Understanding What In-Home Care For Seniors Is

With the rise of home care for seniors, more and more clients opt to age in place. Seniors and their families believe that it's better to stay in the comfort of one's own home as he/she ages than to transfer to an assisted living facility. It's less stressful, and the senior's family members can visit any time they want.

Now, the only way to effectively age in place is to get professional home care services. Hire a caregiver trained and experienced to provide various senior care services. They should assist with everything from essential bathing and grooming needs to medical emergency and accident response. If possible, look for caregivers on par with assisted living facility personnel.

Are you having trouble sourcing the correct home health care provider for your senior loved ones? Don't worry; we're here to guide you. There are lots of agencies that give caregiving opportunities to those highly-experienced ones. Keep reading below to learn more about professional home care, how to choose one that suits your loved one's needs, and assess if hiring caregivers is the best option for your family.

What is Home Care for Elderly Individuals?

Home care for elderly individuals and seniors is described as general assistance with routine chores and activities. The type of home care services you get depends on who you hire. Different caregivers provide different levels of services. For example, there are:

Non-Medical Caregivers

As the name suggests, these are home care specialists that cater to clients with general, non-medical needs. This includes bathing, showering, grooming, and meal preparation, among others. Yes, they can assist with medical emergencies. However, their knowledge is minimal, so they might not be able to help save your senior loved one if urgent, professional care is needed.

Long-Term Nurse

For senior patients with chronic diseases and a specialized maintenance routine, they'll need a long-term nurse. Make sure to hire a licensed professional experienced with the patient's condition.

Similar to regular caregivers, they also provide assistance with daily routine tasks. The only difference is that a licensed nurse has specialized training in handling specific medical emergencies and accidents.

Short-Term Nurse

A short-term nurse is ideal for injured seniors who need specialized short-term treatment. Rather than getting locked up in a nursing home that provides respite treatment, many patients would instead hire a home care nurse and recover in the comfort of their own home.

The Benefits of Home Care for Elderly Loved Ones

Opting for home care services offers an array of benefits for both seniors and their families. These include:


Perhaps the number one reason why clients opt for home care is they want freedom. The freedom of not being cooped up and stuck inside a nursing home for days on end is definitely something many patients yearn for. After all, everyone wants to make the most out of their lives, even during their final days.

Apart from being able to freely go wherever and do whatever you want, not being stuck in a nursing home gives you the liberty of entertaining whoever you want to meet. There are no rules or restrictions.


It's not uncommon for seniors to feel uncomfortable in a nursing home. The idea of having care providers, patients, and all kinds of strangers surrounding you is not something everyone can be at ease with. Luckily, one doesn't have to force themselves.

With a professional home care plan, you get to stay in the comfort of your own home, surrounded by people you trust. Yes, you'll be assigned caregivers. However, you and your family members will be the ones to choose who your home care specialist will be. If they don't sit well with you, you are free to choose a different nurse or social worker anytime you want.

Personal Modifications

Another helpful perk of opting for a home care program is that you have the liberty of modifying everything in your living space to suit your needs. One can change the furniture, fixtures, and appliances to whatever is suitable. No one will stop you from doing anything because it's your house, and you have full authority over it.

This is especially important for patients undergoing treatment and respite care. Have a specialist do a quick remodel of your home to make it more senior-friendly. Use fewer stairs, adjust the height of various fixtures, renovate the lighting system, and strive to place everything you need within reach. Traveling even from one room to another can be a challenge for those with limited mobility.


What was once a simple task—like driving a car—may now be a difficult challenge for our senior loved ones. Fortunately, there are home care specialists that do transportation services as well. It'll cost extra, but having a caregiver/driver is very convenient, especially for those who regularly need to go around town for meetings and activities.

If your senior family member can't drive, considering leasing or buying a car for them. Look for a practical, fuel-efficient option that is well within your budget plan.

Regular House Maintenance

Maintaining a clean, orderly household is plenty of work. Between regularly dusting various surfaces to making sure things are always placed where they should be, routine home maintenance is enough to tire out even younger adults. Imagine what would happen if a senior tried to clean a large home by themselves. Scary, right?

Luckily, with home care services, you can leave the daily cleaning and maintenance to your caregiver. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy yourself. You won't have to worry about returning your plates to the sink, washing dirty laundry, or even getting a glass of water for yourself anymore.

Delicious Home-Cooked Meals

Considering the body's weakening state as it ages, the overall decline in appetite, and lack of energy, it's understandable why many seniors have trouble preparing meals for themselves. This lack of personal care is what causes malnutrition among older adults.

Fortunately, however, you can hire a professional home health care specialist to cook daily meals for yourself or your elderly loved one. There are plenty of caregivers capable of producing three healthy meals every day.

For best results, we strongly encourage going with caregivers experienced and trained in meal prepping. Seniors have specific dietary needs. Failing to meet them may lead to nutrient deficiency and compromise overall body strength and fortitude.

Personal Care Assistance

As you grow older, personal care tasks such as bathing, showering, grooming, or even going to the toilet become challenging. This especially applies to injured seniors with limited mobility. In cases like these, it's essential to hire a skilled home care professional who can assist with daily personal care tasks.

We advise going with professional, personable caregivers who aren't easily grossed out. There are too many caregivers who compromise their work quality simply because they don't want to touch their client's bodies. This is very wrong and unprofessional.

Around-the-Clock Emergency Care and Assistance

A medical emergency or accident can happen at any time, and those who live alone at home are the ones who are most at risk. What seniors may need is a trained home health care expert who can provide around-the-clock assistance during these situations.

Make sure to brief them on the senior client's medical history, medication routine, and emergency drug shots in case of an attack—stroke, heart attack, etc.

If your senior family member is quite sickly, we advise hiring caregivers who are licensed nurses. Yes, their home care services are quite expensive, but it's worth it knowing your loved one is in safe hands no matter what happens.

Planned Exercise Programs

If your senior loved has trouble moving around but wants to try exercising, look for home care providers specializing in physical therapy and mobility exercises. Have them come up with various activities the joints and muscles need to become stronger.

Of course, safety should always be prioritized. Seniors don't need to push through with any exercise they are not comfortable performing. Instead, talk to the home care therapist about it. They should be able to modify the program.

Types of Home Care for the Elderly

There are generally three types of home care services for clients to choose from:

Personal Care and Companionship

Personal home care services are generally defined as daily assistance with routine tasks and chores to improve senior quality of life. The assistance provided by personal caregivers is often non-medical. However, you can still rely on them for various emergencies and accidents. Your personal home care assistant must provide:

  • Personal care aid with tasks such as grooming, showering, going to the bathroom, and eating, among others
  • Overall supervision for senior patients suffering from memory loss issues and disabilities
  • Personal companionship with various games, sports, and activities
  • Emergency services and be on standby in case anything happens
  • A full-scale meal plan customized to suit the senior's specific dietary and nutrition needs
  • General assistance for disabled seniors using crutches and wheelchairs

Who Is It For?

Ideally, personal care is for seniors who just need essential assistance. Personal care is perhaps one of the cheapest types of home care services, as your caregivers won't necessarily be licensed and registered nurses.

Don't get personal care if the senior involved is injured or chronically sick. Injured seniors might have specific needs and demands that a regular caregiver cannot address.

Private Nursing Care and Duty

Private nursing home care duty involves the long-term care and assistance of disabled or chronically ill patients who need lifetime assistance. The goal here is to help seniors live their lives as naturally as possible. To do so, seniors can count on their private nurse to do everything within their limits to keep them safe, healthy, and safe from all kinds of diseases.

Home care services and assistance provided by a private nurse include:

  • Caring for patients with particular conditions such as spinal cord injury, brain injury, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and multiple sclerosis, among others
  • Routine ventilator care for breathing emergency issues
  • Vital sign monitoring in case of emergency issues
  • Routine catheter care and administration
  • Administering prescription medication

Who Is It For?

Private nursing home care is ideal for seniors with serious injuries or chronic diseases that require long-term maintenance. Same as with personal home care, a licensed nurse will also assist with your daily routine needs. However, with a licensed nurse, you can be at ease knowing you're in good, competent hands no matter how problematic your condition may be.

Home Health Care Assistance

For temporary assistance and personal care, injured seniors would need home health care assistance. This is also administered by a licensed and registered nurse. The only difference between home health care assistance and private nursing care is that the latter is for long-term assistance, while the former is only temporary. Home health care nurses offer:

  • Physical therapy assistance
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech-language pathology treatment
  • Home aide and personal care services

Who Is It For?

Home health care is ideal for injured patients who need temporary assistance. This is often used in place of respite treatment at nursing home institutions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will I know if home care is what my elderly loved one needs?

In many households, the decision to hire a caregiver relies on the breadwinner. That means you need to be sensitive and observant when it comes to the special care needs and requests of any seniors living in your home. Watch out for these warning signs that indicate your loved one might need senior care services:

1. Difficulties With Various Activities of Daily Living

An obvious sign that says you should consider personal care services is if your senior loved one has trouble going through their daily activities and routines. This includes bathing, grooming, and eating, among others. Essentially, if you feel they can no longer move or function on their own, do not hesitate to consider getting home care assistance for them.

2. Recent Accidents

Many seniors refuse to go into respite care at their nearby nursing homes. Even if it is just temporarily, some people can be exceptionally touchy and sensitive when it comes to the topic of assisted living.

A good alternative here would be to hire a caregiver. Look for an expert specializing in providing personal care services to seniors who have just gone through an accident or medical emergency. Don't just go with a random maid with no prior training or experience in senior care. It might be cheaper, but the risk and danger you'll be putting on your loved one are not worth it.

3. Visible Lack of Proper Care

Always check on the seniors in your family that live alone. Keep your eyes peeled for visible signs that indicate they are no longer capable of taking care of themselves. The sign can be anything from an unshaved bear to a trash-filled abode.

4. Inability to Go Outside

Going outside and visiting the park, mall, shopping district, or even the grocery store is a task many seniors can no longer accomplish alone. Taking public transportation is a hassle—especially during rush hour.

To resolve this, look for caregivers who can assist your senior family members through regular transportation services. Purchase an efficient, quality, and practical vehicle, then hire a reliable caregiver/driver so your aged family member won't force themselves to take the bus or subway anymore.

If you can't purchase a separate vehicle, however, that's okay! You can try looking for a reliable home care services assistant who can do all the chores, grunt work, and daily outdoor tasks of your aged loved one every day.

5. Signs of Memory Problems and Dementia

It's normal for people to start becoming more forgetful as they grow older. As with any other part of the body, the brain also has limited capabilities and is prone to weakening as one grows older.

It's essential to look after your loved ones who are showing signs of dementia or memory issues. If you cannot provide senior care yourself, then you should seriously consider hiring home care assistance experts that specialize in these issues right away.

Leaving a senior family member with memory issues alone is very irresponsible. You are putting them in grave danger. Just imagine what would happen if they accidentally wandered out of their house and got lost. They'd have no way of returning home, considering they might not even know their own identities.

6. Improper Nutrition

Cooking is no easy task. Between making the food and washing the dishware, it's understandable why many seniors need assistance with their meal preparation needs. Those who have no way of cooking are left with no choice but to make do with what they have—which usually isn't enough to address their nutritional needs and dietary requirements.

This is the reason why so many seniors have a nutrient deficiency. In fact, 20% to 60% of institutionalized older adults suffer from malnutrition.

The right approach here would be to hire a home health care expert that specializes in nutrition and can do meal preparation every day. Bonus points if they can make healthy, nutrient-dense meals tailored to suit specific needs.

7. Exhibiting Signs of Loneliness

When was the last time you checked up on your senior family members? We may not notice this, but seniors who live alone and in isolation are much more prone to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and loneliness. The pain of losing people you love can be extremely traumatic.

If you cannot accompany or take them into your home, we encourage hiring a reliable, personable home care assistance provider. Besides having their personal care needs taken care of, having comfort keepers to talk to when you're feeling down, anxious, or even just bored can be incredibly uplifting. Sometimes all we need is someone to lend us a listening ear.

Can the elderly choose their caregiver?

Yes! In fact, we encourage clients to seek the advice and input of their senior loved one—or the patient to be taken care of. Remember: Not all seniors are comfortable with home care services. The idea of not being able to go through daily living activities alone is a burdensome and harsh reality that many people will have trouble accepting. Be sensitive.

The right approach here is to make sure your senior loved one is present when interviewing caregiver candidates. Listen to their comments. If they say they aren't comfortable with a specific home care services provider, then at least reconsider your decision. Don't force your aged loved one into doing something they're uncomfortable with just to speed up the hiring process.

Also, be open to complaints. Cases of abuse are not uncommon in the home health care industry. Some nasty caregivers treat their clients harshly, are very temperamental, and sometimes even physically abuse their senior clients.

With that in mind, you must monitor how the caregiver treats your aged loved one as well—and not just on the first days! Watch out for impatient caregivers with anger management issues. If possible, set up a few cameras and radios around the home so you can monitor them wherever you are, 24/7.

How quickly can caregiving services move in?

In most cases, clients choose to hire caregivers capable of moving in with their patients. That way, they'll be able to provide 24-hour home care assistance and guide their patient through the various activities of daily living—except on specific holidays, of course.

Now, their actual move-in date depends on a case-by-case basis. If you are 100% confident in your choice of home care assistance experts and the senior to be taken care of is comfortable with the assigned caregiver, they can start whenever you want!

To make the transition as easy as possible for all parties involved, we advise clients to communicate appropriately with their chosen caregivers. Share with them any information on home health care, medication management/reminders, regular bathing/grooming routines, and other specific needs of the senior.

Note: Make sure you have a backup caregiver to provide respite care if your senior loved one is in need and their regular home care services provider is not available.

What happens in an emergency with a caregiver around?

Generally, a caregiver that provides home care services should be trained to handle all kinds of emergencies calmly, accurately, and efficiently. Also, make sure you go with a 24-hour caregiver. There's no saying when or where an emergency will happen, so it's best to be prepared.

Now, no matter how trained or experienced your care advisor or caregiver is, there's never a surefire way to guarantee the survival of a senior client during an emergency. There are many factors to consider. However, home care providers may increase success rates if they had an efficient, personalized care procedure to follow in case of medical and non-medical emergencies.

First, family caregivers must assess the situation. A quick visual inspection will help them determine what the best emergency care plan is to ensure the survival of home care clients. You can assist by providing medication reminders and notes that might help give your caregiver a better, clearer overview of the situation.

Next, your home care provider will provide the necessary first-aid assistance. This step varies depending on what the emergency is. For example, choking seniors will need Heimlich maneuver, patients having a heart attack may need to chew on aspirin, and unconscious older adults may need CPR.

Do not attempt to perform first-aid procedures on seniors if one has no experience or training in handling medical and non-medical emergencies. Making the wrong calls could do more harm than good.

Now, if the situation hasn't de-escalated yet at this point, it's time to call 911. Follow their instructions step by step. Do not go against their advice and provide emergency services you feel or think might help. This applies to both home care providers serving senior clients and family members looking after their loved ones.

Keep in mind that emergencies vary on a case-by-case basis, so your home care assistance provider should be able to adjust accordingly depending on what their client needs at the moment. Overall, the goal should be to steer the situation toward a favorable, positive direction.

Additional Resources

Assisted living versus home care assistance

One of the biggest decisions children make for their aging parent, grandparent, or close loved one is choosing between home care services and an assisted-living facility. While most assisted-living centers provide excellent senior care services, studies reveal that most older adults would rather stay in the comfort of their own home and receive home care assistance from a professional caregiver.

Home care services guidelines and protocols 

The Institute of Medicine (US) Council on Health Care Technology published an in-depth study comparing senior care needs and home care services for seniors. The goal was to assess whether home care provider policies, guidelines, and care plans in the United States actually benefit and help older adults.

What is a geriatric client care manager?

A geriatric client care manager is a professional—often either a social worker or licensed nurse—specializing in providing senior services and eldercare. Adults struggling to create a comprehensive, efficient care plan for their older family members and loved ones can seek help from these licensed and trained professionals.

Common medical emergencies among seniors

Both home care providers and family members looking after an aging loved one should familiarize themselves with what the most common medical emergencies among seniors are. One should be prepared for all kinds of medical emergencies and accidents.

Signs that indicate the need for home care services

We should be aware of warning signs that indicate if our older family members may need home care assistance.

Emergency preparedness guide for seniors

Surviving emergency situations, even when you're young and healthy, is a difficult challenge. Imagine how much harder it is for older adults? The only way for seniors to have a shot of survival in case a crisis, disaster, or emergency ensues is preparation. Make sure you have everything you need, from food and water to shelter and clothing.

Want to know more about what to consider when choosing a home care service provider for your aging loved one? Read more on Senior Strong today!