home care aide

Notice the Need: Home Care Aides to the Rescue

The population of adults aged 65 and older in the United States is growing at a tremendous rate each year. For example, in 2000 there were 35 million older citizens, but by 2019, that number had grown to 54.1 million (with a projected increase to 80.8 million by 2040). Obviously, many of those older Americans are entirely self-sufficient. Some are still employed (10.6 million of them), some take care of grandchildren (2.7 million), and many still enjoy domestic and international travel. However, there comes a time when seniors begin to slow down and require the assistance of a home care aide. For every spry 96-year-old visiting Victoria Falls or touring Uzbekistan, there’s another senior who is a fall risk at home or who forgets to take much-needed medications. As of 2019, 22.3% of seniors aged 65-74 said that their health was either fair or poor. For those aged 75 and older, the percentage was 29.3%, according to the 2020 Profile of Older Americans from the US Department of Health and Human Services.  

Common health issues for older adults include:

  • Arthritis
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Breathing difficulties (COPD, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis)
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure 
  • Strokes

Difficulties aren’t solely physical. A staggering 40% of seniors over the age of 65 experience “age-associated memory impairment,” according to the National Institutes of Health, and an estimated 11% of over 65-year-old adults have dementia. 

You may be reading this because you have a parent who is experiencing difficulties with the day-to-day demands of living alone, but who is determined to stay in his or her own home. Perhaps you are experiencing the fatigue and stress associated with “caregiver burnout”. It’s time to call in the cavalry. If you are unsure, you can download our free How Do You Know if You Need Help Checklist to help you with this decision.

Home Health or Home Care?

Depending on need, your loved one may be eligible for either home health or home care. Home health care may be covered by Medicare, although certain conditions must be met. Home health care is doctor-prescribed skilled medical care, while home care needs no prescription. Both options are positive steps to take in the process of determining which support your family member needs to continue living in the comfort of home. 

Home health care may be the option for your parent if he or she is:

  • Recovering from surgery, such as hip or knee replacement.
  • In need of physical or speech therapy after being discharged from a hospital or rehab center.
  • Coping with a chronic illness.
  • In need of injections or medications that can’t be self-administered. 

Home health care services may be provided by physical, occupational, or speech therapists, RNs and LPS, or home health aides. 

What Are Home Health Aides?

In Maryland, individuals who provide hands-on care in a Medicare-certified facility or home health agency must have nursing assistant certification (CNA). CNAs work under the supervision of an RN and provide assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming, and incontinence care. 

However, the term “home health aide” can be misleading, because it does not always refer to a specific certification. The Maryland Board of Nursing recognizes CNAs and GNAs (geriatric nursing assistant) but does not recognize certification of home health aides.

Home care aides can provide many of the services offered by home health aides, such as assistance with personal hygiene, but also can cook and serve meals, drive your parent to medical appointments, help with laundry and light housekeeping, and provide compassionate companionship. Both can provide transfer assistance, safety monitoring, and memory care.

Home Care Aides

Home care aides working for an agency must be supervised by an RN and pass a thorough skills evaluation. Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care carefully selects candidates with good professional and personal references who are able to pass criminal background checks, drug tests and driving record checks. Caregivers receive at least 10 hours of preliminary training and orientation. Ongoing training and special certifications in such areas as hospice care, Alzheimer’s Disease, and diabetes are offered through an affiliation with . 

Please phone 301-304-9147or contact us online so that we can answer any questions you have about the level of care required by your loved one. 

We will be happy to conduct an initial needs consultation in your parent’s home to get to know you and your parent and to discuss options. There is no charge for this consultation. Together we can decide what best suits your loved one. 

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