Home care is a crucial aspect of the healthcare landscape. Yet, since it hasn’t quite reached the mainstream, many may not know quite what it is, or how profoundly the recipients of home care, and their families, can benefit. To dispel any fears, misinformation, or misguided notions, we thought we ought to clarify some of the myths we’ve seen floating around.
1. Too expensive
There is a belief that home care is prohibitively expensive. In reality, home care is typically a much more affordable option than assisted living or skilled nursing facilities. When seeking to fulfill the goal of keeping a loved one independent and safe in their own home, home care is often the most effective. Assisted living facilities, for example, can be much more of a financial burden and invariably limit the independence of their residents.
2. Only for seniors or the elderly
The primary purpose of home care is to provide help to anyone in need of assistance with the activities of daily living. While this is often attributed to elderly populations, they are by far not the only ones who benefit from home care. Other such individuals may include those with disabilities, people recovering from surgery, injuries or other procedures, and even lonely individuals in need of companionship. These are just a few scenarios and that affect people of all ages. In reality, there are many nuances in the home care realm, and an innumerable amount of additional reasons people of any age may need home care services.
3. Caregivers are chosen at random
Caregivers are not flippantly plucked off the street. There is a strict set of guidelines one must follow to become a caregiver. While legal guidelines vary by state, most states require caregivers to be licensed, and all require training. They must also receive a certain amount of continued education per year.
When seeking employment at an agency, caregivers are carefully vetted, given federal background checks, fingerprinted, often asked to provide driving records, and thoroughly interviewed. When being matched with a client, caregivers are selected to best match the client they are serving, based on their personality, experience, and expertise. This intensive process gives very little leeway to randomness.
4. Caregivers are untrustworthy or just don’t care
Similar to the previous myth, some might think that caregivers are uncaring or untrustworthy based on anecdotes or hearsay. While some people may have had issues in the past, those who have chosen the path to become caregivers tend to naturally be very compassionate people. It takes a big heart and a lot of dedication to do what they do. Moreover, many of them get into caregiving by having cared for a loved one at some point in time, which makes the job quite personal and one they take seriously.
Like in any relationship, trust takes time to build. By virtue of caregivers spending so much time in a client’s home, the bond between client and caregiver naturally strengthens over time. It’s not uncommon for a client to regard their caregiver as part of their family.
5. Home care can be just as easily carried out by family
Some individuals who need daily help are fortunate enough to have family members to assist them. They may even be so lucky as to have family members who are not employed or have other responsibilities or obligations which might detract from the quality of care. Some, however, are not so fortunate. There are many individuals who either have no close relatives, or they live too far away to depend on family for consistent, comprehensive assistance.
Quite commonly, family members caring for a loved one may become stressed, overwhelmed, or find that the necessary care is outside their realm of expertise. This is when respite care can profoundly benefit both the person needing care, as well as the family caregivers, by allowing family members to attend to personal business or simply take a much-needed break. This can be beneficial to all parties since family caregivers are of little help when they are overburdened and cannot provide the necessary care to keep their loved one healthy and safe. What’s more, caregivers receive training that can inform many different types of situations, which family caregivers may not have, for instance, in times of emergency.
6. Only for short-term, or can’t support clients with 24/7 needs
This is diametrically false. In-home care is extremely flexible, and scheduling can take place anywhere from 2 hours to 24-hour around-the-clock care. Most agencies require a 2 or 3-hour minimum for scheduling care, so it may be difficult to book any time less than this. Besides this minimum, however, the sky’s the limit with how care can be scheduled. If longer-term care is needed, there are always live-in or 24-hour care options.
Live-in care is a service that involves a caregiver remaining in the home for consecutive days in a row. It is generally best for clients with a predictable sleep schedule, since caregivers are required to get five consecutive hours of downtime to sleep. They are also permitted three cumulative hours for breaks in a 24-hour period. Live-in care has numerous benefits, including ease of scheduling and reducing the number of different caregivers in a client’s home.
24-hour care is a bit different. This involves having two or more caregivers alternate so that there is a caregiver supervising or providing care at all times. If the client has interrupted sleep patterns or needs care in the middle of the night, this kind of care is great since there is always a caregiver standing by to help.
Home care agencies are acutely aware of the sensitive nature of inviting someone into your home to care for your loved one. Especially when that loved one is vulnerable or in compromised health. As such, in-home care is taken very seriously, and every decision is handled with great care.
With that said, it’s important to remember that not all home care agencies are equal. Of course, you should do your research to find the best, most credible agencies. They exist and are not hard to find. If any of these myths has prevented you from seeking the in-home care that you need, instead consider the benefits. Home care just may be the solution you’re looking for.