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Home Care

Help! You Need Somebody

The terminology around at home care can be confusing. Perhaps you've decided that your parents or aging loved ones need some assistance but will remain at home or in your home. If so, the next thing you'll need to determine is what type of care, exactly, they'll need. Even if you're their primary caregiver, you shouldn't try to do it alone. There are three general types of at-home care:

  • Home health care
  • Homecare services
  • Family caregiving

Home Health Care (Medical)

This is medical care that's prescribed by your loved one's doctor. It requires a Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) to administer medication and skilled nursing care. A Physical Therapist (PT) can also be a primary service provider. Other specialized services such as rehab may be prescribed. Home health care can work in conjunction with other homecare aids who can assist with daily living activities, such as bathing and dressing. When choosing a provider use every resource you can to ensure that your loved one is getting the best possible care.

Homecare Services (Non-Medical)

When your parents or loved ones don’t need medical care, but still need help with some of the day-to-day tasks, homecare services can enable them to stay in their own homes or live with you. Homecare aids aren’t nurses; they can’t administer medications or give medical care. But they can help when there are physical or cognitive limitations, such as helping your parents to get around, reminding them when it’s time to take a medication, or ensuring their safety. Homecare aids can also help with light housekeeping, meal preparation, errands, bathing, dressing, and other activities of daily living. Homecare is available on an hourly or daily basis, or as a live-in arrangement. You’ll want to do a lot of research before choosing a homecare provider. (See our Finding non-medical homecare checklist.) And because services vary widely, once you have decided, make sure you get all your expectations down clearly in a contract.

For information on paying for homecare, click here.

Family Caregiving

If you have decided to be a caregiver for your parent or aging loved one, you have come to the right place. You'll need a lot of information, solutions, and support -- and icarevillage has everything eldercare.

Still, you can't do it all, all of the time. You'll need respite care. If your loved one needs medical care, you'll most likely need to hire home health care for those specific needs, unless you're a doctor or nurse. You can also hire a homecare provider for part-time help if you need to work or have other responsibilities outside the home, or you just need some down time. (Down time. Now there's a concept.) Adult Day Services are another wonderful resource for family caregivers. Consider all your options, and don't be afraid to admit to friends and family that you need help. You have taken on a very demanding job - but one that can also be very rewarding.