Caregivers bring help and peace of mind

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Carol Sorgen

Home care aides, such as this one from the company Home Care Assistance, can help people manage their medications, assist them with daily activities such as bathing and dressing, or simply offer companionship so they can continue to live independently in their own homes.
Photo courtesy of Home Care Assistance

Bruce Goodman is the business development manager of Genesis SelectCare, but he recently found himself in the position of needing what SelectCare provides — home care, in his case, for his mother-in-law who was injured when she fell out of bed.

“We’ve had a caregiver eight hours a day, five days a week, and it has been so valuable both for my mother-in-law and for our peace of mind,” said Goodman. “We come home to find my mother-in-law safe, well-fed, clean and comfortable.”

Services from the professional caregivers at SelectCare, a licensed private duty home care agency, are available in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, Howard, Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties and Baltimore City.

Home care services offered by agencies such as SelectCare encompass a wide range of health and social services, delivered at home to recovering, disabled, chronically or terminally ill persons who need medical, nursing, social or therapeutic treatment, and/or assistance with the essential activities of daily living (ADLs).

There are generally understood to be six ADLs, including eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring (from bed to chair, for example), and ambulating (walking). 

Helps to age in place

Generally, home care is appropriate whenever a person prefers to stay at home but needs ongoing care that cannot easily or effectively be provided solely by family and friends.

More and more older people, electing to live independent, non-institutionalized lives, are receiving home care services as their physical capabilities diminish.

Home care services generally are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Depending on the patient’s needs, these services may be provided by an individual or a team of specialists on a part-time, intermittent, hourly or shift basis. The cost of home care can vary. At SelectCare, for example, the average cost for a caregiver is $20 to $25 an hour, with a 20 percent discount for the first week.

Many kinds of services

Absolute Companion Care, another home care agency, is located in northern Baltimore County and serves clients from the northern edges of Baltimore City, all of Baltimore County, and the northern neighboring portions of Harford and Carroll Counties.

According to Managing Director Kathy Rogers, Absolute Companion Care offers three levels of care, from blocks of four hours to 24-hour shifts, from companion services to caring for those who are no longer safe to be alone, to those who need help with all ADLs.

“We work closely with clients or their families to match their needs,” said Roger. “There is no one-price-fits-all.” The minimum price at Absolute Companion Care is $23 an hour.

Parkton resident Deb Watkins has used Absolute Companion Care for her father, first at home and now in assisted living.

“What has always given my father pleasure is being able to get in his car and drive, just to get out,” Watkins said. When it became apparent that her father could no longer drive independently, she contacted Rogers and asked if she could hire someone just to take her father out for a ride.

Now, two gentlemen take turns taking her father out, sometimes just for a ride, sometimes for a milkshake or even a haircut.

“He may not remember that he’s gone, but for that time, he feels normal,” said Watkins. “These gentlemen care about him, and they’re able to give him the one thing he still enjoys.”

As Watkins has found with her father, a significant advantage of home health care is simply peace of mind and dignity for everyone concerned. “We don’t want to feel diminished as we get older,” Kathy Rogers agreed.

Home care is at its most successful when the client and caregiver are well-matched, according to Bruce Goodman. His mother-in-law, for example, who was insistent that she didn’t want or need help, is happy with her caregiver, and they’ve developed a close bond.

“Home care is becoming more relevant,” said Bruce Goodman. “As baby boomers age, we want to age in place.”