For most people, their home is their haven. As a result, the adage “home is where the heart is” may become even more profound as a person ages. However, the reality is, there may come a point when an elderly or disabled person is not physically or mentally safe living at home without assistance.

If you are concerned about a loved one’s well-being, it may fall to you to identify whether it is feasible for them to remain in their home and what in-home care they need to stay safe and thrive.

What is In-Home Care?

Paraprofessionals and professionals provide nonmedical or medical care in your loved one’s private home. Paraprofessionals like personal care aides (PCAs) and home health aides (HHAs) typically help elderly or disabled people perform activities of daily living (ADLs), including bathing, toileting, grooming, transferring in or out of a bed or chair, and ambulating, and household tasks like cooking, cleaning, shopping, pet care, and running errands.

Paraprofessionals also play an essential role in filling the need your loved one has for companionship, both in the home and by providing transportation to social outings or appointments.

Medical professionals deliver in-home healthcare services, including skilled nursing care, physical or occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, wound care, IV or nutrition therapy, injections, and more. Trained medical professionals can also monitor serious or unstable health conditions.

Medicare and most private health insurers rarely cover nonmedical care activities. However, if your loved one meets certain criteria, Medicare or another insurer may cover specific in-home medical care.

Long-term care policies vary in coverage but typically focus on custodial and personal care rather than medical care. However, some long-term policies cover certain in-home medical services. Read the policy carefully to understand the terms of coverage.

Why is In-Home Care Important?

Answering the question “why in-home care is important” is relatively simple — the right in-home care is invaluable in keeping your loved one safe while also honoring their wish to remain in their home as long as possible.

In-home care can save a loved one’s life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports about 25 percent of Americans aged 65 and over sustain severe injury or death each year because of a fall. The highest number of fall-related injuries are hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries, with falls being the number one cause of death for older Americans.

It’s not just trip hazards that contribute to falls. Weakness due to poor nutrition, substance abuse, forgetting medications or taking extra doses, cognitive impairment, eye or ear problems, and acute or chronic illnesses may increase the risk of a fall. In-home care staff can identify and correct fall risks in your loved one’s home and monitor conditions that put them at greater risk for falling.

Several studies conclude older people who stay in their homes rather than moving to a nursing home stay mentally and physically healthier for longer.

How Does In-Home Care Benefit Your Loved One?

While keeping our loved ones safe and honoring their wishes is paramount, in-home care provides a host of additional benefits.

Maintain dignity and independence

Living in a familiar and comfortable environment gives your loved one a critical sense of control. Your loved one knows where things are, can sit in their favorite chair, and maintain a routine that may have developed over the years.

Having a private space they don’t need to share with others helps preserve their dignity. Even if they need assistance with hygiene and grooming tasks, your loved one is still in a familiar space, surrounded by personal items. Recognizing everyday objects, choosing which comb or lipstick to use, and assisting with the task reinforce their dignity and independence. A good caregiver encourages your loved one to do what they can and only helps as much as needed.

By ensuring your loved one is clean, well-groomed, and wearing appropriate clothes, caregivers help your loved one retain their confidence and dignity.

Personalized care

Personalized care means your loved one is the caregiver’s priority, ensuring their well-being; physically, emotionally, and socially. An in-home caregiver provides one-on-one attention to your loved one. In an assisted living or nursing home, your loved one may compete with many other residents for caregiving assistance.

Home caregivers keep your loved one’s home clean and tidy, remove trip hazards, recognize the need for specific safety items like shower grab bars, and perform many other household tasks. By letting you know what is needed to keep your loved one safe at home, you can take the steps to have safety features installed.

Companionship and social connections

A good caregiver is a valued companion to your loved one, helping to fulfill social needs in the home and transporting them to social outings and appointments. A strong bond often develops between caregivers and their clients and can even help to combat depression which research finds plagues millions of those over age 65.

Various studies also conclude that social activities improve memory, cognitive health, and mental well-being and strengthen the immune system in older adults.

Keep a beloved pet companion

Pets can be an excellent antidote to loneliness. Although some care facilities allow residents to have pets, it’s not ideal. In reality, many older adults must relinquish a beloved pet when they move into an assisted living or nursing home, which can be devastating for the person and their pet.

Most caregivers provide pet care services, although there may be an additional charge. Keeping a beloved pet can be critical to your loved one’s emotional well-being.

Keep family members updated

Many families of older adults have busy lives. Having a regular caregiver for your older loved one can provide the link you need to keep up to date on their well-being.

Caregivers have an excellent understanding of what is going on with your loved one, including changes in their condition, health updates, activities, and safety or other needs the family needs to address.

Medical care

With the proper in-home care, many older adults can remain in their homes even if they have a serious acute or chronic condition. As mentioned above, Medicare and most private health insurers may cover specific in-home medical care if your loved one meets certain criteria. Covered services may include skilled nursing care, physical or occupational therapy, or speech-language pathology.

Financial benefits

While most healthcare policies do not reimburse for nonmedical home care, home care is typically much less expensive than assisted living or nursing home care. With home care, you can pay for only those services you need.

According to their 2021 Cost of Care Survey, Genworth Financial reports the median monthly cost figures for a nursing home is $7,908 for a semi-private room and $9,034 for a private room, versus about $4,920 a month for 40-44 hours of home care per week.

Contact At Home Harmony to learn why in-home care can be the perfect choice for your loved one. At Home Harmony provides quality personal care aides to offer assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), in-home primary care visits, in-home wellness monitoring technology (RPM), and personalized in-home pharmacy services to allow clients to thrive at home.