Staying Home, Staying Well: The Advantages of Home Care for Older Adults

Unfortunately, too many people equate long-term care with a nursing home. While there are people who require more institutional care, most care is delivered at home and assisted living. Those with LTC Insurance have benefits that cover all types of care, including at home

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Staying Home, Staying Well: The Advantages of Home Care for Older Adults
6 Min Read July 3rd, 2024

As the population ages, the demand for long-term care services steadily rises. While assisted living facilities and nursing homes offer important care options, most older adults prefer to receive long-term care services in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes.

Those receiving home care can maintain their independence and quality of life while receiving assistance with daily activities. In-home care usually costs less than facility care. However, some people think of long-term care as being care in a nursing home. Even those who own Long-Term Care Insurance don't believe they can use the benefits for in-home care despite most policies being comprehensive.

Benefits of Home Care

According to a 2023 study by the AARP, a staggering 90% of adults over 65 wish to remain in their homes as they age. Data provided by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance reports that the average formal home care recipient receives 30 hours of care per week over a full year. 

Home care offers several advantages that contribute to this preference:

  • Maintaining Independence and Autonomy: Home care empowers seniors to continue living in their familiar surroundings, surrounded by cherished memories and possessions. This feeling of control over their environment contributes to a greater sense of well-being and dignity.
  • Personalized Care Plans: Unlike some institutional settings, home care allows for individualized care plans geared to each care recipient's specific needs and preferences. This flexibility ensures they receive the right level of assistance while respecting their personal routines and desires.
  • Improved Social Connections: Remaining at home allows seniors to maintain their social connections with friends, family, and neighbors. This social interaction combats feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can be detrimental to mental and physical health.
  • Enhanced Mental Well-Being: The familiar environment and continued sense of independence provided by home care can significantly improve mental well-being for older adults. Studies have shown a reduced risk of depression and anxiety among seniors who receive care at home compared to those in institutional settings.

Challenges and Considerations

While home care offers significant benefits, there are challenges to consider:

  • Caregiver Availability: Meeting the growing demand for qualified caregivers can be challenging in some areas. Ensuring caregivers receive proper training and competitive wages is crucial for maintaining a high standard of care.
  • Caregiver Support: Caregivers play a vital role in the well-being of older adults, but those relying on untrained family members as caregivers their loved ones themselves can face significant emotional and physical stress. Professional caregivers allow loved ones the time to be family instead of caregivers.
  • Cost Considerations: The cost of home care can vary depending on the level and duration of services needed. Those who own Long-Term Care Insurance can use their benefits to pay for their choice of quality care, including care at home.

Cost of Long-Term Care Increasing

The growing demand for long-term care, combined with an aging population and labor shortages, is resulting in high costs of all types of long-term care services, including in-home care.

The LTC NEWS survey of long-term care costs indicates that the average month of in-home care (based on a 44-hour week) is $5,041 - almost $60,000 yearly. In 20 years, the projected cost will be over $102,000 a year.

Health insurance and Medicare only pay for short-term skilled care. Medicaid only pays for long-term care services for those with limited financial resources. LTC Insurance will pay for all types of long-term care services, but a policy must be purchased when someone is healthy, and most people do so before retirement.

Without planning, you will use your own income and assets to pay for long-term care or use untrained and unprepared family caregivers.

Finding Quality Caregivers

Whether you or a loved one is paying for care from your income and assets or through Long-Term Care Insurance, finding quality caregivers that fit your needs can be difficult.

LTC NEWS has made this process much easier with the LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory. The directory is the largest database of caregivers, senior communities, and long-term care facilities in the United States. With a few clicks, you can find and research the type of care your loved one deserves. Plus, the directory is free to use - Find Long-Term Care Services Near You.

Creating a Safe Haven: Making Your Loved One's Home Safe

Keeping an older family member at home with in-home care can be hard because it means more than just finding the right caregiver. Ensuring their safety and well-being within their familiar environment requires some planning. Here are a few ways to make your loved one's home safe and comfortable despite their aging and health disabilities.

Addressing Fall Risks

Falls are a leading cause of injury, hospitalization, and nursing home use among older adults. Here are some strategies to minimize fall risks:

  • Improve Lighting: Install brighter light bulbs throughout the home, especially in hallways, stairways, and bathrooms. Consider nightlights for pathways and areas frequently used at night.
  • Remove Trip Hazards: Clear away clutter, electrical cords, and throw rugs that can cause stumbling. Secure loose carpeting and ensure furniture is stable.
  • Install Grab Bars: Adding grab bars next to the toilet, in the shower/bathtub, and near stairways provides crucial support points for maintaining balance.
  • Non-Slip Surfaces: Replace worn-out rugs with non-slip versions, and consider applying non-slip strips in the bathtub or shower. Ensure footwear has good tread to improve traction.

Assistive Devices

Incorporating assistive devices can significantly enhance your loved one's independence and safety:

  • Raised Toilet Seats: A raised toilet seat can make sitting down and standing up much easier, reducing the risk of falls.
  • Shower Chairs and Grab Bars: Providing a sturdy shower chair with a back and grab bars within the shower/bathtub helps maintain stability during bathing.
  • Handrails: Installing handrails along hallways and on both sides of stairways offers additional support while navigating the home.
  • Reachers and Grabbers: Reachers with long handles can help retrieve objects from high shelves or off the floor, minimizing the need for precarious climbing or bending.

Creating a Communication Network

  • Emergency Alert Systems: Consider installing a medical alert system that allows your loved one to call for help with the push of a button.
  • Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Ensure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are present throughout the home and are in working order. Replace batteries regularly.
  • Emergency Contact Information: Post emergency contact information, including the in-home caregiver's phone number, near the phone and in other easily visible locations. Program these numbers into your loved one's phone for easy access.

If your loved one has dementia, you need to protect them from wandering.

  • Securing Exits: Install locks or alarms on doors and windows, especially those leading outside. Consider childproof locks that are more difficult for someone with dementia to operate.
  • Fenced-in Yards: If your loved one enjoys spending time outdoors, consider creating a secure, fenced-in area to minimize the risk of wandering beyond supervision.
  • GPS Tracking Devices: Explore wearable GPS tracking devices for added peace of mind, allowing you to locate your loved one if they wander off.

By implementing these modifications and maintaining open communication with your loved one's in-home caregiver, you can create a safe and comfortable environment that allows them to age in place with dignity and independence.

Remember, even small changes can significantly reduce fall risks and promote overall safety within the home. Proper planning will also help them improve their quality of life.

If Loved One Has LTC Insurance – Use the Benefits

If your loved one has Long-Term Care Insurance, don't delay in processing a claim to use the benefits. Experts say there is no reason to delay using benefits immediately once they qualify - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim.

Plus, it is not too early for you to acquire your LTC Insurance policy; most people do so in their 40s or 50s. Even if you are older, you can find affordable options in your 60s and beyond, depending on your health.

Home is where most of us want to remain. Don't assume the need for long-term care services changes that.

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About the Author

Linda Kople is a freelance writer with a personal family history in long-term care. She specializes in aging-related topics such as caregiving, health, and retirement planning. Her experiences and interests drive her to explore and write about the various aspects of aging and health issues.

LTC News Contributor Linda Kople

Linda Kople

Contributor since October 31st, 2017

Editor's Note

Long-Term Care Insurance should be a vital part of your retirement plan. It provides a financial safety net to cover long-term care expenses, protecting your income and assets and reducing the burdens otherwise placed on those you love.

Since health insurance, including Medicare, only pays for short-term skilled care, an LTC policy ensures access to quality care without adversely impacting your family and finances.

It's best to acquire LTC insurance in your 40s or 50s. Your good health today allows you to obtain coverage at the lowest cost. For those in their 60s and older, affordable options are still available, depending on health.

Today's Long-Term Care Insurance is easy, affordable, and rate stable. The Society of Actuaries estimates that today's LTC Insurance policies have only a 10% chance of needing a rate increase. Furthermore, if an increase were necessary, the SOA projects it would average only 10%.

There are hybrid policies (life insurance or annuities with a qualified rider for long-term care) that can never have a rate increase.

Find a qualified, independent Long-Term Care Insurance specialist representing the top insurance brands to help you find the most affordable options based on your current age and health.

An LTC specialist will ask you detailed health questions before giving you accurate quotes from all the top-rated insurance companies that offer long-term care solutions. 

Find Quality Caregivers with a Few Clicks

With the LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory, searching for quality caregivers or long-term care facilities for your loved one is now easier than ever. 

The directory has over 80,000 listings nationwide, so you can easily search for caregivers, senior communities, and long-term care facilities near you.

Best of all, it's completely free to utilize!

For care providers, the LTC News Directory Business Portal offers the opportunity to claim a free listing or upgrade for enhanced visibility. 

Get Help Processing an LTC Insurance Claim for a Loved One

LTC NEWS will help you process claims from any Long-Term Care Insurance policy. In partnership with Amada Senior Care, a nationally recognized in-home healthcare agency, we will help make sure your loved ones receive the quality care you deserve by getting the benefits from their LTC policy quickly with the least hassle. 

Even if your loved one does not have a Long-Term Care policy, Amada can provide free case management and develop an appropriate care plan.

This service comes at no cost or obligation - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim.

These four LTC NEWS guides will assist you in trying to find appropriate long-term services for a loved one:

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Explore the possibilities and elevate your business with LTC NEWS today.

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