Many seniors wish to remain in their own homes where a lifetime of memories brings them familiarity and comfort. As the years progress, family members may notice once simple daily activities have become more challenging for their loved one. Difficulty in consistently maintaining the house or an increasing neglect for one’s own hygiene and personal needs are not uncommon. A little companionship and support may be all that is needed to remedy the situation. The answer could be a home helper/companion service. Individuals providing these services are available to assist others with daily tasks to help them remain healthy and independent wherever they call home for as long as possible.

Home helper/companions are caregivers who help others with daily living activities. These tasks may include, but are not limited to, light housekeeping, assistance with meal planning and preparation, shopping and errands, and companionship. Home helpers/companions can also remind an individual to take regularly scheduled medications. In addition, they can supervise self care or accompany clients to the grocery store, appointments and other engagements. Some companies can provide direct personal care. This extends services to include assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming and incontinence care.

Different types of companies provide home helper/companion services. Some companies offer a wide range of medical and nonmedical services, while others specialize in nonmedical home care. There are also contract registries who will find a caregiver for your loved one; however, they typically do not assume payroll, tax or insurance responsibilities.

It is very important to be cautious when inviting someone into one’s home. You should know how caregivers are screened and trained, and if the employer provides insurance and assumes responsibility for payroll and taxes. Ask how emergencies are handled and if the company can provide fill-ins in case of a caregiver’s absence. Ask many questions and request references!

A good company will assist you in reviewing the different home care options in your community. Most companies will provide an initial meeting (sometimes for a fee) with the client and family to learn about their needs and explain the range of services available to them. The client, family and agency then create a plan of care that best meets the individual needs of the client. Depending on the company, service can be available on a limited, hourly basis or could be provided up to 24 hours a day.

Allowing a senior to live at home in familiar surroundings is always a plus if it can be done safely and within personal and financial constraints. Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance generally don’t cover home helper service. However, several long-term care insurance plans do pay for these services, as well as select Veterans Affairs and state and county benefit programs. It is always good to discuss what funding sources may be available. Careful planning and the right professional assistance will help avoid the stress of crisis situations and help your loved one remain independent at home as long as possible.

Source: Home Instead Senior Care