Home Care (Non-medical)
Table of Contents
Non-medical home care: An overview for seniors and their families
Non-medical home care is a type of care that provides assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) and other tasks that enable individuals to remain independent in their homes. This type of care is typically provided by caregivers who are not licensed healthcare professionals.
What is Non-Medical Home Care?
Non-medical home care provides assistance with a variety of daily tasks, including meal preparation, light housekeeping, companionship, personal care (such as bathing and dressing), transportation, and medication reminders. The goal of non-medical home care is to help individuals maintain their quality of life and independence while also providing peace of mind to their family members.
Non-medical home care differs from home healthcare in that it does not provide medical care. Instead, it focuses on helping individuals with daily tasks and activities.
Who is Non-Medical Home Care For?
Non-medical home care is an excellent option for seniors who need help with daily activities but want to maintain their independence. It's also a good choice for seniors who are no longer able to live safely on their own but don't require the round-the-clock care provided by an assisted living facility.
Non-medical home care is typically paid for out-of-pocket by the individual or their family members. The cost varies depending on the level of care required and the location, but it is generally more affordable than home healthcare services.
How to Choose a Non-Medical Home Care Provider
Choosing a non-medical home care provider can be a difficult decision. Here are some factors to consider when making your choice:
- Reputation: Look for a provider with a good reputation in your community.
- Services: Choose a provider that offers the services that are important to you or your loved one, such as transportation, meal preparation, or personal care.
- Staffing: The quality of care provided by a non-medical home care provider depends on the staff. Look for a provider with well-trained and compassionate caregivers.
- Cost: Non-medical home care can be expensive, so it's important to choose a provider that fits your budget.
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How can non-medical home care help family caregivers?
Your parent may need help with their activities of daily living, such as dressing, eating, bathing or using the bathroom. They may also need someone to cook meals, do laundry and keep their home clean, if they aren’t able to care for themselves in those ways anymore. And depending on their health status, they may need 24-hour supervision.
If you’re a family caregiver with a job, a family and your own household to run, being ever-present to meet your parent’s daily needs may not be a possibility. Trying to do everything by yourself may be stressful and overwhelming. But hiring a home health aide or personal care aide can keep your parent safe and cared for in their own home while you supervise, rather than run the show. It’s a valuable service that may help you feel less stressed and more in control of your life.
Having someone else to rely on to handle basic care and companionship for your parent may give you peace of mind, whether you live across town and visit regularly, or you’re across the country.
How much does non-medical home care cost?
Most people who hire home health aides and personal care aides pay out-of-pocket, whether they find an aide through a home care agency or place an ad and hire someone privately. Aides are hired by the hour, whether through an agency or individually. Agencies may have a minimum number of hours that aides must work per day and/or week.
The average rate for a home health aide is $17 per hour. Home health aides and personal care aides who are hired through an agency are more expensive than those who are hired directly, but there are advantages to paying a bit more; the agency takes care of taxes, background checks and other necessary paperwork. If you hire someone on your own, you’ll have to do all of these administrative tasks, plus interviewing potential candidates, hiring and firing.
Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of a home health aide, except under very limited circumstances. If someone has Medicare Part A or Part B, Medicare may pay for a part-time home health aide for 3 weeks or less, provided that Medicare has agreed to pay for part-time in-home skilled nursing during the same time frame.
If your parent qualifies for Medicaid, they may be eligible for a home health aide, if they can prove that their health condition prevents them from managing their activities of daily living. Each state may have its own rules and criteria for eligibility. Some home care agencies may not accept Medicaid.
Veterans may be eligible for homemaker and home health aide services, if they are enrolled through the VA and are unable to manage their activities of daily living on their own. The VA will send aides from a home care agency that they contract with locally.
If your parent has a long-term-care insurance plan, they may have coverage for a home health aide or personal care aide, but you’ll have to read the fine print to see if this is a service that’s available to them.
How do I find non-medical home care for my loved one?
If you’re seeking a home health aide or personal care aide for your parent, you can search for local home care agencies through Medicare’s home health locator; the Eldercare Locator, which will provide contact information for your local Area Agency on Aging; or the Community Resource Finder from the Alzheimer’s Association and AARP. Your parent’s doctor may also have recommendations about local home care agencies.
When you call home care agencies to find a home health aide or personal care aide, asking questions should help you find an agency and aide that will suit your parent’s needs. Consider questions like:
- Is your agency licensed by the state?
- Do you accept Medicare, Medicaid or other insurance?
- Are your employees licensed and background-checked?
- How long have your aides been with the company?
- Are services available to my parent 24/7, if there’s an off-hours emergency?
- What is the procedure for providing a replacement aide if the scheduled aide is unable to work on a given day?
- Can we request the same aide at each visit if my parent likes someone particular?
- Do you create care plans for clients? Can my family have input into my parent’s care plan?
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