Aging In Place

8/13/2020 | By Rachel Marsh

For many aging individuals in the United States, non-medical home care is becoming a more and more common form of support. This care option is low commitment, yet highly helpful for those who need some extra assistance with daily tasks. 

It boasts a variety of benefits, but is most appealing to those who wish to age at home for as long as possible.

What Is Non-Medical Home Care?

As the name suggests, no medical care is given in this type of treatment. Instead, a care aide provides other forms of assistance, including cooking, medication management, transportation, and help with activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, grooming, and so on). They may also help with light housekeeping like laundry.

As the name also suggests, all assistance is provided at the client’s home. This is intended to make care easier to receive, particularly for individuals who have a hard time leaving the house – or getting around at all.

Care aides are often from a local home care agency, and provide support for a specified amount of time. Assistance may be contracted anywhere from a few hours each week, to a more full-time basis. If a client requires 24-hour assistance, they can hire a live-in home care aide.

Overall, non-medical home care is intended to allow an individual to remain at home for much longer; it also makes the overall transition of aging smoother.

Companion Care

Non-medical home care is generally accompanied by companion care. Unlike non-medical home care, however, companion care does not require a state license. When provided on its own, companion care aides generally just offer light housekeeping and social companionship.

The Benefits

On top of regular assistance with daily tasks and chores, home care offers many additional perks to clients.

Companionship

Isolation can be a severe problem – particularly for both seniors and for those who have a hard time getting out of the house. Regular social interaction with a home care aide, even for just a few hours a week, helps combat loneliness significantly.

Cost Savings

Home care is also much more cost effective than other types of senior care. Assisted living, for example, may cost around $4,000 a month in the United States, according to Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey. Since home care is generally based on an hourly rate and usually not on a full time basis, it is more financially manageable.

Stay at Home Longer

As previously mentioned, home care allows clients to remain in the comfort of a familiar setting throughout the aging process – an advantage particularly important for those living with memory issues such as dementia.

Caregiver Burnout Prevention

In addition to the client, primary caregivers benefit greatly from the help of home care. They receive a well-deserved break, and have the chance to run errands, go into work, or simply do something for themselves.

The Trends of Home Care

Overall, this is becoming a more appealing option for the aging population. Spending on home care in the United States, in fact, has dramatically increased over the years, reaching a new high in 2018. 

Whereas in the past, many individuals may have had no choice but to move into a senior living community; but these days, technology has made aging in place even smoother.

Video Chatting

With video technology, seniors can stay in touch with the rest of the world more easily. Regular video chats can help keep them connected to loved ones, even those who live far away; it can also help family members keep an eye on their aging loved ones.

Telehealth has made huge strides over the years as well. Seniors can meet with their doctors virtually, without the need for assistance leaving the house or getting a ride to the appointment.

Wearable Technology

Seniors can feel safer at home with wearable technology, such as smartwatches. These devices have the ability to give out medication reminders; track vital signs like heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels (that can even be shared with a doctor, especially in case of a drastic change); and many have fall detection and emergency call functions in the event of a crisis.

Robots – Really!

These days, there’s a shortage of staff for home care – especially as the population of seniors increases. Robots are becoming more common to serve in place of a home care aide. Though, of course, they’ll never be able to replace the care of a human, they can serve many of the same functions: medication reminders, motion detection, and, much like wearable technology, they can monitor vital signs. They can also provide video capabilities to give caregivers greater peace of mind.

Questions to Ask When Researching Non-Medical Home Care

It’s important to research one or more agencies before committing. Here are some important questions to consider in your search.

How much will it cost?

According to Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of home care is $23 an hour. Another thing to consider: since non-medical home care is, well, non-medical, oftentimes insurance will not cover it.

However, some agencies offer forms of financial aid for clients, such as a payment plan.

Does the agency do a background check on the care aides?

It’s important to ensure that the care agency does a thorough background check on the person who may be spending a significant amount of time in your home and with your loved one. Additionally, ask if the agency keeps up with background checks on staff.

Does your loved one have a chronic condition that needs to be considered?

From diabetes to Parkinson’s to memory loss: if your loved one has a specific condition that requires tailored treatment, it’s often best to hire a care aide who already has experience in that field.

Will it be the same caregiver every visit?

Find out what the agency’s policy is on rotating caregivers; some clients would rather have the same person at each visit, while others have no preference. Also, check with the agency about their policy on changing the care aide: especially if this person is spending a lot of time with your aging loved one, finding a good match is important. 

Is the agency licensed by the state?

Many states (but not all of them) require agencies to be licensed, and to get reviewed on a regular basis.

Ready for Non-Medical Home Care?

Though there are many things to consider when taking the plunge into a new level of care (of any type!), many seniors and caregivers have been satisfied with their non-medical home care experiences. It offers a low level of commitment with a high level of perks – and may just be the perfect next step for your aging loved one.

Rachel Marsh

Award-winning writer Rachel Marsh has written for many different sites and publications on a variety of topics. She is the multimedia editor for Seniors Guide and works hard to make sure seniors and their families have the best information possible. When she’s not writing for work, she can be found writing for fun. Really!

Rachel Marsh