Aging In Place

1/19/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

Most older adults – 75%, according to an AARP survey – want to stay in their home as long as possible. There can be various reasons for this: emotional ties to their home, a wish to remain independent, or financial considerations. Nonetheless, aging in place sometimes has distinct disadvantages.

While the idea of living on their own may be emotionally and financially appealing, seniors with mobility issues, chronic health conditions, or acute illnesses could find it impractical or impossible. So, they face the difficult decision to remain in their home at their own risk or move to a facility where they will receive the help they require.

Fortunately, there is another option: home care. But what does home care do? Home care can allow older adults to age in place and receive the care they need. Here are the details.

What is home care? What does home care do?

This refers to any number of professional support services allowing someone to continue aging in place safely. While aging individuals often use these services to help them live independently, they are also available to those of any age with chronic health conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson’s Disease. Or someone recovering from a medical problem might take advantage of home care.

For the elderly specifically, it can provide the means for attaining the highest quality of life possible. It can include the following:

  • Help with dressing, bathing, and toileting
  • Companionship
  • Assistance with routine household tasks
  • Therapy and rehabilitative services
  • Nursing care for an illness, disease, or disability – either short-term or long-term

Keep in mind that providers might offer different kinds of services, some of which are medical while others are not. Medical home care is typically referred to as “home health care services,” and the non-medical variety is called “home care services.” Here is how they differ.

Home health care involves medical professionals

Even though home health care might include some home care services, such as cleaning and preparing meals, it’s primary thrust is to provide professional medical care. That care could come from registered nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, or speech therapists, all of whom have specialized training and have earned certification to provide medical assistance. Home health care aims to allow older adults to live independently and delay the need for long-term nursing.

The range of services that seniors receive from a home health professional are similar to what they would get in a nursing facility:

  • Wound care
  • IV insertion
  • Medical social work
  • Ventilator care
  • Catheter care
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech and language pathology
  • Monitoring of vital signs

As mentioned, home health care may include helping older adults with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, and eating. It could also include aid in cooking, cleaning, and monitoring their medication schedule.

Personal assistance and companionship

What about isolation – many wonder, what does home care do when it comes to companionship?

This service is non-medical caregiving, and caregivers do not provide medical support. It includes help with activities of daily living like bathing, transferring, preparing meals, driving clients to appointments, and grocery shopping. Other services might include:

  • Cleaning, washing dishes, and doing laundry
  • Medication reminders 
  • Companionship
  • Cognitive stimulation through conversation, reading aloud and playing games
  • Supervision for those in the early stages of dementia

Clients might receive assistance for one or two hours each week or 24-hours a day. Adult children often choose this service for their parents as a way for them to remain in place when their needs or abilities change. Older adults become ideal candidates when they:

  • Struggle with mobility
  • No longer drive and need transportation
  • Desire companionship
  • Show signs of impaired motor skills
  • Need help with ADLs
  • Are in the early stages of memory impairment 

So, what does this service do for seniors in need, and seniors aging in place? Whether a senior needs home health care or merely additional assistance around the house, the idea is the same: to enable them to live out their later years in the comfort of their home while receiving the proper assistance to keep them safe.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff