Chapter 4

Chapter 4 Excerpt – At Home Care

However, at this point, we may also be looking for care beyond those day-to-day chore situations. There are two categories of care that can typically be offered to the senior while in their own home:

1) “home care” which is usually provided either by informal caregivers (family or friends) or by non-medical staff for help with meals, medication management, housework, and basic ADLs and

2) “home health care” which covers some areas of “home care” but also focuses on areas that involve medical treatment, such as administering oral medications, taking blood pressure, changing dressings.

For an official description of the differences (which can seem confusing), go to:
Personal and Home Care Aides and Home Health Aides

Two national firms that can help with some of these Home Care responsibilities would be ComfortKeepers and Home Instead, Inc. There may also be very reliable providers in your local area. Again, check with your local Area on Aging or Department of Public Health who frequently have a list of providers that you can research.

You may want to check with your local physician for recommendations concerning Home Health Care providers. Since they may be required to do certain medical services, you want to see if there is a company that the physician has used or can suggest you contact for further investigation. Websites like the ElderCare Locator through the Department of Health and Human Services give good information on questions to ask when interviewing any home care of home health care provider.

According to Elizabeth Moss of WholeCare Connections, some qualities to look for in a caregiver would be:

* A professional appearance – make sure they are well trained and know how to properly use any equipment
* Good observational skills – sensitivity to identify changes in physical an/or emotional needs
* Good communication skills – do they look the senior in the eye, use appropriate touch and give the senior time to respond
* Self-confidence – you want to feel that you and the senior are in good hands
* An Open Mind – understanding that the care receiver may sometimes take out anger, frustration on whoever is closest without taking it personally, be open to learning from people of different backgrounds

A sense of humor and creativity – these skills can help with problem solving, stress, and maintaining control of a situation.