Home Care and Home Care Services: An IntroductionHave you thought about home care for yourself or for your senior parents? Perhaps you're not at that point yet but it might be worthwhile to start to consider questions such as what type of home care would be best, whether you or your loved ones would prefer to live at home or in a retirement community, what your full range of options are and how to get the best out of home care.
Even if this is a discussion that seems like one you can put off for a while yet, researching the services and costs associated with home care services ahead of time ensures that if something happens or if your parents' health begins to deteriorate at home, that there's a plan of action in place and someone to contact or a resource to consult when you need it.
One of the most common impressions of home care is simply that it's only for those who are dealing with an illness or who need constant supervised care. In actuality, home care services vary and are available for people who require a bit of extra assistance each day to those who would not otherwise be able to remain comfortably at home without additional care.
Introduction to Home Care: Consider These Home Care Factors
While most people want to stay at home as they get older, they often don't think about the factors that can help them to remain active and independent, such as:
- The availability of friends and family to provide assistance
- How the home can be modified to meet changing needs
- Whether there's access to nearby transit
- If finances will cover help with daily tasks or additional health care services
Get more in depth information, including a list of home care services and agencies in our introduction to home care.
Types of Home Care Services and Support
There are several different types of home care you may want to consider:
- Government-funded Support—It's important to note that the government does pay for home health care services across Canada, but limitations vary and home care assessments are available and advised for anyone concerned about their eligibility. Depending on the jurisdiction, services may be subject to income testing and/or a co-pay and there may be limits to the kinds of services provided. In this case, private home care providers can complement government funded care. You can learn more about government-funded home care here.
- Community-funded Support—You may not realize it but local communities and a number of non-profits, like the United Way, offer a variety of home care services. While some are free, others are available at a cost that may include putting your name on a waiting list. Most of these services count on donations and offer programs including adult day programs, transportation, meals on wheels, and other forms of support.
- Privately-funded Support—Privately hired home care professionals are an additional complement to government and community funded support. These companies offer specific and individualized support, including regular companionship, meal preparation, transportation and even Alzheimer's care. They can also be consulted for those living in retirement communities.
Learn more about community-funded and privately-funded support, including a list of reputable companies, here.
Home Care Costs
This is likely one of your biggest concerns in terms of choosing home care, and rightfully so. As with all services and companies, it's important to do as much research as possible and ensure you're receiving both the proper care and a reasonable price from a reputable agency. Many home care organizations offer a free cost assessment as part of a pre-service assessment.
When discussing and assessing home care costs, consider the following:
- The contract
- Home care costs and billing rates based on needs
- How your costs will be assessed
- How billing is handled
- Liability concerns about hiring a neighbor or family member to help out instead
Choosing the Right Home Care
Choosing home care and a home care agency is a very personal decision for you and your family but it doesn't have to be a difficult one. As outlined briefly here, there are several different options to explore and questions to consider, and above all selecting the proper care for the health of yourself and your loved ones is most important.
Learn more about choosing the best home care agency here.
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