Many seniors would prefer to remain in the comfort and familiarity of home as they age. They value their current independence and quality of life, and wish to keep ties with their communities. For those who require special services, at-home helpers are available to provide assistance with normal activities of daily living as well as manage temporary or long term health concerns.
More than 7.5 million Americans currently receive in-home care, from more than 17,000 different agencies across the country. Home helpers and caregivers are available for an hour a day or 80 hours a week, depending on circumstance, and most agencies offer tailored programs that can incorporate extra services like nursing care and physical therapy.
Basic services generally offer two types of assistance.
Health aides provide assistance with needs like dressing, eating, bathing, and walking. Many agencies offer health aides who are qualified to perform simple medical tasks under the guidance of a registered nurse. These include medication administration, checking blood pressure and respiration, wound care, and exercises prescribed by a physical therapist.
Homemakers specialize in maintaining the household: grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and laundry. Homemakers do not provide hands-on help with personal care, but often provide transportation services for doctor appointments or prescription pick-ups.
Both types of in-home care can make life easier, more comfortable and more active for your loved one, whether dealing with a temporary setback or long term health issues.
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Rehabilitation from an injury or illness can take anywhere from a few days to several months. At-home helpers can provide the extra assistance and peace of mind that will enable your loved one to relax, get the rest she needs, and resume normal activities as soon as possible. At-home caregivers can also assist with certain physical or occupational therapies.
Agencies which provide home helpers can sometimes also arrange for these rehabilitation specialists to come into the home. Physical therapists will work to improve the patient's muscle strength and mobility. Occupational therapists can help seniors improve their ability to perform basic household routines using special techniques or equipment. Speech therapists assist in the restoration of speech, and also work with patients on breathing, swallowing, and facial muscle control.
If you have loved one with special needs requiring long term care, it is usually possible to find home helpers with particular expertise in those areas. Home helpers and caregivers are available with training and experience in Alzheimer's, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, or other challenges.
Even if you or a family member are the primary caregiver and able to manage without day-to-day outside assistance, at-home helpers can provide a much needed respite and release. Respite care is available on an as-needed basis and allows primary caregivers to take a break, relax, and concentrate on themselves. A few hours a week away from the burdens, responsibilities and pressure of full time care can do wonders for a caregiver's emotional health. Respite care can make the rest of the week more enjoyable and keep interactions between loved ones positive and compassionate.