Services from Unpaid Caregivers
Home-based long-term care includes health, personal, and support services to help people stay at home and live as independently as possible. Most long-term care is provided either in the home of the person receiving services or at a family member's home. In-home services may be short-term -- for someone who is recovering from an operation, for example -- or long-term, for people who need ongoing help.
Most home-based services involve personal care, such as help with bathing, dressing, and taking medications, and supervision to make sure a person is safe. Unpaid family members, partners, friends, and neighbors provide most of this type of care.
Services from Paid Caregivers
Home-based long-term care services can also be provided by paid caregivers, including caregivers found informally, and health care professionals such as nurses, home health care aides, therapists, and homemakers, who are hired through home health care agencies. These services include
- home health care
- homemaker services
- friendly visitor/companion services
- emergency response systems.
Home Health Care
Home health care involves part-time medical services ordered by a physician for a specific condition. These services may include nursing care to help a person recover from surgery, an accident, or illness. Home health care may also include physical, occupational, or speech therapy and temporary home health aide services. These services are provided by home health care agencies approved by Medicare, a government insurance program for people over age 65.
Home health agencies offer personal care and homemaker services that can be purchased without a physician's order. Personal care includes help with bathing and dressing. Homemaker services include help with meal preparation and household chores. Agencies do not have to be approved by Medicare to provide these kinds of services.
Friendly Visitor/Companion Services
Friendly visitor/companion services are usually staffed by volunteers who regularly pay short visits (less than 2 hours) to someone who is frail or living alone. You can also purchase these services from home health agencies.
Emergency Response Systems
Emergency response systems automatically respond to medical and other emergencies via electronic monitors. The user wears a necklace or bracelet with a button to push in an emergency. Pushing the button summons emergency help to the home. This type of service is especially useful for people who live alone or are at risk of falling. A monthly fee is charged.
To find home-based services, contact Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 or visit http://www.eldercare.gov. You can also call your local Area Agency on Aging, Aging and Disability Resource Center, department of human services or aging, or a social service agency.