We’re facing some massive challenges in the healthcare world. Our population is aging, increasing the number of people who need more intensive medical care while simultaneously increasing the number of services they need. We’re suffering from a doctor shortage, limiting our capacity to provide services. And the prices of innumerable healthcare services seem constantly on the rise, making it harder and harder for average people to get the medical attention or healthcare or home care support they need.
One major reason for hope is the increasing presence of home caregiving, which can provide limited healthcare and other forms of support to older adults who might otherwise struggle to get the services and support they need.
But why is this home care so transformative? And how can you tap into its power?
The Modern Approach to Home Caregiving
Home caregiving takes many forms. Depending on your situation, it may make sense to hire a freelance home caregiver, go through an agency or third-party company, or even hire someone you know personally to become your caregiver.
In any case, home caregiving typically includes the following:
- Overall check-ins. For starters, caregivers are responsible for issuing regular check-ins. As an example, a caregiver might stop by four days a week to make sure that everything is okay; if the patient is struggling with a specific medical issue, if the house looks out of order, or if there’s anything else that triggers a red flag, the caregiver can step in and connect the patient to whatever services they need. Loved ones never have to worry about the older adult being left alone without support.
- Occupational support. Caregivers also commonly help patients with everyday tasks around the house. They may help the patient prepare food, clean the house, run errands, or generally take care of themselves. This becomes increasingly important as the patient gradually loses the capacity to do everything on their own.
- Healthcare and treatments. In some contexts, caregivers may be able to provide healthcare, medicines, and treatments. For example, a home caregiver may be able to coach a patient through their physical therapy routine or help them remember to take their most important medications on a daily basis.
- Socialization. There’s also a social component to home caregiving. Living alone can be tough, especially as you get older, and having someone to talk to can be a massive quality of life improvement. Over time, patients and caregivers typically form close bonds and get to know each other quite well.
Depending on the nature of the arrangement, your caregiver may provide even more services.
Why Is Home Caregiving So Impactful?
Why is home caregiving so impactful when compared to other forms of care and support?
Some people prioritize home caregiving because it’s usually less expensive than alternatives like semi-permanent assisted living facilities. Caregivers often charge a flat, reasonable hourly rate, making them perfectly affordable for most people.
Accessibility and flexibility
There are countless types of home caregivers and a diversity of services they can provide. This is a highly accessible form of care and one that’s eminently flexible. Whether you need someone every day of the week or just for periodic check-ins, you can likely find someone who’s a good fit for your situation.
Convenience for patients
Patients love the convenience of receiving home care. They don’t have to leave the house, they don’t have to visit any unfamiliar facilities, they don’t need to arrange for transportation, and yet, they can still get all the support they need.
Prevention and proactive intervention
Regular home caregiving is also an opportunity for prevention and proactive intervention. If a patient is suffering from a health ailment, the caregiver can intervene before it grows any worse.
People who socialize regularly are much less likely to experience the worst symptoms of dementia and cognitive decline. Simple conversations with a caregiver don’t need to be sophisticated to provide this benefit.
Accountability and habit changes
Having a home caregiver also gives a patient accountability, and can motivate them to make positive habit changes. With the support of another person, they may be more likely to eat healthily, drink plenty of water, and do physical exercise when possible.
Comfort, confidence, and independence
Overall, older adults who benefit from home care feel more comfortable, more confident, and more independent. It’s a major quality of life increase that can help them stay healthy and happy for many years.
Home caregiving may not be the right solution for all people in all situations, but it has an impressive number of advantages – and it’s only becoming more accessible. Whether you’re stepping up to become a home caregiver or you’re just looking for a solution for the older adult in your life, keep this option in mind.