Wanting to stay home is a common complaint from seniors with serious illnesses. Most family members can’t provide the proper care for an ailing loved one at home, so visits to the doctor, hospital, or clinic may become frequent. Some older folks might even have to move to an assisted living home or skilled nursing facility in order to get the proper care. This leads many families to investigate at-home care for seniors. This topic can raise a lot of questions, so here’s a good and honest guide about the pros and cons of in-home health care for seniors.
Pros of In-Home Health
First, let’s take a look at the very good things about in-home senior help.
● Seniors stay at home. This is the obvious benefit. Most older family members don’t want to have to move away from the comfort of home just because they need more help. Hiring someone to come into the home and help the senior with any medical or other needs is a good way to keep a loved one happy and healthy at home.
● Different companies can meet a variety of needs. Your loved one may have a severe illness and need constant medical attention. Or maybe they are just getting older and need help with things like grocery shopping and hygiene. No matter your senior’s needs, there is an agency that can help. Look at options like visiting agencies, home health, palliative care, or hospice and see which will best meet your needs.
● Families can get peace of mind. Worrying about the future of an ailing loved one can take it’s toll on family members. Hiring helpers to come into the home and do what you can’t can give you comfort and ease your fears about your loved one’s future.
● Insurance may cover some of the cost. Medicaid and many Medigap insurance policies will cover in-home health care for a certain period of time, particularly if the care occurs after trauma, an accident, or a new diagnosis. Check your insurance benefits to see if home health is covered under your plan.
Cons of In-Home Health
What about the downsides of hiring in-home care? Let’s take a look.
● You have to put your trust in strangers. It can be difficult for some patients and their families to trust strangers in their home. We’ve all heard horror stories about theft or fraud from in-home health care workers. Proper vetting of workers and going through a reputable agency can help avoid this problem.
● Different personalities may clash. There are many instances where the patient and one of the in-home health workers just don’t get along. You may end up going through two or three workers before you find one with the right dynamic for your family and the patient.
● It can get very expensive very quickly. While insurance may cover some in-home help for a certain period of time, your loved one may need more help than is covered. This is where in-home help can get very expensive. The hourly and weekly rates aren’t cheap, and you can quickly clean out savings and investment accounts by spending them on in-home help.
What’s the Best Choice?
Only you can make the right choice when it comes to in-home care for seniors, and that choice is different for each person. Be sure to look at insurance benefits, the patient’s needs, and the qualifications of prospective companies before you make any decisions. And remember, no decision is permanent, and in-home health care can change and evolve with your loved one over time.