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A Little Help When You Need It

By Mary Holmes

Whether a senior decides to stay in their home as long as possible (age in place) or move to a smaller home or retirement community (downsize), there may come a time when they need some help with activities that have become more difficult for them. The senior may realize themselves that they need some assistance or a family member may make that assessment. The deficiency may be a physical issue or a cognitive impairment. Fortunately, there are many companies that can provide the necessary help while the senior stays in their current living environment – referred to as non-medical home care providers.

Non-medical home care companies offer a wide range of services and are typically available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Caregivers that provide the necessary help come from a variety of backgrounds, including some that have the Personal Support Specialist (PSS), Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), or Registered Nurse (RN) designations. They are genuinely interested in helping seniors and find great joy from their work. An initial assessment of what services are needed will be done and the appropriate caregiver will be matched to the seniors' needs.

While these companies cannot provide medical services, there are many services they can provide to keep a senior independent as long as possible. A partial list of services offered by non-medical home care companies include:

*Light Housekeeping and Laundry

*Grocery Shopping and Meal Preparation

*Errands and Transportation


*Bathing, Dressing and Toileting Assistance

*Dementia Care

*Medication Reminders

A few other considerations:

What if the senior is reluctant to hire a caregiver? It is not uncommon for a senior to feel they are losing independents when they think about hiring a caregiver. In reality, by accepting help in the areas that are most difficult for them, they may stay independent longer. For example, if a senior is unable to maintain the cleanliness of their home and keep clutter down, they may end up having a fall - which may dictate what happens next.

Can an individual be hired versus a larger company? There are certainly individuals that work as caregivers, in addition to locally-owned and franchise companies. If the senior connects with the caregiver, any of these scenarios can be appropriate. A couple of benefits of using a company versus an individual is that a company will be more likely to have the appropriate insurance coverages and if a senior is using an individual caregiver and they become ill, a company will have another employee to step in that day.

Will the senior have any contractual obligation with a non-medical home care company? Although some companies may have a minimum hour requirement each week per client, typically the senior will not have to sign a contract.

What are some local Maine companies that provide these services? Advantage Home Care in Portland, Maine is locally owned by Rich Blumenthal; Home Care Assistance is located in Falmouth, Maine. It is a franchise and is owned and operated by Sue Arsenault; and Home Instead is also a franchise and located in Gorham, Maine.

In summary, by using a non-medical home care company, a senior may be able to stay independent longer and have more options about their living situation. Kathy Damon, Home Care Consultant at Home Instead says “The biggest benefit to seniors – whether they are living at home, in assisted living, or memory care – is that we expand their world or keep it open by providing companionship and support with daily activities, personal care, and chores. There’s nothing like having a dedicated caregiver focused solely on your well-being and making it possible to do what you want to do when you want to do it.”

As always, please Contact Us if you have questions.

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