surgery. This is a pretty rare occurrence, and needs for everyone will progress over time. However, you might also consider 24/7 home care services if you as the primary caregiver need to take some time away for whatever reason. A caregiver can fill in for the family members that usually take care of a senior when they’re traveling.
24/7 Home Health Care or Nursing Home?
When your loved one’s needs have progressed to a point where constant care is the best way to keep them as safe and comfortable as possible, you’ll have to decide whether keeping them in their home is practical.
Aging in place has a lot of benefits. Keeping an elder in their familiar surroundings can be soothing, especially if memory is a concern. Plus, it can make them feel more independent. That feeling of retaining normalcy and independence can make a big difference in their mental health, the importance of which we’ve already discussed. Keeping someone in their community can also be a good thing.
However, there are some situations in which a nursing home or other residential place could be a better fit. Those who need access to certain medical equipment might have better, more efficient care at a residential program rather than trying to equip their home.
We’ve been using them pretty interchangeably, but there is a difference between 24/7 home care services and 24/7 home health care. The distinction hinges on how much medical care the caregiver is providing. Home care usually entails help with day-to-day activities, while home health care is more associated with medical professionals administering expert care. If you need 24/7 services, you’ll probably be getting a mixture of both kinds of caregiving. It can sometimes be easier for seniors to access medical care when they’re in a residential facility that specializes in this area, but 24/7 home health care is also a valid option.
Definitely consult your loved one’s doctors if you’re still on the fence, and speak to any residential programs you’re considering. They might have some helpful guidance, too.
So, when should you choose 24/7 home care services?
Take all of the previous considerations into account. Can you afford 24/7 home health care for your loved one? Are your loved one’s needs advanced enough to necessitate constant care, or are there less invasive options that could be a good fit for now? Would a residential facility like assisted living or a nursing home be a better fit?
Professionals in the field can help you answer all of these questions. Talking to your loved one’s doctor first is a good idea. You might also want to consult with a geriatric care manager. These experts know the senior care industry inside out and can help mediate family discussions if necessary, as well as assist with putting together a care plan. They should have further insight as to whether 24/7 home care services are a good fit for your elderly loved one. And of course, the agencies you’re considering hiring a caregiver from (or the independent caregiver themself) will likely also have suggestions on how often their services are needed.
Our team here at Seniors Home Care would be happy to have a conversation with you about the best fit for your loved one’s needs. Our services range from a few hours a week of companion care to 24/7 care, and we can tailor our offerings to suit your specific needs.
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