11 Different Aspects of Private Home Health Care
You might not have a very clear picture in your mind of private home health care. Since those services cover such a broad range, it might be difficult to parse out exactly what is included. The answer is that of course the specific services will vary depending on the caregiver. So, our list here isn’t meant to be completely comprehensive or completely universal. As we’ll point out later on, only qualified health professionals should do certain private home health care tasks. However, most of the items on this list are core services offered by most private home health care providers.
Any time you or a loved one are receiving private home health care, whether it’s a few hours a week or 24-hour home health care, there are going to be different aspects of life the caregiver helps out with. We’re here to take you through some of the different concerns people have that draw them toward private home health care, and how those caregivers soothe those worries.
What is private home health care?
Before we break it down into its components, let’s get a general definition out of the way and also discuss a few scenarios in which private home health care might be a good fit. An in-home caregiver is going to help an older adult with, basically, whatever they need help with. The goal is to provide whatever services will keep the senior healthy in their own home.
The first thing to know is that these kinds of caregivers are going to be somewhat flexible. If you are caring for a loved one and just need a couple hours once a week to get some errands done, a caregiver can step in with a little respite care. If, however, you need someone to stay with your loved one all the time, 24-hour home health care is definitely another option.
While 24-hour home health care can be a great option for some people, it’s not the best fit for everyone. When that level of care is required, sometimes it’s better to move your loved one to a facility that’s well-equipped to care for them. This is all on a case-by-case basis, though, and if your family decides 24-hour home health care is what your loved one needs, then it’s definitely possible to achieve that.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s look at the different aspects of private home health care.
The ability to get from place to place is a huge part of what it means to have a healthy, happy lifestyle. As we age, though, our mobility tends to decrease. Many seniors start to struggle with getting out of chairs and getting to the bathroom at night, and that can be dangerous. Those mobility difficulties can lead to painful falls. Private home health care steps in to make sure your elderly loved one is able to get around their house safely.
Keep in mind, too, that mobility issues might not be permanent. For example, after surgery, someone might not be able to get around well and need 24-hour home health care for a week or two, but they’ll return to a higher level of mobility as they recover. Private home health care can slot into this sort of situation pretty seamlessly.
Mobility doesn’t just mean your ability to get from the couch to the bathroom — it also includes how accessible the outside world is to you. If you or an elderly loved one has limitations on their driving or has stopped driving altogether, that can lead to isolation and depression. As we age, we can become dependent on other people for rides to doctor’s appointments, social visits, grocery shopping, and any other important activity outside the home.
Private home health care can often help with this. The name might be home health care, but their duties frequently include taking their clients wherever they need to go. Sometimes, they can even take your loved one in their own car, which can increase their sense of independence, even when they’re not the one driving. Services like 24-hour home health care can help make sure your elderly loved ones don’t become isolated due to lack of transportation.
Your nutritional needs change as you get older. Not only do older adults need fewer calories than they once did, but they also need more of certain nutrients, like Vitamin D. Keeping track of all that can be difficult, and that’s where private home health care services can step in. A caregiver can help you or your elderly loved one grocery shop and prepare meals, making sure they’re healthy and properly nutritious.
Plus, people with certain conditions might need to follow a strict diet. Even if the care isn’t 24-hour home health care, your caregiver should be able to track your specific dietary needs and help you make healthy choices.
Seniors are at increased risk for dehydration. They have less water in their bodies than other adults, and they tend not to feel thirsty as often. This means an important role for private home health care providers is making sure their clients get enough liquid. Water is best, but low- or fat-free milk and 100% juice can also be good supplementary choices. Just avoid beverages that have added sugars and salt — but your caregiver will know all this and can point you in the right direction.
Of course, nobody can make them drink more water if they don’t want to, but a 24-hour home health care provider can keep tabs on how many glasses they’ve had and prompt them when it’s been minimal.
Don’t discount how important it is for seniors to have someone to talk to throughout the day. Caregivers can provide stimulation in the form of jigsaw puzzles, reading, or just reminiscing about days gone by. We already touched on how important it is to keep a senior’s body active in the mobility section, but it’s also important to keep their mind active.
Some other great activities your caregiver and you can participate in include playing games and discussing current events.
This aspect of private home health care is going to be heavily dependent on the credentials of your caregiver. Only properly qualified health professionals are allowed to actually administer medication, but all private home health care providers can remind their clients to take their medicine at the appropriate times. This can be a big help for those who tend to forget their medications or when they do take them, they take them haphazardly.
Completing tasks like folding laundry or mailing bills can be difficult for some older adults. Simple household chores can start piling up and feeling overwhelming. With the help of a caregiver, though, they can become much easier to handle. They might only come for a few hours once or twice a week, but they can tackle many light chores that would otherwise go undone, like ironing or taking out the trash. That can make the difference between staying in your home or needing to move into a more full-service care facility.
Elderly adults can also sometimes be more susceptible to scams. A caregiver can answer the phone and screen for any predatory calls. Even if they’re not a 24-hour home health care provider, they should be able to catch a good chunk of the scams that might otherwise reach your loved one. They can also answer the door if anyone comes around selling things.
Safety Screening and Changes
A caregiver can go through your loved one’s house to identify any safety hazards, like loose rugs or cords that people could trip over. All stairs should have sturdy handrails, and there should be clear paths between high-traffic areas, like the living room and the bathroom. A senior care expert can give you action items to make your loved one’s home a safer environment, and that can give everyone peace of mind.
Your loved one might not need services as extensive as 24-hour home health care, and that’s why caregivers can be extremely flexible in their offerings. Your loved one might only need help with a few things around the house once a week and a quick check-up on the safety of their environment for now. These kinds of private home health care services can flex and change over time as needs change.
Specialized Medical Treatment
At the top, we cautioned that not all 24-hour home health care providers can meet every need. It will take the right kind of team to make sure you or your elderly loved one is properly cared for. That might include a registered nurse or someone else who is fully qualified to administer specialized medical treatment. Many chronic conditions require the kind of care that loved ones can’t administer on their own. They need the help of someone with the correct training.
Durable Medical Equipment
Doctors might prescribe certain durable medical equipment (DME) for use in your home. These sorts of things can include hospital beds, patient lifts, and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices, among other types of equipment. Some of these devices will need an expert to set them up, and private home health care can often get that done for you.
If you are part of the caregiving team for an elderly loved one, then you’re going to want to be aware of the most effective ways to help them. A caregiver can show you the best techniques, and they can walk you through how to use some of that DME. A private home health care provider can be an incredible resource for any questions you have or training you might need in order to take the best care possible of your loved one. If you have 24-hour home health care, then you probably won’t need this service, but it can be good for other situations.
Now, of course, some things are always going to be best left to the professionals. But they’ll know where to draw that line and will walk you through what you can do for your loved one.
What’s not included in private home health care services
Many families have to decide between a care option that keeps their loved one in their home, like 24-hour home health care, and a live-in facility, like assisted living. It’s important to look at what you get and what you don’t get with each option so that you can have confidence in your decision.
Keeping an older adult in their own home can often heighten feelings of independence, and it’s what many of them prefer. However, there are some services that you’re not going to be able to access through an in-home caregiver, even if they’re a 24-hour home health care provider.
For example, a swanky retirement home might have extra amenities like bowling alleys and ice cream bars. They’ll also provide a built-in community of other seniors to socialize with. As we’ve already discussed, isolation is prevalent among older adults who can’t get around on their own anymore. However, when you’ve got a bunch of other seniors around, you might have an easier time staying connected socially. While a private home health care provider can take you places to see your friends and can keep you company while they’re with you, you’re still not going to be in one of these communities.
Private home health care can meet many needs.
Although we did mention a few things that solutions other than private home health care can do better, it’s clear that aging in place is possible. Hopefully, by now you know that private home health care has a myriad of components, and there are few aspects of daily life that these services can’t help out with. From getting around to getting a bite to eat, there’s sure to be a caregiver who can help with whatever you or an elderly loved one can’t do alone anymore. Plus, companionship services keep seniors company, keeping their minds stimulated and sharp.
Trying to decide how best to care for an aging loved one is no small task. If you need help deciding whether in-home care is the best fit for your family — whether for a few hours a week or for 24-hour home health care — you can reach out to us here. We’d love to have a conversation about how our services can help your loved one stay independent at home for as long as possible.
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