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What Should You Look For When Choosing Elder Care at Home?

Elder Care at Home

Is there an elderly person in your life whom you love and want to provide the best care?

In some cases elder care at home is the best option, while in other cases you will need to consider an assisted living, nursing home, or other arrangement.

Most elderly people want to maintain as much independent living as possible. The old, familiar surroundings of home are a source of comfort and can keep them healthy. However, if they need a little extra help, if you cannot provide the amount of extra care based on distance or your own life schedule with work and family, or if the elderly person is recovering from an illness or hospital stay, then elder care at home through a home health care agency or independent provider may help.

What should you look for when choosing elder care at home?

Services Provided by Elder Care at Home

The type of provider you choose for elderly care will be determined by the services required. There are several categories of in-home care which include:

  • Nursing care by a skilled practitioner
  • Therapy such as speech, physical, and occupational
  • Nutritional consultations and Dietary Planning
  • Educational Services such as how to administer necessary medicines for self care
  • Equipment rentals or purchases such as wheelchairs or monitoring equipment
  • Custodial care such as bathing, feeding, and personal care
  • Light housekeeping and transportation
  • Temporary in-home care

Some home care options are covered by Medicare; others by long-term care insurance. Some are not covered and must be paid for out of pocket.

What Coverage is Available for Elder Care at Home?

In general, in-home care that has been ordered by the patient’s doctor as being medically necessary will be covered by Medicare. Often the patient has already been treated in a hospital or skilled nursing facility for the condition to have Medicare cover the elder care at home. Only in extreme cases will they consider custodial care which includes personal care.

Depending on the long-term care insurance policy, you may be able to have other in-home care services covered. Be sure to take this into consideration when you purchase the policy. Read the fine print so you are covered for services that you anticipate will be necessary.

If you hire a provider for elder care at home during your own working hours, you may be eligible for a tax credit. Check out the latest guidelines on the IRS website at: www.irs.gov

Does an Elder Care at Home Provider Need to be Licensed?

Many providers are certified home health care agencies or independent providers. However, not all agencies or individuals that have not yet received their certifications should be counted out of the process for your consideration.

Consider the specific care needs of the elderly person and then find the best qualified option. Some reliable and professional services may not have all the equipment needed for certification by federal and state guidelines, but still be a good option.

As in all things, using your best judgment and following your instincts is a good idea.

Recommendations can be found through the patient’s doctor, local Medicare office, the private insurer, local hospitals, social service agencies, friends, church, National Association for Home Care (www.nahc.org) and the Visiting Nurses Association of America.

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