Types of Senior Care Services
It’s easy to be overwhelmed and confused when you’re trying to make decisions about senior care for yourself or for a loved one. There are many different types of care and levels of service, so it’s important to know the terminology and understand the differences.
Let’s look at some of the terms you’re likely to see and hear:
Skilled care describes high-level care that must be provided by trained individuals, such as registered nurses and physical, speech, and occupational therapists. Examples of skilled nursing services include wound care, intravenous (IV) therapy, injections, monitoring vital signs and medical equipment, and physical therapy activities.
These services may be needed for a short time for rehabilitation from an illness or injury, or they may be required long-term for patients who need care on a frequent or even around-the-clock basis because of a chronic medical condition.
As more seniors choose to stay at home and age in place, home health agencies have responded by offering skilled care services in clients’ homes.
Supportive care, sometimes called custodial care or non-skilled care, provides assistance with daily living activities. Both skilled and custodial care can be provided in multiple settings. They may be provided at home, in adult day care, or as part of residential care such as a nursing home or assisted living community.
Assisted Living is defined as housing for the elderly or disabled that provides nursing, meals, and housekeeping as needed. An assisted living residence is a long-term senior care option that offers personal care support services.
Assisted living is a great option for people who can get around independently, but need assistance in some aspects of their activities for daily living. Every facility is different. Certain services and levels of assistance may be available, so it’s important to have a good understanding of what’s needed before trying to decide on the most appropriate care for you or your family member.
Memory care residences provide a more specialized type of care. They offer 24-hr personal care assistance as well as meals, social activities and amenities for persons with dementia that may be associated with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease, or some other form of decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.
Typically, the staff-to-resident ratio in a memory care facility is lower than that found in an assisted living facility while security is increased. External access is restricted to prevent wandering. There will also be a difference in the types of recreational activities offered. Memory care is generally more expensive than assisted living.
Home care and home health care are sometimes used interchangeably, but there is a difference.
Home care refers to supportive care, also called personal care, attendant care, or custodial care. It refers to assistance with bathing and dressing, help with laundry, cooking, errands, transportation, or other activities that don’t require a licensed professional.
Home Health Care
Home health care refers to a higher level of skilled care provided by licensed professionals, such as a registered nurse or physical therapist. It may include checking an individual’s vital signs, respiration, or medical equipment, or conducting rehabilitation activities.
Adult Day Care
The term adult day care can refer to adult day social care or adult day medical care. Adult day social care provides supervised care in a structured setting during daytime hours. It’s usually offered on weekdays to allow caregivers to go to work. A variety of activities, meals, and therapies may be offered.
Adult day health care typically provides the same activities that adult day social care does with the addition of medical services similar to those found in a nursing home.
Virtual Companion Care
This is a new service that utilizes technology. Senior citizens living at home can be checked on via computer. Safety and mood are monitored and medication reminders are provided. This daily interaction can reduce loneliness and feelings of isolation even though hands-on care is not provided.
While general medical care strives to cure or treat underlying conditions, palliative care focuses on relieving pain and suffering. Palliative care provides for the preventative measures against these. It improves the quality of life of patients facing life-threatening illness, as well as for their families.
Hospice care provides for care of terminally ill patients in the last weeks or months of their lives. While hospice care often includes palliative care, not all persons who receive palliative care are in hospice.
Aging in Place
Staying in your own home as you get older is called “aging in place.” A common statement senior citizens make is, “I want to stay in my own home.”
More and more people are deciding they would rather remain in their own house because it’s comfortable and familiar to them. The good news is that, with the right help, they may be able to do just that. Homecare in Danville is available whether you need supportive assistance or home health care.
Once you’ve determined the home care services you or your loved one needs, it’s a good idea to interview and evaluate Danville caregivers. You’ll want to know:
- How long have they been providing home care services?
- Are they licensed by the state?
- What services do they provide?
- Can they meet any special needs you may have?
- Do they have written policies?
- Are they properly insured?
- If nurses or therapists are required, will they consult and coordinate with your family’s physicians?
- Do they include the care recipient and his or her family members in developing a plan of care?
- Are supervisors assigned to oversee the quality of care clients receive in the home? If so, how often do they visit?
- Who can the care recipient or his or her family members call with questions or complaints?
- How does the agency follow up on and resolve problems?
- How do they handle emergencies?
- Are caregivers available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
Choosing the right home care in Danville is an important decision. Don’t be afraid to ask for and check references before making a decision.