Do you want to stay in the same house as you age? Find out more about the several seniors home healthcare services alternatives that can help you maintain your freedom while extending the amount of time you spend at home.
What is aging in place?
The concept of “aging in place” refers to remaining independent for as long as possible in one’s own home rather than moving into a retirement community or facility that provides long-term care. Imagine that you just need minimal support with the activities of your daily living. Suppose you have a close-knit community of family and friends in the area and the ability to utilize the right home care services to fulfill your requirements. In that case, remaining in your current home as you age may be an option that is worth exploring.
You may determine if aging in place is the best method to keep your freedom and make the most of your senior years by looking into the variety of services offered.
How can home care services support independent aging?
After the age of 65, the majority of us will, despite the fact that it may be tough to accept it, require some assistance with care giving. It’s possible that you’re used to handling everything on your own, splitting responsibilities with your spouse, or soliciting help from members of your family for the more menial chores around the house. However, as you get older and your circumstances change, it may become more difficult for you to move around and take care of yourself.
Suppose the idea of moving to a retirement community, assisted living facility, or nursing home does not appeal to you. In that case, it is possible that home care services will allow you to continue living in your own home for a longer period of time than would otherwise be possible.
Services for home care include:
Maintenance of the home: It takes a lot of effort to maintain a household. You might check into washing, shopping, housekeeping, gardening, and handyperson services if you’re struggling to keep up. Financial and healthcare management may also be useful if you’re having problems keeping up with your payments and appointments.
Transportation: For elderly persons, transportation is a crucial concern. You could find driving challenging or dislike doing it at night. You may preserve your freedom and social network by having access to trains, buses, rideshare apps, affordable taxis, and senior transport options.
Home improvements: Making house adjustments might help you stay comfortable and access your current home if your mobility is limited. Grabbing bars in the shower, ramps to avoid or reduce the use of stairs, or even the construction of a new bathroom on the ground floor are examples of modifications.
Personal hygiene: Assistance with daily life activities, such as clothing, bathing, or meal preparation, is included in the definition of personal or custodial care. Seniors home healthcare aides can provide personal care services for a few hours a day or as part of a live-in arrangement accessible around the clock. In addition to this, they could provide infrequent assistance with activities like as monitoring patients’ blood pressure or reminding them to take their prescriptions.
Medical care: Professionals with the necessary training, including occupational therapists, home health nurses, and social workers, can offer some healthcare services at clients’ homes. Although you might have to pay some out-of-pocket expenses, ask your insurance company or health service to determine what coverage is offered. Home hospice care is an option as well.
Daytime courses: While giving your carers a vacation, day programs or adult daycare can keep you occupied with daily activities and interaction. While some childcare programs focus mostly on social interaction, others offer some health services or are more focused on certain conditions, such as Alzheimer’s in its early stages.
Does aging in place suit your needs?
It’s quite normal to want to spend more time at home as you become older. The comforting presence of the familiar might help us cope with the inevitable changes and losses that occur with advancing age. Your house most certainly holds a lot of wonderful memories, and your neighborhood most likely has a lot of people whose faces are known to you. Nevertheless, taking a step back to examine the situation from a more macro perspective will be of assistance to you in assessing whether staying at home for an extended period of time is, in fact, the most advantageous course of action for you to do.
Too frequently, decisions to move away are hastily made following an unexpected loss or health crisis, which makes transitions all the more traumatic and challenging. Making the decision that is best for you and your family can be made simpler with advanced planning and examination of the available home care services.
Naturally, each person’s demands are unique and rely on a variety of circumstances, including the level of care you receive, your overall health and mobility, and your financial status. When assessing your alternatives for home care and aging in place, keep the following things in mind:
Location and ease of access: Where is your place of residence? Do you live in a rural or suburban location where driving is common? Is it safe and convenient to use public transportation if you live in a highly populated area? How long does it take you to travel to places like stores or doctor’s appointments? Consideration should also be given to the area’s accessibility to local amenities and activities.
Accessibility and upkeep of the home: Is it simple to modify your house? Is there a steep hill or lots of steps to climb to get there? Do you have a sizable yard that requires upkeep?
Support is offered: Do you have close relatives and friends? How much are they involved? Can they give you the assistance you require? Many senior citizens prefer to rely on their family members for assistance, but as your demands grow, they might not be able to cover all of the gaps. Providing care for someone else, such as a spouse or child, can be physically and emotionally draining. If you’re willing to consider seeking assistance from other sources, your relationships might be healthier as a result.
Isolation: Isolation can quickly set in if leaving your house without assistance becomes difficult or impossible for you. You might not be able to continue engaging in the hobbies you formerly cherished, the volunteer work that kept you motivated, or the visits with friends and family. Depression is a given when these ties and sources of support are lost.
Ailment conditions: Nobody is able to foresee the future. However, it’s crucial to consider how you will address health and mobility issues if you or your spouse has a chronic medical condition that is anticipated to worsen over time. What typical side effects of your disease occur, and how will you manage them?
Finances: You can better analyze the advantages and disadvantages of your situation by creating a budget, including predicted expenses. Assisted living and other alternatives might be pricey, but intensive in-home care can also quickly add up in cost, especially for higher levels of care and live-in or round-the-clock assistance.
Accepting that your level of independence has changed
When you realize you are unable to perform the tasks you once performed, it’s common to feel bewildered, exposed, or even angry. You can feel bad about asking others to perform tasks you were used to performing on your own. You can also feel uneasy about having “strangers” over. You’ll not only be able to deal with your shift in circumstance better, but you may also be able to maintain other facets of your independence for longer if you acknowledge these feelings and have an open mind to new ways to make life easier.
Don’t be too hard on yourself: Losing some of your freedom is not a sign of weakness; losses are a normal part of aging. Without criticizing or calling yourself out, allow yourself to feel unhappy or upset about changes in your home care scenario.
Be receptive to new opportunities: To make your life easier, your loved ones may advise home care services. Try to have an open mind and discuss the possibilities rather than dismissing them out of hand. You might make new acquaintances or learn about new opportunities as a result of fresh encounters and circumstances.
Try out the services for free. You can get a taste of the advantages of home care services during a trial period without having to make a long-term commitment.
How to choose the best home care services for you?
After determining your requirements, it is time to make a decision regarding the home care services that are most suitable for you, as well as the locations of the most qualified service providers. Naturally, it might be difficult to put one’s trust in other people, particularly strangers, in matters pertaining to one’s home or one’s own personal care. Doing some basic research about the two options—hiring a home care service provider directly or going through an agency—can help put your mind at ease over your decision.
Start by asking family, friends, or neighbors for recommendations. There might be a neighbor who could keep an eye on your yard or check in with you frequently. Sometimes local religious organizations provide meals or social events for senior citizens. Find out if the people you know can recommend any healthcare professionals. You might also be able to get recommendations from your doctor or another healthcare provider.
Full-service agencies are typically more expensive but offer prescreened candidates who have previously through background checks. Since the caregiver is an employee of the agency, billing and tax concerns are handled by them. For crimes like stealing, they can also be subject to bonds. An agency can typically swiftly find a replacement if a caregiver leaves or things aren’t working out. They may also offer coverage in the event that a caregiver gets sick.
Independent suppliers are typically less expensive but need more work from you. You’ll have to take care of any tax obligations, run background checks, and confirm your identification. You’ll also be in charge of locating a replacement provider in the event of illness or an abrupt termination.
The discussion of home care services with a loved one
Seeing a loved one struggle to take care of themselves may be a terrifying and terrible experience. Your loved one may be wearing stained or filthy clothes, or you may have observed that their home is considerably messier than it used to be. Maybe it’s obvious that they haven’t taken a bath in a while, or maybe there isn’t much food in the refrigerator when you open it. Or perhaps your loved one recently fell, or you noticed a skillet on the stove burning unattended.
Problems can occasionally be brought on by progressive decreases, an abrupt change in health, or a substantial loss. Whatever the cause, it’s crucial to approach the matter delicately if you are concerned about a loved one’s safety or home state.
Respect the independence of your loved one and involve them in decision-making: The final decision regarding care is up to your loved one unless they are incapable. You may assist by providing advice and concepts for home care services. What alternative possibilities are there if you’re concerned that home care won’t be sufficient? Instead of attempting to impose a permanent answer, you might temporarily position it as something to test.
Look for the true causes of any resistance: A family member who refuses assistance can be afraid that they can no longer complete formerly simple duties. It might be more convenient to downplay any issues and deny them. Maybe they’re upset that they can’t communicate with friends as easily as they used to, or they’re mourning the loss of a loved one. Or perhaps they don’t like the concept of having visitors at their house.
Does Medicare cover Home Health Care?
Personal care services provided by an untrained caregiver are very different from home health care that is required for medical reasons. There is a wide gap between the two. Understanding the differences between these two types of care is necessary in order to identify individuals who meet the criteria for receiving Medicare coverage for in-home services.
Patients must first satisfy Medicare’s eligibility requirements in order for the program to pay for their home health care services. These services must be authorized by a physician and provided by qualified caregivers.
Who is eligible for Medicare-covered seniors home healthcare?
Individuals must meet the four requirements outlined by Medicare.gov and have coverage through Medicare Part A (called Hospital Insurance) & Part B (called Medical Insurance) in order to qualify:
- Eligible beneficiaries must be in a medical professional’s care. To treat or maintain a health condition, the doctor must recommend a treatment plan that includes medically essential treatments. The doctor must recertify the plan of care every 60 days because this care is meant to be temporary.
- Medical documentation confirming a recipient’s homebound status is required. This describes someone who relies on a mobility aid (such as a cane, wheelchair, or walker), special transportation, or the assistance of another person in order to leave the house. To be deemed homebound, a person does not need to be bedridden; they may still be able to leave their home for medical procedures, adult daycare, and brief, rare non-medical activities like church and family functions.
- A doctor’s confirmation of the need for at least one of the following services is required for qualified recipients:
- Variable-frequency skilled nursing care
When services are needed “less than seven days per week or less than eight hours per day during a period of three weeks or less,” they are considered intermittent. While there are a few rare cases when Medicare will pay for additional care, this is not the case.
- Professional treatment services
A licensed therapist must deliver these services, which may include occupational therapy (OT), speech-language pathology (SLP), and physical therapy (PT). The services must be required to safely and successfully engage in a maintenance program with appropriate supervision and teaching, to construct an initial maintenance program for the condition, or to improve the patient’s condition in a reasonable and somewhat predictable amount of time.
- A home healthcare agency that has received certification from Medicare must offer home healthcare services.
What Are Seniors Home Healthcare Services Covered by Medicare?
The primary objective of Medicare’s home care program is to provide elderly patients with short-term professional assistance in the comfort and convenience of their own homes as an alternative to recovering in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. This is accomplished through the provision of in-home caregiving services.
In order to provide competent nursing services, a certified healthcare practitioner, such as a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN), is required.
These services include, for example:
- Careful observation of a patient’s vital signs and general health
- Pressure ulcer or surgical incision wound care
- Giving intravenous medication or nutrition therapy
- Catheter adjustments
- Education of patients and caregivers
The services considered competent therapy are those that need to be provided by a speech-language therapist, an occupational therapist, or a physical therapist who is certified to do so, or under their direction.
In physical therapy, frequent activities that are designed to improve strength, balance, and range of motion also help restore these elements, which are essential for optimal physical function.
- Occupational therapy helps patients regain their independence in performing activities of daily living (ADLs) and can modify these activities or their environment to make them more functional and accessible.
- Speech-language therapy aids patients in regaining communication skills and overcoming swallowing issues (dysphagia).
It is crucial to remember that the aforementioned services will only be paid for if they are determined to be particular and efficient maintenance techniques for a patient’s condition. Medicare requirements will also decide the frequency and length of the therapies that are eligible. When the level of care reaches occasional or part-time skilled care, Medicare is not an option for funding. According to Medicare, home health care services are not meant to replace assisted living or skilled nursing facilities totally but rather to prevent or delay placement in one.
Does Medicare Provide Services for Skilled Home Care?
If only untrained care at home is required for the patient, Medicare will not cover the costs of providing that care. If they are included in the skilled services that are defined in the care plan, personal home care services (such as assistance with activities of daily living) and homemaker services (which may include light housework and laundry) will be covered by the insurance company. Medicare does not in any manner pay for services such as having meals brought to a patient’s house or providing any other kind of continuous home care.
What Should I Expect to Pay If I Am Accepted?
If a doctor orders home healthcare services, they will be delivered by a licensed home health organization at no cost to eligible seniors with Original Medicare coverage (Part A & Part B). Any additional services offered outside the scope of the authorized care plan will not be covered and will need to be compensated by the patient themselves.
Visit our website NewMedicare.com to learn more.