9 Persistent Myths About In-Home Care for Seniors

Caring for senior parents can be challenging for their adult children. Often, these adult children find themselves sandwiched between caring for their children and assisting their senior parents. (Hence, the term “sandwich generation.) You may find yourself in this position and wonder whether or not you should engage an in-home care aide for your senior mother or father.

If you are like many people, you may have some misconceptions about in-home care for seniors. Indeed, you, like others, may harbor plenty of potential misconceptions. In this article, we take on nine persistent myths associated with in-home care for seniors:

  • Professional caregivers don’t actually care about their clients
  • Professional caregivers abuse and steal from seniors
  • Professional in-home care is only for very ill seniors
  • Lack of control over who comes into the senior’s home
  • In-home care is inferior to assisted living
  • Seniors that only need personal care do not qualify for in-home assistance
  • Around-the-clock care is not available
  • Professional in-home care is not affordable
  • A family caregiver doesn’t need additional assistance

Professional Caregivers Don’t Actually Care About Their Clients

Family members considering an in-home care aide are often concerned that professional caregivers are not appropriately invested in caring for their loved ones because they are strangers. Ultimately, many families find that genuinely caring relationship blossoms over time between caregiver and client. The best way to ensure a strong bond between care providers and care recipients is to take an active role in hiring an in-home care professional, including interviewing individual caregivers.

A quality company will match a senior’s clinical needs together with their personality and experience. When interviewing an in-home care aide, look for caregivers who are not only knowledgeable but also transparently demonstrate compassion and warmth.

Professional Caregivers Abuse and Steal from Seniors

You undoubtedly have heard stories of seniors being victimized in several ways. These stories include recounting of seniors who were the victims of abuse or theft by caregivers. The threat of elder abuse needs to be a concern of any family member of a senior who will be receiving assistance from a third party, including an in-home care aide.

The reality is that while there are predators in the world who take advantage of vulnerable seniors, they are the exception and not the rule. Specific strategies can be employed to significantly lower the risk that your parent will become the victim of an unscrupulous caregiver.

When considering retaining the services of an in-home care aide, due diligence is fundamental. This includes hiring only a caregiver from a professional company with an established reputation. You need to find out how an in-home care company screens caregivers. You will also want to ensure that caregivers are appropriately licensed, bonded, and insured.

In addition, the risk of a senior being victimized by someone else, including a hired caregiver, is reduced significantly when family members maintain close contact with that older individual. Open lines of communication are crucial in detecting that something may be wrong in the life of a senior.

Professional In-home Care Is Only for Very Ill Seniors

Yet another prevalent myth about in-home care is that this service is only for older women and men who are very ill. There are care services available for older people in need of medical assistance. These are in-home health care aides. In-home care aides do not assist with medical issues, and they are available to assist older people who are not laboring under a significant medical condition.

In-home care aides are available to assist an older individual at their residence as needed and with activities of daily living that include such tasks as:

  • Housekeeping
  • Cooking
  • Laundry
  • Dressing and grooming

Lack of Control Over Who Comes Into Senior’s Home

Many adult children of senior parents considering professional caregiver assistance believe they have no control over who comes into their parent’s home. They believe that they are completely at the will of in-home care providers as to who will come to a senior’s home to provide services.

In fact, when a reputable company is engaged, a senior and his or her family have control over who is selected to provide assistance and who will be coming into that senior’s residence. In fact, if a particular caregiver does not seem like a good fit, a reputable in-home care company will work with a senior and his or her family to find a different caregiver.

In-Home Care Is Inferior to Assisted Living

There are wonderful assisted living options available to seniors in California and across the United States. There are also excellent in-home care services as well. In reality, a reputable in-home care company is not inferior to assisted living regarding the quality of services. Each of these types of companies provide quality services to seniors but in different ways (based on the different needs of individual seniors).

In-home care is something of an intermediate step between completely independent living and assisted living. The specific needs of a senior govern which type of supportive assistance makes the most sense at this time.

Seniors That Only Need Help With Personal Care Do Not Qualify for In-Home Assistance

Another common myth is that a senior who only needs assistance with personal care does not qualify for in-home care. The reality is that professional in-home care is available to assist seniors with specific needs. This type of professional care is tailored to meet the unique needs of a particular senior, including assistance with personal care.

Around-the-Clock Care Is Not Available

In fact, many, if not most in-home care agencies provide around-the-clock care if needed. The agency will create a care team so that a qualified in-home care aide is always at a senior’s residence, no matter the time of day.

Professional In-Home Care Is Not Affordable

In 2020, the median cost of in-home care in the United States was $24 an hour. In addition, financial resources are often available to a senior to assist in paying the costs of in-home care. These include insurance, veterans’ benefits, reverse mortgages, etc.

A Family Caregiver Doesn’t Need Additional Assistance

According to the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide, a family caregiver should neither expect nor try to be on call 24 hours a day. A lack of support like that available from an in-home care agency can result in family caregiver burnout and other negative consequences.

Whether or not in-home care makes sense for you as a senior (or for your parent who is a senior) depends on the specific circumstances at hand. With that said, you need to be armed with accurate information about in-home care services to make an informed decision.