What is in home care? A lot of people think that in-home care can only be provided by licensed nurses, but that's not the only type of care that's needed. A lot of times, a medical crisis or even just the gradual onset of age-related disorders like dementia and arthritis can signal a need for non-medical home care. Learn more about the purposes of non-medical in-home care.

What Services Can An In-Home Care Provider Do?

In-home care usually centers around a senior's ADL's or "activities of daily living," which aren't medical in nature. ADLs are basic tasks that people do every day, and have to be performed on a daily basis. They include such things as:

  • preparing and eating meals
  • dressing 
  • driving
  • shopping
  • bathing and personal grooming
  • managing medication
  • managing finances and mail
  • cleaning and dishes
  • managing doctor's visits
  • help with laundry
  • running errands

Services can be done on an occasional basis, like a weekly check-in, or they can be done daily.

Who Provides The Assistance?

You don't need to have a prescription for non-medical care, and it is arranged through an agency or a private individual, and generally takes one of two forms:

Personal care assistants or elder companions: Often viewed interchangeably, these caregivers are able to provide company for seniors, do a little light housework and laundry, help with cooking, or simply check in on the senior daily to make sure that he or she is comfortable and has whatever medication and food he or she needs. Sometimes, an elder companion will drive a senior to various functions, like church, so that he or she can continue to engage in social activities and maintain social connections.

Personal care assistants can be engaged for long term care, as well as for short periods of time following a hospital trip, until the senior has fully recovered. They usually are paid hourly, and are only available for a certain number of hours per week.

Live-In Care Companions: When a senior requires more extensive help, a live-in companion can be arranged. Live-in caregivers are generally on duty and provide constant care and supervision. Sometimes one caregiver moves in with the senior, and sometimes duties are split between 2 or more caregivers who operate in shifts.

In either situation, these companions are best able to provide care for seniors who are suffering from various forms of dementia, or who suffer from physical problems that leave them unable to dress, bathe, feed, or use the bathroom without assistance. 

Again, these caregivers may be hired for short term-care, such as when the usual primary caregiver has to be out of town, or for longer periods. However, because the care is non-stop and extensive, it can be costly.

How To Get Started

A doctor or other healthcare professional may be the first person to suggest getting in-home care for yourself, or the senior you love. However, you don't have to wait on a doctor's order, since prescriptions aren't required. Contact your local in-home care agency for information and discuss the need for an evaluation so that it can be determined how much help is needed. In-home care can be exactly the thing that you or the senior you love needs in order to remain at home.