Aging in Place: A guide to home care services for seniors
As adults, we become used to being independent for most things. However as people grow older, there comes a point when it becomes too difficult to do many day-to-day tasks, including taking care of ourselves. Some seniors will decide to move into retirement or assisted living communities, but many still prefer to stay in their own homes for as long as they can.
Luckily, for those of us who don’t want to move, there are home care services available for us.
What are the types of home care services for seniors?
Here are some of the services being offered for the elderly who prefer to “age in place.”
Personal care and grooming – This can include assistance in bathing, basic grooming, and hygiene, and getting dressed. Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs) and private duty nurses can fulfill this service for the elderly in their patient’s own homes.
Nursing care – Seniors with health conditions can enlist the help of private duty nurses who can provide services like wound dressing, tracheotomy care, tube feeding, and help with medication for a few hours a day, or stay with their patient 24/7 depending on their requirements.
Allied health and therapy services – This usually falls to visiting health and therapy professionals like occupational and speech therapists, podiatrists, lab technicians, dieticians, and the like.
Specialised care – Certain seniors have health conditions like dementia or vision problems that may require assistance from carers with a special skill set, there are home care services that can fill that need.
Meal preparation and nutrition – This includes preparing food, cooking, and utensils. This can usually be done by companions, CNAs, and nurses. However, in certain cases, diets can be prescribed by nutritionists or dieticians.
Home help – This means assistance in household chores such as doing the laundry and cleaning the house.
Home maintenance – Seniors may need extra help in keeping their homes safe and well-maintained. There are home care services provided for the elderly for changing lighting fixtures, gardening, repairs, and the like.
Home modifications – Accessibility and safety are major concerns for the elderly who are at high risk for injuries from falls. There are home care packages that are available which may allow fixes like the addition of ramps and grab bars, lowering of shelves and the like.
Assistive equipment – We may also avail of implements that can help us adapt to our environments like long-handled grabbers, walkers, and wheelchairs.
Day programs – There are also adult daycare programs held in facilities that allow the elderly to socialise with peers and engage in leisure activities or health services in a group setting.
Transportation – One very important service offered to those who choose to age in place is transport. Assistance can be availed for going to medical appointments, social activities, shopping, and the like, and this includes the senior’s carer.
How can I avail of these services?
There are a number of service providers for any of these offerings for senior citizens who live at home. For instance, at Kalinga we can help you find home care nurses, certified nurse assistants, and companions by just a few clicks on our app.
Our Kalinga carers can help you remain comfortable, safe and healthy in your own home, assisting you with a number of tasks from showering, eating, driving you to the shops, cleaning the home, to reminding you to take medication, and more.
But there are also many other volunteer and charitable organisations, as well as private companies across the country that can fill your requirements, and they can do so for a wide range of budgets.
Here are a couple of other resources you can look into:
· Meals on Wheels Sydney (subsidised)
· Home Chef (fee for services)
· Tender Loving Cuisine (fee for services)
Adult Day Care Centres
· Access Sydney Community Transport (subsidised)
· Community Connect Transport (subsidised)
This tool found on the Australian government’s My Aged Care site can also link you to more providers.
Can the government help me pay for my chosen provider?
So glad you asked! Fortunately, if you wish to apply for a government-subsidised home care package (HCP), you may apply for an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) assessment at My Aged Care. If you pass the screening, you’ll put into one of four different packages (Basic Care, Low Care, Intermediate Care, and High Care needs)
That said, if it’s within your means, you’re expected to a certain amount towards your care services. Depending on the agreement, this can be a basic daily fee or one based on an income assessment, as well as other fees that go beyond the HCP’s coverage.
Keep in mind that you won’t need to take the ACAT assessment if you’re going to pay out of pocket.
So you see, we’re lucky to have a number of home care services available to us seniors in Australia, free, subsidised, or paid, which makes choosing to stay at home and independent a safe and viable option.