There's no doubt that its better, given the choice, to be sick at home rather than in a hospital or some other institutional environment. So it's no surprise that senior citizens would rather age in situ -- in their current situation -- than have everything in their lives turned upside down just when they're feeling their most vulnerable. But what kind of in-home senior care services are out there? There are two basic variations on the theme: we'll cover one of them here and now, and the other in Part II.
Non-Medical In-Home Senior Care Services
The most basic kind of home health care isn't precisely 'health care' in the sense that we're familiar with it. It's "non-medical health care," in a way that recognizes that a vital part of our 'health' is our ability to live independently, accomplish our basic goals, and have a social backdrop to our lives that keeps us looking forward to something coming soon.
To that end, non-medical senior care consists largely of homemakers who help the senior with cooking, housekeeping, and going out to get groceries or visit friends -- and, on the flipside, companions who provide for the senior's social needs, including visiting, playing games, discussing the news, and helping them get together with their friends and family.
Depending on each senior’s specific needs, the homemaker or companion can attend to them for as little as an hour each week, or several hours each day.
Non-medical in home staff generally doesn't help your loved one with the so-called 'activities of daily living', including getting dressed, toileting, eating, or ambulating around their home. They may provide transportation services (such as going to get groceries and putting them away when they get home), but they do not provide even basic medical services such as taking temperatures, blood pressure readings, or other basic checkups, nor do they help with medicines.
To learn about the other side -- the medical in home senior care services -- check out Part II!