Senior Center

Understanding the Basics of In Home Care

By Daniel @ LivingSenior - July 12, 2011

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As we all know, growing old can take its toll on our minds and our bodies. These changes come about slowly and despite our best intentions we simply can’t turn back the clocks of aging. However, just because we face physical challenges in our golden years doesn’t mean we can’t continue to maintain a quality of life by staying in comfortable surroundings. This is where the idea of in home care was born.

There are two choices for home care: Your elder loved one can move into your home where you would become a fulltime caretaker or you can help them find the help they need that would visit/stay with them in their own home. These choices have been made by over 7 million seniors who are now enrolled in some sort of home care program. To select the best option for your needs you’ll first need to become familiar with exactly what home care is all about.

Reasons For In Home Care

One of the primary reasons for enrolling in home care is actually a temporary need. Often the recuperation from an illness or accident like a hip fracture can require the need of special assistance. This is when a home care professional might just visit for a couple of hours a day to help with physical therapy or other needs. Long term care can also be part of home care. This could apply to seniors who might have suffered a debilitating stroke or are in the early stages of dementia.

Home Care Personnel

Just as there are many different needs for senior home care, there are also specifically trained personnel who can be brought into a senior’s life to offer assistance. These home care professionals include:

  • Registered Nurses (RNs): These are the medical professional on the frontline of providing care not only in the hospital and nursing homes but also in an individual’s own home. Hiring a registered nurse means you’ll be getting skilled medical care that can include giving medications, monitoring vital signs, dressing wounds.  There can even be training of other family members to work equipment or administer simple procedures.

  • Physical Therapists: These are the certified professionals who work in areas of rehabilitation for motor, speech or cognitive skills.

  • Homecare Aides: Think of these homecare specialists as a kind of one-on-one orderly. They can provide personal services such as assistance with bathing, dressing or toileting. They can also pitch in with making meals, handle light cleaning and provide transportation for the senior to run errands or doctor visits.

  • Companion: Typically this might be a family friend or neighbor who offers help with various household chores or errands but don’t provide any assistance when it comes to medical or personal business.


Once you have assessed the needs of your loved one in consultation with their doctor, you’ll be able to pick the best option for a home care specialist.