Learn about Home Care Services
Home care services enable elderly and/or disabled individuals to live safely in their own homes. These services range from grocery shopping and pet care to assistance with eating and bathing.
What are home care services?
Home care services vary greatly based on one's level and types of need. A home care worker may perform household tasks such as cleaning and shopping, or drive a client to doctors' appointments. For many, home care entails assistance with daily tasks such as dressing, eating, and toileting. One can receive home care for a few days or weeks while recovering from an injury or illness, or for many years.
While home care may include health-related tasks such as medication reminders and preparing low-sodium meals, it does not include professional nursing or medical services. For a description of in-home medical services, see Home Health Care.
How do I hire a home care worker?
People receive home care from private agencies or from individuals whom they hire directly. In some communities, a public agency like the Department of Aging and Adult Services can provide you with a listing of local caregivers.
If you hire a caregiver directly, you are responsible for scheduling and supervising the worker. You may also need to pay employer taxes. If you hire a worker through an agency, the agency assigns you a provider, schedules visits, and is responsible for employer taxes. Some agencies provide back-up services in the event that your regular caregiver is ill or on vacation.
Before contacting an individual worker or an agency, you may wish to print copies of GetCare's Home Care Services Checklist, which includes detailed questions to help you learn about and compare providers.
How do I pay for home care services?
Consumers usually pay for home care themselves, but some long term care insurance plans cover these services. Agencies tend to be more expensive than individual workers. In return, an agency frees you from some of the tasks associated with employing a provider directly.
Elderly and disabled persons with limited income may be eligible for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS). These home care services are provided by your county's Department of Health and Human Services.