Home health care is a challenge for any caregiver, but especially so for caregivers who are family members. Even so, many family members and friends continue to perform these difficult tasks, which are emotionally charged and may be embarrassing or uncomfortable for caregiver and the one receiving care.
Fifty-six percent of men and 19% women who receive home health care services get them from a spouse or significant other. The National Health Statistics Report goes on to say 29% of men and 66% of women receive home care from a child or another family member.
Even though family and friends provide much in the way of home care, the services needed by those 65 years and older typically fall outside the skills of family and friends. The services most needed are skilled nursing services (84%), physical therapy (40%), help with activities of daily living (ADLs) (37%), homemaker services (17%), occupational therapy (14%), wound care (14%), and dietary counseling (14%), according to the report.
Skilled nursing services—provided by a registered nurse and frequently complex—aren’t the strong suit of most family caregivers. While many of us are comfortable cleaning or preparing meals for a loved one, cleaning cuts, caring for bed sores or providing for the complex needs of someone with dementia, may not be possible.
But there is a safe, cost-effective alternative that relieves some of the stress on everyone involved. Many organizations provide skilled nursing home care for those with a variety of conditions. There are many benefits to home care, one of the main ones being aging adults get the help they need in comfortable, familiar surroundings.
There are many additional benefits:
- In-home services are a cost-effective alternative to assisted living or nursing home care;
- Trained professionals monitor wellness and provide companionship;
- Health can be preserved through improved medication compliance, reduced number of falls and fewer complications from inadequate personal care and isolation; and
- Hospital readmissions, for heart failure in this example, are reduced.
Alfonso Trujillo, an expert in care management for aging adults, is vice president of Care Management at InnovAge
This InnovAge blog is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your health or medical needs.