Navigating eldercare for your parents can be challenging. Learn more about the different home care options available.
As our parents age, it can be difficult to help them choose the best care options to fit their needs and desires. Any life transition that we experience has the potential to interrupt our habits, roles, and routines. Transitioning into receiving care is an example of a life transition that might occur during older adulthood. This transition can be challenging for older adults, as they may feel that receiving care equals giving up their independence. However, various in-home care solutions actually allow aging adults to maintain or even improve their independence, by making sure they receive the support needed to participate in important and meaningful day-to-day activities.
Discover more about the various home care options and aging-in-place resources available, their benefits, and how to create a personalized plan that meets your aging parent's needs.
Our older loved ones may start to require more help with their daily living and health care as they age. Collaborating to create the right plan for them begins with considering what matters and assessing their care needs.
Depending on their specific circumstances, their care needs could include personal care, household care, transportation, or assistance with making and attending medical appointments. When weighing your options, it’s crucial to consider their current physical and cognitive capacity. Do they get around pretty well on their own? Are their judgment and decision-making skills consistent with what you remember? Do they have any special dietary or medical needs?
For example, many older adults take multiple medications and have the potential to make medication errors. Having someone assist with medication management could be a simple solution to helping your loved one stay safe and independent at home
Speaking with your loved one’s primary care physician is a good first step to determining what services might be needed and available. However, sometimes family members have a better sense of their loved one’s needs than the physician who only sees them once or twice a year. Coordinating with physicians, family members and of course your loved one is the best way to start discussing services.
In general, there are a wide range of services available, from personal caregiving to more complex and medical-focused care. To gain a better understanding of what type of home care plan your aging parents need, have a candid discussion with them to find out more about their thoughts and concerns.
Once you and your loved one settle on the right care home care services, you’ll feel more confident that they are safe, comfortable, and well-cared for in the comfort of their own home. Needs change over time, so be sure to reassess and reduce or add care as life circumstances and health status change.
Navigating home care services for aging parents can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. By dedicating time to research your options, you can come up with a plan that provides your parents with quality care and allows them to maintain their independence. Types of home care services include:
This is not an all inclusive list, but it gives you an idea of the variety of programs and services that exist to support aging-in-place. While each care option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, choosing the right type of home care for aging parents all comes down to their current needs and what makes them most comfortable.
When choosing home health care for parents, it’s important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of different types of home care options.
Companion care can provide seniors with companionship and socialization in the comfort of their own homes. This type of service includes activities such as playing board games, discussing current events, and other activities that can help improve their mental health. Aprimary downside of choosing companion care is that it does not provide medical assistance or any help with personal daily activities.
Homemakers help with household tasks, such as cleaning and organization. It is helpful for older adults who cannot perform these tasks themselves but still want to maintain a safe and liveable home environment. However, these individuals don’t typically provide any additional medical care services.
Personal care services include non-medical assistance with daily activities like bathing, grooming, dressing, meal preparation, and housekeeping. These services are most often carried out by home health aides who are trained in this type of care. Personal caretaking offers a great balance of in-home care and independence for older adults. This home care option can be more expensive because you are paying an hourly rate for 1:1 care and assistance with personal tasks that require a higher level of training.
Private duty nursing is designed to provide in-home medical care. Services may include wound care, catheter care, medication administration, and more. These services are typically provided by a registered nurse or licensed nurse who is trained in specialized medical care, as opposed to other home care aids who are trained in assisting with personal, non-medical care only. Private duty nursing can be very costly, which is a disadvantage for many people.
It’s important not to overlook physical therapy or occupational therapy for aging parents. Physical therapists don’t directly do daily living or medical tasks for your parent—instead, they focus on helping your parent maintain their strength and ability to perform tasks on their own. Similarly, occupational therapy can help your parents tackle daily challenges more confidently.
Regular sessions can help keep them active and maintain good physical health. The only challenge is that physical therapy can be costly outside of what insurance will cover and requires consistent attendance to see results.
Adult Day Programs provide a safe and supported environment for seniors. They offer comprehensive support, often including physical therapy and medical care. Because there is a higher staff to participant ratio, the cost is usually cheaper than a personal home service. A major benefit is the opportunity for socialization with a staff and peers through stimulating activities.
While transportation is often coordinated by the program, the commute can be disruptive for some participants. Unlike with some one-on-one aides, there is less personalization of care and participants can’t go on personal errands.
Live-in care provides around-the-clock assistance with daily activities, meals, and other needs. It is reserved for those who require a higher level of medical assistance and need frequent supervision. It can be difficult to find a caregiver that meshes with your family dynamic, but often families are able to find a match
Ultimately, when determining home care for elderly parents, weighing the pros and cons of each will help to determine what will work best for you and your family.
Understanding the available financing options for home care is one way to make the process easier. While costs and coverage vary based on individual circumstances, some general rules apply.
The first step in financing home care for aging parents is determining whether Medicare or private health insurance will cover the costs. Medicare provides some coverage for home care services, though not all are covered. For example, Medicare typically covers short-term in-home nursing visits and physical therapy services, but not long-term in-home assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs). Private health insurance policies may provide additional coverage beyond what Medicare offers, so it’s important to check with the policy provider.
In addition to medical insurance and Medicare, other financing options exist for home care. Long-term care insurance is an option if aging parents have already purchased a policy and is designed to cover the costs of services needed long-term, including at-home care. It’s important to note that there are limits on what will be covered by long-term care insurance, so it’s best to review the policy thoroughly. For example, if your parent was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and needed in home care, they may not be able to find a long-term care insurance company that would cover them. However, if they purchase long-term care insurance plan in their 50s, and are diagnosed with Alzheimer's later on, they can make a claim to start in home care coverage.
Home care services can also be paid for without insurance or Medicare. Cash and credit cards may also be accepted as payment, depending on the service required. Reverse mortgages and sale-leasebacks can help homeowners access necessary funds to cover these costs without leaving their home. Additionally, private payers, such as friends or family members, may be able to contribute to care costs.
According to a 2022 survey by Genworth, the median monthly cost of a home health aide in the United States, who provides personal care and assistance, was $5,302 per month. Alternatively, a homemaker who provides companionship and light housekeeping services was about 5,106 on average. Understanding these costs can help you decide the best financing for you and your loved one.
It’s critical to remember that no single financing option will be ideal for everyone. Carefully weighing all of the available senior care options is essential in order to find the best solution for aging parents. In most cases, it’s wise to speak with a financial advisor or elder law attorney to determine the best approach.
Communication is key when caring for aging parents. You will need to have an honest and open dialogue with your parents and any in-home care providers they may be utilizing. Ask your parents questions and listen. What matters to them? What’s a priority for them as they age? Then, you can frame the conversation around what you can do to support them in that effort.
Remember that it’s their life and ultimately their decision, so be sure to account for their wants and needs when planning their care. If a parent needs help with their personal care, such as dressing, bathing, or other daily activities, that should be discussed openly. Bringing in a third party like a medical provider or geriatric care manager can help ease any awkwardness around intimate topics.
It’s important to remember that aging parents will still want to maintain their independence and dignity. Therefore, care should be tailored to allow them to maintain as much agency as possible. For example, if your parent prefers to do their own shopping or laundry, those tasks should be supported rather than done for them.
Listening is the key to understanding what type of care your aging parent may need. Be sure to listen carefully, ask questions, and respect their wishes. Working together with in-home care professionals can ensure that the best plan is created for your loved one.
As our parents age, we can’t help but worry about their well-being and the quality of care that they receive. Taking advantage of aging-in-place resources and working with in-home care professionals can be beneficial for both you and your parents in this stage of life. Aging-in-place gives your family the flexibility to customize to your specific circumstances and lifestyle.
While home care helps with physical and medical needs, it doesn't alleviate the financial burdens that come with aging. As discussed, affording in-home care can be expensive. That’s where Truehold comes in.
With our sale-leaseback agreement, your parents can unlock their equity without having to move. Truehold will buy their home and rent it back to them, giving them access to their hard-earned wealth debt-free. Funds can be used to pay for in-home care, medical bills, retirement expenses, and more.
As renters, your parents won’t have to worry about the responsibilities of owning a home, like home insurance or property taxes. Home repairs will be handled by a local property management company, so your parents don't have to go through the headache of fixing broken appliances or coordinating repairs. Truehold residents also have access to our Care and Services Team—with occupational therapists on staff, they’re on call to help you find the home services your parents need to maintain a happy life in the comfort of their beloved home.
Ready to learn more? Reach out to one of our advisors today.
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