Friday, October 4, 2013

Non-Medical Home Care

Photo by flossyflotsam.
When choosing to be a gerontologist, I imagined helping the Baby Boomers with their own aging process.

Boomers (born between 1964 and 1946) do not perceive themselves as older adults.

Because of the increases in life expectancy in developed countries, Boomers still know a lot of people who are decades older than they are.

Consequently, most Boomers--even the trailblazers who are now 67--see themselves as inhabiting the life stage of "extended midlife."

Many from the Boomer generation aren't ready to claim being older adults because they are still offering support for their own parents.

In 2010, MetLife reports that nearly 10 million people 50 plus care for an aging parent. Furthermore, their study states:

The proportion of adult children providing personal care and/or financial assistance to a parent has more than tripled [between 1995 and 2010]. Currently, a quarter of adult children, mainly Baby Boomers, provide these types of care to a parent. 
5 Generation Photo by Mark Wyatt
Boomer's parents--who are in their 70s, 80s and 90s now--often prefer to stay in their homes for as long as possible.  But aging can create obstacles to shopping, cooking, cleaning, medication management and other basic tasks.

Why don't older adults get help with these daily tasks? Often, it's not cost; it's lack of awareness.

survey of 209 seniors and 600 adult children revealed that many do not know there are other options for senior care in between total independence and moving into a managed care setting:
When asked what choices they believe are available for senior care, 71 percent of adult children could name “off the top of their heads” a maximum of only two of the eight non-family care options (that is, the options available outside the family home and involving services provided by professionals). Sixty-six percent of seniors showed the same lack of knowledge. 
Many older adults extend their years at home by hiring a caregiver who can perform non-medical home care. This differs from medical home care in that it most mirrors the type of help adult children offer their parents
Photo by F. Caboni
Home Instead Senior Care, one of the premier companies that offers non-medical home care, divides their care services into the following categories:
  • Companionship Services
  • Home Helper Services
  • Personal Services
  • Recovery Services
  • Respite Care
Paul and Lori Hogan, the company's founders, started this service in 1994 because of their family's experience caring for Paul's own grandmother.

Home Instead Senior Care has grown to include thousands of employees in 16 countries. The most important employees are the 65,000 caregivers who have been carefully interviewed, screened, trained, and matched with an older adult to provide quality care.

In the past decade, I have heard friends, co-workers and acquaintances tell me about their efforts to assist their own parents or grandparents while holding down a full-time job, while caring for minor children, or while living too far away.

Many have not considered using non-medical home care for the following reasons:

  • Not knowing that non-medical home care exists
  • Overestimate the costs of home care and underestimate the cost of assisted living.
  • Failing to see how the service can improve the quality of life for both the older adult and the family caregiver  
Fortunately, I had the opportunity of talking with Ewelina and Michael Steinberg, franchise owners of Home Instead Senior Care, which serves Wichita, Kansas and all of Sedgwick County. They invited Sherri Denning, their recruitment manager to join us. I am grateful for what I have learned from the three of them about non-medical home care specifically and caregiving in general. 

Photo by
One of the most salient points was the information on the "tipping point" where non-medical home care starts to exceed the cost of moving to an assisted living center.  An older adult can enjoy up to 12 hours a day of customized one-on-one care in his or her home before moving becomes more economical.

So as older adults face increasing needs for companionship, housekeeping, or even personal care, they and their adult children should look closely at the benefits of non-medical home care.


Adding Care to Senior Housing
Activities of Daily Living and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living
What Traits Make a Person an Older Adult?


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  3. Hey I have a quick question about your blog, could you email me when you have a chance? Thanks! -Cam

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  5. Ah, yes. A lack of knowledge dissemination regarding home care is problematic, especially considering all the benefits it offers compared to assisted living. I think what needs to be done first is to formulate a network in which home care information could be shared and is easily accessible. That way, those who are considering such services wouldn't have to look hard to find what they need to know.

    Theodore Wong @

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  7. That is really a great thing but, now a days, there are various types of home care centers who are providing the service of taking care of the elders and I recently, came across a site named as who are providing the service to seniors, those recovering from surgery, new and expectant mothers and others.