Let’s Educate Clients, Families About What it Means to Age in Place

Posted February 15, 2023

By: Wayne Mitchell

McKnights Home Care

As our population continues to age, our clients and their families often have a set of questions that need to be addressed in order to provide them with direction and comfort in the difficult time they are facing.

The book I had the pleasure to co-author, Aging in Place Conversations: What Industry Experts Have to Say, does some of the homework for us. I’m proud to share the answers to questions I had when I first started my home care journey so that others can learn from my experiences and those of my co-authors.

These are important conversations we should be having with our clients and their families. Whether they need assistance immediately or are making long-term plans, it’s important that we help them understand that aging in place, whether that is in their home, independent living or assisted living communities, has challenges and benefits.

If they are at a hospital or rehabilitation center, that stay can take a physical and mental toll, so when it’s time to be discharged to go home, decisions can be easily made.

First, it is important the older adult and their family fully understand the difference between home healthcare and home care. Both of these services may seem alike; however, they are vastly different and many times are important to be able to go home and thrive.

As defined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, home healthcare includes skilled nursing care, as well as other skilled care services, like physical and occupational therapy, speech-language therapy and medical social services. These services are given by a variety of skilled health care professionals at home. The home health staff provides and helps coordinate the care and/or therapy your doctor orders. On average, these services spend a few hours per week in the home assisting the older adult.

Home care services are non-medical and usually provided by a trained caregiver who provides assistance to people with everyday tasks so that they can be as independent as possible to age in place, wherever it may be. Typical tasks include bathing, dressing; assisting a patient with using a bedpan, urinal, commode or toilet; and medication reminders. They may also be involved in preparing food and assisting a patient with eating during meals. Other tasks can include light housekeeping duties — like vacuuming, laundry and washing dishes — that maintain the home of the client.

The benefit of home care is that the caregivers provide personalized, one-on-one care with the older adult for longer hours and multiple days per week. The main goal of in-home care is to help age comfortably, safely and happy with the peace of mind knowing that someone is there in the event the older adult needs some unexpected assistance.

Although home healthcare and home care are major components of creating an aging-in-place plan, there is so much to consider.

“Wisdom in aging resides in the professionals who work in the field every day — the authors gathered to create this unprecedented book,” National Aging in Place Council Chair Scott Fulton said. “These are the people who navigate families through a vast array of situations you and I could never predict. This is their world, and this is your window to learn from the wisdom they’ve acquired from the thousands of older adults they’ve been privileged to serve.”

Whether you are an agency owner, director, community liaison, educator, caregiver, senior, an adult child of a senior or a seasoned lifelong learner, our book will speak to you on both practical and emotional levels. As you read the answers to many top questions, remember that successful aging in place relies on strong interdependence. The independence we all aspire to achieve will rely on a strong foundation of meaningful physical and emotional relationships, more than at any time in our lives.

About Corridor

For over 30 years, Corridor has partnered with home health and hospice providers, delivering powerful solutions to support the unique challenges of caring for patients in the home. Our team of operations executives, clinicians, and nationally renowned industry experts have run provider organizations and resolved the same challenges you face.

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