Thursday, December 3, 2015

Seasonal Influenza for the Elderly

Weaker immune defenses put the
elderly at serious risk from the flu virus.

I went to a friend’s home for a visit a few weeks ago and about 3 days later I came down with the flu.  I felt terrible. I woke up with a headache, body aches, coughing with a sore throat.  I was sure I had the flu but wondered where I had got this bug.  After some thought, I remembered my friend was coughing and complaining about a sore throat.  At that time, I didn’t think too much about her symptoms.  Later it dawned on me that we are season and I had not yet gotten the flu shot. I was angry with myself for not taking the necessary precautions in time. 

The flu can appear with no warning. One moment you are feeling well and – bam – the next you are not.  In the United States, fall and winter is the typical time for getting the flu.  The exact timing and duration of the flu seasons varies.  Flu outbreaks often begin in October and can last as late as May, however most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February. 

Unfortunately, those who are 65 years or older are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu compared to younger people.  This is because human immune defenses become weaker with age and makes it harder for the elderly population to fight disease.

What is the flu? 
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses.  The illness affects a person’s nose, throat and lungs.  It can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death.  Some people such as the elderly, younger children and people with certain health conditions are at higher risks for serious complications.  The flu can make existing health conditions worse.  People who suffer from diabetes, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma are more at risk for serious complications and can result in hospitalization and even death.  Some of the complications can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infection, sinuses infection, dehydration and worsening of their chronic medical condition.

How does the flu spread? 
According to the CDC (Center of Disease Control), the flu virus is spread by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or even speak.  These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby.  A person may also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the viruses on it, then touches their own mouth, eyes or their nose.

What is the period of contagiousness? 
The viruses may be passed on to another during several days when the carrier is contagious.  Beginning a day before actual symptoms develop, and running up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.  During that time, the person with the flu can pass it on to others.

What are some of the symptoms of the flu?  
Individuals who have the flu often feel some or all of the following signs and symptoms: fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches,  feeling fatigue, and some people may have vomiting and diarrhea although this symptom is more common in children than adults.  It is important to know that not everyone with the flu will have a fever. 

Protect yourself and others from getting the flu? 
  1. Get vaccinated - The number one thing a person can do to protect themselves and others is to get a yearly flu shot.  A flu vaccine protects against the flu viruses that has been identified by researchers to be the most common during the upcoming flu season.   
  2. Practice good health habits - The second thing to do to protect yourself is to practice standard precautions.  Cover your cough or sneeze with a Kleenex or use the bend of your elbow or upper arm.  Never cough into your hands. Avoid close contact with others-stay at home if you are sick.  Wash your hands with soap and water often. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Clean and disinfect surfaces or objects in your home.  Simple precautions can make a difference when trying to prevent getting sick with the flu.
  3. See your doctor - The third thing you can do to protect yourself is seek medical advice quickly if you develop the flu symptoms.  The professionals can evaluate whether you need treatment and can prevent the symptoms from becoming a serious health threat.

Becoming sick after getting a flu shot
People often ask “Can I get the flu after I get a flu shot”?  The answer is yes - it is possible for people to get the flu even if they received the flu shot for the following reasons: 
  • Prior exposure - You may have been exposed to the flu before getting the shot or during the period it takes the body to getting protection from the flu shot.  It takes about 2 weeks after getting the flu shot for antibodies to develop in the body.
  • Different strain of flu - You may have been exposed to a flu virus that is not included in this season’s flu vaccine.  
  • Diminished immunity - Some older people and individuals who have certain chronic illnesses may develop less immunity after receiving the vaccine.  
The flu vaccine is not a perfect tool but it is the best way to protect against the flu infection.
Vaccinate ever year
It is important to know that the flu vaccine declines over time and that is why people need to get vaccinated every year.  The effectiveness of the vaccine is influenced by the age and the general health of the person who was vaccinated as well as the antigens used in the medicine.  Older people or those who have a weakened immune system may not generate the same amount of antibodies after receiving the vaccine and the antibody levels may drop more quickly compared to young health people.

Is there treatment for the flu? 
The answer is yes-the drugs are called “antiviral” drugs.  These antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster.  These medications can also prevent serious flu-related complications like pneumonia.

During flu season it is best to be proactive and follow the guidelines set by the CDC for the flu.  Always check with your provider to be evaluated for the best treatment and to answers any questions you may have regarding the flu.  

For more information about the flu visit the following websites:, or  

Deb Hintz is Assistant to the Director for HomeAid Health Care. HomeAid provides services for the elderly who wish to remain safe and independent at home.  HomeAid is sister company to Prairie Home Assisted Living which has served the physical, spiritual, mental and health needs of their residents since 1999.  Together the two companies provide comprehensive care for the elderly in the Fox Valley area of Wisconsin.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Hoarding Troubles

What looks like clutter to us, represents
 memories, travels, friends and love to seniors.

Charlie was a young boy during WWII and like many of his peers he remembers how it was to make do.  He tended to keep things just in case he might need them down the road.  Yet a lifetime of storing things became something far more than being frugal when his wife passed away.   After Marge’s  death the stuff accumulating around the house grew into more than just piles of clutter.  There were newspapers, old pill bottles, and empty food containers covering every flat surface, heaps of dirty laundry on the bed and floor and no clear path to move from room to room.  Clutter took over Charlie’s home and started to have a negative effect on many aspects of his life.

The hoarding of objects among the elderly is a serious problem.  Piles of hoarded objects can be a sign of a serious cognitive disorder and present a safety concern which requires immediate intervention.

Hoarding as a disorder
We all keep things.  For some, the item has sentimental value and for others it is about a possible need in the future, but often times the elderly keep things because they suffer from a cognitive disorder.  Diogenes Syndrome is a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder which is prevalent among the elderly.  It often presents itself in those suffering from dementia or frontal lobe impairment.  According to the American Geriatrics Society, Diogenes Syndrome is usually characterized by extreme self-neglect, household squalor, social withdrawal, apathy, compulsive hoarding of rubbish and a lack of shame.  This syndrome is usually found in people who lack social interaction and cognitive stimulation, have suffered a traumatic event or have a genetic predisposition to the condition. The elderly are prime candidates for hoarding prevalent in Diogenes syndrome. 

Those who suffer from elderly hoarding tend to use their possessions as a coping mechanism.  The onset of this condition can be triggered by an emotional trauma, like the death of a spouse.  The elderly person has a hard time dealing with their loss and so fixates on something they can control.  The disorder is also associated with those suffering from fear of loss, anxiety and depression.  In some cases hoarders just don’t know how to get rid of their unwanted possessions.  In other cases the collected items are kept out of sense of loyalty to the past or a compelling need to conserve.  No matter what is the underlying cause of hoarding, the accumulation of things over time combined with the daily bombardment of junk mail, bills, newspapers, dirty dishes and laundry can very easily become too overwhelming for the elderly to deal with. 

Risks of Hoarding
Having clutter around the house is risky for the elderly. Piles of newspaper and old books not only represent a potential fall risk but can add fuel to a fire.  Old clothes lying about on the floor invite damp, mold and mildew into the home.  Dirty dishes and expired food in the cupboard lure mice, rats and insects.  Piles of mail could hide important documents, unpaid bills or checks that need to go to the bank.
Hoarding not only creates anxiety, stress, guilt and embarrassment for the elderly but often destroys relationships with family members.  Adult children have a hard time trying to convince their elderly loved ones to allow them to sort through things and throw the junk away.  Relationships are strained and isolation becomes more of an issue when family stays away due to the unhygienic state of the home. 

What to watch for
Sometimes it is hard to recognize and label the problem as Diogenes syndrome.  Since confronting this issue can be difficult for family members, it is helpful to know what signs indicate a real problem. 
  • Piles of clothes, newspapers, mail and unpaid bills
  • Difficulty navigating safely through the house
  • Frustration with sorting and organizing
  • Difficulty managing activities of daily living
  • Expired food in the refrigerator and cupboards
  • Closets and drawer crammed with things
  • Compulsive shopping
  • Difficulty with discarding items
  • Stroke or signs of dementia
  • Loneliness

Helping an elderly loved one who is struggling with hoarding requires a lot of patience.  Bombarding the home with a ‘get this done today’ attitude or secretly clearing out things behind the hoarder’s back can only aggravate the stress in their lives.  It is important to remember that the house didn’t get this way because of poor housekeeping skills.  A hoarder is suffering from a disorder and needs emotional help before they are ready to toss anything. 

What to do to help
Experts suggest taking on small areas at a time.  Help an elderly loved one clear off a table and then praise the results.  Suggest donating items to a local charity or thrift shop.  Remind that safety in the home is important to being able to remain independent at home.  Work out an agreement of not keeping unused things for more than 6 months.  Clutter is about control and hoarders have a hard time letting things go, but allowing them to decide where things go can be very helpful.  Don’t think that once the house is clean, the problem has gone away.  Hoarders will continue keeping things and the place will slowly fill up again unless the underlying emotional issues are dealt with and there is practical help in keeping the clutter at bay.

Kate McCarthy is Director of Operations for HomeAid Health Care which provides services for the elderly who wish to remain safe and independent at home.  HomeAid is sister company to Prairie Home Assisted Living which has served the physical, spiritual, mental and health needs of their residents since 1999.  Together the two companies provide comprehensive care for the elderly in the Fox Valley area of Wisconsin.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Vulnerable Seniors - Substance abuse among the Elderly

The most common forms of elderly addiction are
alcoholism and painkiller dependency.

It's not something you often hear about, but the elderly of America are increasingly at risk of becoming addicts [1]. Our notion of seniors doesn't tend to fit with our viewpoint of addicts - I'm willing to bet that you raised an eyebrow at the first sentence - but the problem exists nonetheless, and is growing. The most common forms of addiction are alcoholism and painkiller dependency - both of which can be just as devastating for seniors as younger people.  

Stereotypes can be a major obstacle in all areas of drug rehabilitation [2], but it's particularly relevant when it comes to seniors. Typically seniors aren’t what is pictured when we think about addicts. In fact, if asked to describe the stereotypical antithesis of an addict, a nice old lady is probably what you'd come up with. This kind of attitude frequently leads people to miss the warning signs of a growing substance dependency.  It may even lead them to unwittingly encourage substance-abusing behaviors.

"Oh go on, Granny, have another glass of wine!"   Well meaning people often encourage addictive behavior with the belief that they are not likely to be adding to an existing problem or it can’t do their elderly loved one any real harm anyway. There is also a prevailing belief that seniors should be allowed to indulge their taste for alcohol, or pop an extra pain pill if they want to. The general attitude is that the elderly are old enough to have 'earned it’.   There is also the misconception that the elderly are too old for an addiction to really damage to their lives.

For seniors themselves, there is an attitude that they don't have to worry too much about their bodies any longer, so indulging a bit really won’t hurt them.  Relying on a former self-image of living a sober lifestyle may cause some Elderly to miss the signs that an addiction has taken hold.  The belief that they are not the kind of people who abuse substances makes it all the easier to 'let themselves go'[3].  

Loneliness and Boredom
As we age, many of us may find ourselves more isolated than we used to be. Too many seniors find themselves living excruciatingly lonely lives.  Loneliness is incredibly bad for anyone's mental health, but it can be especially damaging to an older person who may need human stimulation to keep their mental faculties active. Coupled with grief, which often affects seniors as they lose friends and loved ones, the recipe for a slide into depression-related addiction is a potent one. Loneliness has been proven to have a strong association with alcoholism in many studies [4] - particularly when, as is often the case with retirees who live alone, it is coupled with an excess of free time and boredom. Grief and depression may also trigger comfort drinking, or encourage a growing reliance upon the emotional numbing effects of opioid painkillers.

Older people are a lot more likely to be on medication than younger people, which unfortunately gives them a lot more opportunity to become addicted to prescription drugs. Prescription drug addiction is an enormous problem within the United States, taking more lives on an annual basis than heroin and cocaine combined. Many of the painkillers prescribed to our seniors are opioids, just like heroin, or benzodiazepines, which affect the central nervous system. They're powerfully addictive, and a vast swathe of our population is currently in the grip of prescription drug dependency, to which many lose their lives [5].

Most addicts stumble accidentally into addiction, assuming that pills given to them by a doctor can't be bad.  The often get hooked by upping their doses by increments in order to help them 'get by' on 'bad days'. In the case of seniors with cognitive impairment, a dependency can be developed by forgetting having taken the medication and accidentally repeating dosages. Alternatively, even non-addictive prescription medication can interact poorly with alcohol, thus contributing to other dependency issues. And the fact that the symptoms of addiction often mimic symptoms which we generally associate with old age [6] and its related illnesses means that often these addictions are not recognized until it is too late.

What Can We Do?
So how can we help our ageing loved ones to steer clear of the addiction trap? If you have concerns about an elderly loved one's inclination towards addictive substances, keeping an eye on worrying behaviors is the best way to confirm any suspicions. One excellent way to help is to remove the burden of loneliness, boredom, and grief by providing emotional support, visiting regularly, and providing them with plenty of human stimulation.  Keeping an eye on drinking habits and any medicines they're taking is also a good idea. Taking an interest in their health and emotional state can work wonders in preventing a problem from developing!

A home health Caregiver can also be an enormous boon in this situation. Not only will a medically trained Caregiver keep track of what your loved one is taking and when, they'll also be on hand to pick up on any worrying symptoms and trends within their lives.

Addictions can ruin a person's golden years - but good health, both physical and mental, will make the elder years a time of joy.

Mel Higham is a writer and editor with a special interest in mental health and wellness.  As a guest writer for HomeAid Health Care’s Elder Topics, Mel brings her expertise to our audience.

HomeAid is sister company to Prairie Home Assisted Living which has served the physical, spiritual, mental and health needs of their residents since 1999. Together the two companies provide comprehensive care for the elderly in the Fox Valley area of Wisconsin

[1] American Osteopathic Association, "Substance Abuse in Senior Citizens - A Serious Problem"
[2] Bruno Gnaneswaran, "Shattering Society's Stereotypes Of Drug Users", Concrete, Jan 2013
[4] Igemar Akerland, Jan Olof Hornquist, "Loneliness and alcohol abuse: A review of evidences of an interplay", Journal of Social Sciences and Medicine, Feb 1992
[5] Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, "Injury Prevention And Control: Prescription Drug Overdose"
[6] Medical News Today, "All About Addiction"

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Superfoods can maximize Senior Health

What you eat can make all the difference with how you age.

Nutrition has always been important, but it’s an especially valuable consideration for aging seniors who can no longer rely on the natural robustness of their body. Here are the top superfoods for seniors and how they can help reduce the problems of aging.

These tiny little spheres have more antioxidants by volume than any other fruit or vegetable - which makes them absolutely phenomenal at helping ward off problems such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. They’re also good for boosting brain power, making it easier to remember the important things in life.

 Contrary to the old song, beans aren’t a fruit - but they are an excellent source of dietary fiber, calcium (for aging bones), vitamins, and protein. Many beans also contain high amounts of antioxidants - red, black, kidney, and pinto beans are especially good sources.
Seniors living near the ocean can look into getting more salmon into their diets. Professionals recommend having at least two servings of salmon a week in order to gain all the benefits, and this wonderful fish has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease… and it’s one of the best ways of getting omega-3 fatty acids.

Steelcut Oats
When most people think of oats, they imagine the rolled kind often used in oatmeal… but the steelcut process works to retain considerably more protein and fiber. The latter is especially valuable for diabetics, since it helps to improve overall blood sugar levels.

Greek Yogurt
Anyone who’s had an upset stomach knows how important it is to keep your digestive system in good condition… and Greek Yogurt is packed with probiotics that do precisely that. Many people enjoy eating it with fruit as a way of creating a healthy afternoon snack, but it’s also good in smoothies if you’d prefer to drink it down instead.

Coconut Oil
This fantastic oil contains healthy fats that help seniors maintain a healthy, balanced weight. While most people don’t suggest consuming it raw, it makes an excellent replacement for butter and can be added to drinks and baked goods.

Oranges are famous for their high amount of Vitamin C, but this leafy green vegetable is packed with even more of it! Kale also has an incredible amount of iron, as well as enough omega-3 fatty acids to compare favorably to fish. Next time you have a salad, look into tossing some kale in!

The plant behind chocolate, cocoa is excellent at lowering blood pressure - and it also releases endorphins that can improve your mood, making it the ideal treat for seniors struggling with depression.

Too much cholesterol is bad, but eggs contain literally everything a baby chicken needs to develop into a hatchling - and they’re especially good for preventing degeneration in the eyes.

Sweet Potato
 In addition to being another great source of fiber and antioxidants, one sweet potato has more than the recommended minimum amount of Vitamin A. There’s no need to worry about overdosing, either - the human body can consume far more than the recommended amounts of most vitamins and suffer no ill effects.

Olive Oil
This popular cooking oil is outstanding at preventing and alleviating the effects of osteoporosis, since it’s able to significantly improve overall bone mineralization. This should be a popular choice in the diets of any seniors worried about weak bones. While most olive oil is only good for a year - it loses its potency after that - seniors can look for shopping discounts to ensure they always have some on the shelf.

Avocados aren’t just another good source of omega-3 fatty acids - they also improve the body’s ability to use and absorb other nutrients, making them ideal for maximizing the results of any nutrition plan.

Eating healthy isn’t just something that doctors recommend - when a good nutrition plan is followed, many of the maladies of age can have their effects reduced or even eliminated outright. Next time you go shopping, look for the items on this list and start integrating them into your diet - the earlier you start, the easier it is to make healthy eating into a healthy habit.

Originally born in Flagstaff, Arizona, Felicity Dryer was raised by her parents (more or less modern-day hippies) to always make her health a top priority. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career as a freelance health writer, and continues to help those seeking encouragement to keep moving forward to achieve their goals.  As a guest writing for HomeAid Health Care’s Elder Topics, Felicity bring her expertise to our audience.

HomeAid is sister company to Prairie Home Assisted Living which has served the physical, spiritual, mental and health needs of their residents since 1999. Together the two companies provide comprehensive care for the elderly in the Fox Valley area of Wisconsin.

“The Super Food Super Guide” by Amy Williams. Retrieved 6/10/15.
“The ABCs of Senior Citizen Discounts” by Amy Williams. Retrieved 6/10/15.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Long Term Planning

Plan for the future and the costs of care.

It can be scary for today’s aging to consider the future.  The cost of care, whether it be bringing in assistance at home, moving into an assisted living facility or the health care costs of a nursing home, is overwhelmingly expensive.  Most everyone understands the need to plan for retirement but few people really understand they need to plan for the cost of long-term care. 

There are many reasons people avoid thinking about needing care in the future.  It is natural for all of us to sidestep dealing with difficult situations, especially when means having to picture ourselves in a position of needing major health care or daily assistance.  Yet the fact is that the majority of aging citizens in the USA today will need long term care during their care years.  Many Boomers are glossing over this fact and not realistically factoring costs as they plan for the future.  Here are some facts about health and long term care costs:

Boomers believe saving $50,000 is enough 
for health care needs during retirement.

Most Boomers believe Medicare will cover all their health care needs.  Medicare does pay for health care. Most dual income couples turning 65 in 2020 can expect about $499,000 in Medicare benefits.  Yet that is not usually enough. The current estimates show that a couple turning 65 today will pay, on average, an additional $220,000 out of pocket medical expenses before they die.  These costs include premiums, co-pays and deductibles for medical care.  In addition to the health care costs, two-thirds of those over 65 will also pay about $50,000 per spouse for long-term care needs, such as nursing home care, assisted living or professional assistance at home. 

Do the math.  Putting aside $50,000 for health care during the care years is just a drop in the bucket compared to what could be needed.  The Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates that a couple who has put aside $165,000 by the age of 65 will have a 50% chance of affording their lifetime medical costs.  Those who put aside $225,000 have a 75% change of being able to cover their medical costs.

Right now the best scenario for Boomers turning 65 is having $300,000 saved per couple to cover health care needs for the future. According to the Census Bureau the median net worth of the average couple at 65 is nowhere near that. 

Boomers believe that Medicare will pay for 
long-term support and services.

Medicare does not cover long-term support and service costs.  So costs for elderly housing, long term nursing care, assisted living, or Caregiver support at home will be out of pocket expenses.

Most Boomers fail to factor in how the costs of long-term support can drain saved wealth.  A long stay in a nursing home, the need to move to an assisted living facility or the long term use of home health aides can diminish savings very quickly.  For instance, the average household wealth of $120,000 can be reduced by half with just a six month stay in a nursing home. 

Most males over 65 will require about 2 years of long-term supports and services and most females require 3 years during their lifetimes, so these long term support and service costs are important to factor into financial planning.

Boomers don’t believe they need 
Long-Term Care Insurance.

Again thinking they can rely on Medicare and their health insurance, most Boomers try to avoid the additional expense of another insurance policy.  What isn’t clearly understood is that Medicare long term benefits often only cover the first 100 days of care, and in most cases the reason for the health care must be serious enough to warrant a 3 day stay in the hospital before Medicare even kicks in.  Health insurance can also be very limited as far as long term coverage.

Another common misconception is that if it all gets too expensive the Boomer can just go on Medicaid.  Medicaid is an entitlement program and is only for people who have very limited assets.  To qualify for Medicaid means spending down all assets to get to poverty level.  Most Boomers don’t realize that owning a house or car will completely disqualify them from this program.

The cost of care for today’s aging can be intimidating and overwhelming.  Careful and creative financial planning can make long term care a bit less scary.  Today’s Boomers need to actively start looking into long term insurance as well as reassess their financial plans for their retirement years.

Kate McCarthy is Director of Operations for HomeAid Health Care which provides services for the elderly who wish to remain safe and independent at home.  HomeAid is sister company to Prairie Home Assisted Living which has served the physical, spiritual, mental and health needs of their residents since 1999.  Together the two companies provide comprehensive care for the elderly in the Fox Valley area of Wisconsin.

Why Baby Boomers Need to Get Real About Health And Long-Term Care Costs in Retirement.  Howard Gleckman. Forbes. 5/22/13.
InShare. Jan Zhdonova. 3/25/14.
photo credit a via a href=httpphotopin.comphotopina a href=httpcreativecommons.orglicensesby2.0cca

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Home Health Care

Most elderly want to stay at home
but are confused about
how Home Health Care can help.

Peter and Mary have lived in their home for over 40 years.  They have loved and cared for the house, the garden and the 4 children they raised there.  Now as they are aging and the children have grown and gone, they find it increasingly difficult to keep up the place.  Basic yard work and housekeeping isn’t being done and daily household chores like cooking and laundry are becoming a bit overwhelming.  Yet despite Peter’s troubles with walking and managing showers and Mary’s failing eyesight, they want to stay at home rather than move into an assisted living facility. They decided to get a Home Health Caregiver who will come and help them out a couple time a week.    

Most elderly and disabled prefer to stay at home and are choosing to use Home Health Care services to make that possible. Home Health Care is a practical and efficient way for individuals with health care or age related issues to get the services they need right in the convenience of their own home. 

There are two types of Home Health Care options, which can be confusing when someone is just starting to look into Home Health as a possible solution to their care needs.

Skilled (Medical) Home Health Care
Skilled or Medical Home Health Care is generally used to help someone get healthy at home. Skilled Home Health is usually recommended after a doctor’s visit or a hospital stay and the care is provided by medical professionals, such as a visiting RN or LPN.  Because the level of care being provided is skilled, the costs can be high.  Skilled Home Health Care is usually limited to just a few hours a week and assists with very specific needs.

With Skilled Home Health Care you can expect:
  •   Skilled nursing
  •  At-home physical therapy
  •  Pain Management
  • Caring for wounds
  • Prescription management

Non-Medical Home Health Care
Non-Medical Home Health Care is about sustaining and maintaining a quality of life at home.  It is about preserving safety and independence at home for someone who might not be able to remain safe and independent on their own.  Many times the Caregivers who provide these services are Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA).  These services are a lot less expensive than the Skilled Home Health and can be used on a wider scale.  Often those who use Skilled Home Health Care will also have Non-Medical Home Health Care come to help with various tasks to keep the home running smoothly.

With Non-Medical Home Health Care you can expect:
  •  Personal grooming services like bathing or assistance getting dressed
  •  Ambulation services like assistance getting in and out of the bed/shower
  • Medication reminders
  • Alzheimer's or Dementia care
  • Errands like grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions or transportation to appointments
  • Housekeeping, laundry and cooking
  • Companionship

Home Health Care Costs
Because both Medical and Non-Medical Home Health can get expensive, people wonder what payment options are available to help with the costs.  The cost of services will vary depending on where you live and the type of services needed.  It is a good idea to shop around and learn what services are provided.  Some Home Health Care agencies have sliding fee scales, and others charge on a per task basis and others provide a Caregiver who can assist with all cares needed at set hourly rate. Non-Medical Home Health Care services are usually paid for privately, but there are also some public and private funding sources.  Funding sources include the following:
  •  Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • The Older Americans Act
  • The Veterans’ Administration
  • Private insurance

Home Health Care (Skilled or Non-Medical) is a great way to get the assistance needed without having to give up the family home and move into a facility.  As more and more people understand the options available with Home Health Care, it is bound to become a favorite option for families everywhere.

Kate McCarthy is Director of Operations for HomeAid Health Care which provides services for the elderly who wish to remain safe and independent at home.  HomeAid is sister company to Prairie Home Assisted Living which has served the physical, spiritual, mental and health needs of their residents since 1999. Together the two companies provide comprehensive care for the elderly in the Fox Valley area of Wisconsin.