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What is Home Health Care?

Questions to ask in caregiving situations.

Simply stated, home health care is the physical and mental support system provided to people wishing to remain in their homes or assisted living apartments by a caregiver, caregiving agency, or assisted living environment when they can no longer perform the activities of everyday living.

Today, many people are opting for home care or homecare assistance in assisted living environments as outpatient care has become the norm for hospitals and insurance companies. Homecare is appealing to many, as they most often feel that their homes are an extension of themselves.

Receiving in-home health care can be a great benefit to those recovering from  medical procedures that can limit their ability to take care of themselves. Some, though, may just require a little extra help managing things as they grow older or maybe they are learning to live with a medical condition or disability. Whatever the scenario, I urge you to review and consider the questions below, as this issue nears closer to you and yours.

Family caregiving for senior parents, relatives or even a friend can be a rewarding job. It can also be frustrating, nerve-racking and downright depressing. It is important to have the skinny on this topic if you decide to taking on any caregiving position.

What is the health of your loved one? Know that this can be very challenging —most parents do NOT like feeling dependent on their children. You will have to think "role reversal," as you will now be in the parental position. You will need to let your parent or loved one know that you are there to HELP them and that you are NOT there to take away their independence.

If they are still mentally capable, back away from those things that they can still adequately handle. Do not force yourself into the areas that your loved one can mange on theirown. Do NOT do things for them because you think it can be done faster and better; this will not go over well. Backing off and allowing them to handle what they can will help ease some of the stress that comes with being a caregiver.

It’s a known fact that once you become a caregiver you have a tendancy to  ignore your own life so, while it’s important to support a loved one, it’s equally important to keep your own life intact.

Are you strong of mind and strong of body? Taking care of someone who has had a stroke, heart attack or is just physically unable to care for themselves will take a physically and mentally strong person. Getting a person out of bed, into bed, getting them dressed, undressed, showered, shaved or just getting them walking can be a physical strain.

You will need to be aware of the devices, such as wheelchairs and walkers, that can be used to assist in lifting persons up. You will also want to learn how to lift, pivot and walk with the person you are caring for. Take some time to locate and discuss options and trainings with a physical therapist or occupational therapist to find out more on the correct way to perform care. If you are not healthy yourself or not physically strong enough to lift someone on your own, then you really should seek out additional support.

What is the financial situation? Most seniors are on a fixed income and can not afford to pay for those things not covered by Medicare, Medicaid or insurance. Even when care is covered, there could be a copay cost, which they may not be able to afford. Will this expense then fall on you?

Is there a chance they might need to be on a special diet? Additional care items, such as Depends or bandages, might not be covered by Medicare, Medicaid or insurance. Even the smallest of expenses add up during the course of an illness.

Are you (the potential caregiver) currently employed? If you are a working person, can you afford to quit your job to care for this person? Could you take a leave of absence from your job — paid or unpaid? What happens when the leave ends?

Did you know that persons recuperating at home can be visited by trained caregivers or treated by a registered nurse? There are many in-home care companies that provide alternatives for those persons who do not want to move into assisted living facilties or nursing homes.

It is important to note that not all home healthcare services are covered byMedicare, Medicaid, long-term care insurance or veteran’s benefits. Due diligence is required — contact your local Council on Aging to identify companies and agencies near you that provide in-home health care services.

Search here for names of private home care services nationally.

Being informed and prepared is the key to all solutions. There are lots of resources and support services available.

Be ready when your family need arises.

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