Live-In Care In-Depth: What it is and how it works…
Young people aren’t the only ones who want independence. A growing number of studies have found that older adults want to maintain their independence as they age and stay in their homes as long as possible. The number of seniors needing to use paid long-term care—whether at home or in a skilled-care residential setting—is expected to double from 13 million in 2000 to 27 million in 2050, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The aging Baby Boomer population is fueling the growth.
While seniors want to remain at home, they acknowledge that they will need caregivers to help them keep their independence. While relatives usually work as unpaid caregivers, the daily care for seniors with chronic illnesses, mobility issues or dementia takes a physical and emotional toll on family and friends. To prevent caregiver burnout of relatives and friends and to avoid moving out of their homes, many older adults are turning to paid caregivers to provide live-in senior care.
Live-In Caregivers Offer Daily Support
It’s not unusual for older adults to become frustrated over not being able to do things for themselves as they once did, like change clothes, put on shoes, or go to the bathroom without assistance. A live-in caregiver helps with these and many more routine tasks each day. In-home caregivers provide non-medical services, such as:
- Helping seniors with bathing, grooming and feeding
- Preparing meals
- Shopping for groceries
- Washing dishes, doing laundry and other light housekeeping tasks
- Providing transportation to doctor appointments, running errands
- Providing medication reminders
When medical-related services are necessary, a home health care agency can send licensed health care professionals such as a nurse or a physical therapist to an older adult’s home. For instance, a nurse can give injections, care for wounds or treat an illness.
Some home health agencies also have aides who do the same type of household chores as caregivers from an in-home senior care agency. One important service that both home health aides and in-home senior caregivers provide is meaningful companionship for older adults who may otherwise feel isolated if they do not have family members or friends living nearby.
Is 24-Hour Care the Same as Live-In Care?
Both live-in care and 24-hour care provide similar services but one of the major differences comes in scheduling caregivers. For example, an in-home caregiver can work four or five days at a time and another caregiver fills in the remaining days.
Live-in caregivers are also allowed to sleep overnight and are available to help seniors who do not need too much assistance at night, except perhaps for help with trips to the bathroom or reminders to take medication at certain times during the night.
With 24-hour care, two or three caregivers work each day in 8- or 12-hour shifts. Unlike live-in caregivers who sleep overnight, 24-hour caregivers stay awake during their shifts. This nighttime watch can benefit clients with dementia who are prone to wander or those who have problems with insomnia.
A turnover of caregivers within a matter of hours each day may become confusing to some seniors, especially those in different stages of dementia. It may also make it difficult for seniors to get to know caregivers who rotate based on shifts. A live-in caregiver’s consistency gives seniors the ability to establish a solid one-on-one relationship with their caregiver. Generally, families decide on whether to use 24-hour care or live-in care based on the needs of their loved ones.
Is This a Good Match? Matching A Caregiver To A Senior
While caregivers may provide excellent care, their personalities may clash with an older adult’s personality. This can make things uneasy for both the client and the caregiver. To avoid potential conflicts, most live-in care agencies have procedures for ensuring a good match between caregivers and seniors.
FCP Live-In, for example, has a “Harmony Match” system where a social worker or a geriatric care manager visits a potential client’s home to learn more about the older adult’s physical needs, habits, cultural background, religious beliefs, overall lifestyle, and more. After a thorough review, FCP Live-In determines the best potential match from the agency’s comprehensive caregiver database.
Having a caregiver with a similar background or one who understands a senior’s worldview makes the older adult more likely to accept services from the caregiver. While most in-home senior care agencies attempt to provide ideal compatibility, the daily interactions between the older adult and caregiver will ultimately prove whether the match is successful.
Finding A Caregiver | Working With an Agency vs. Hiring an Independent Contractor
An older adult or their family members have the option of working with an in-home senior care agency that provides caregivers or hire an independent caregiver who does not work for an agency. It is recommended that families who prefer hiring an independent caregiver conduct a thorough background check of potential workers. Families should also take into account any insurance and tax matters, such as whether the person will be considered an independent contractor or a household employee under Internal Revenue Service laws. Needless to say, hiring an in-home senior care agency relieves families of the responsibility of finding their own caregiver, and following state and federal employment regulations.
What may help family members to determine whether to use an agency or an independent worker is establishing a budget for in-home care. Families can also take into consideration the fact that Medicare pays for certain in-home health-related services for seniors, such as physical therapy, speech-language pathology services, and skilled nursing care. Companies such as FCP Live-In customize their services to meet the needs of clients and offer services at more affordable costs than nursing homes or an assisted living facility.
Remaining at Home Means Getting Help
A study conducted by AARP found that 3 out of 4 adults 50 years old and over say they would like to stay in their homes as they age. It’s possible for seniors to fulfill their desire of maintaining a quality of life in the comfort of their homes. But, having a sense of independence may mean having to depend on in-home senior care. To learn more about how FCP Live-In provides assisted living care to older adults in their home, call the agency today at 866-559-9492.