The National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC) reports that more than 90% of older adults prefer to Age In Place rather than relocate to housing designed for senior living. Once the challenge of remodeling your existing home for accessibility is complete, additional support services are often necessary for a variety of issues from healthcare to companionship. In your local area there are usually a handful of local agencies and/or private companies that may be able to help, but the trend is moving towards online on-demand services. This blog will cover three in particular that are growing in popularity: Visiting Angels, Hometeam, and Right At Home.
Visiting Angels are franchised local providers of various in-home senior services. They offer assistance with 'round the clock convenience'. They do not provide nursing and medical support care, only lifestyle services available by the hour, scheduled shift or even dedicated live-in care for 24-hour service needs.
Angels provide assistance through services like:
- Meal preparation
- Bathing and dressing
- Light housekeeping and shopping
- Transportation to medical appointments
- Specialization of some Angels for Alzheimer's care and other specific health issues
Franchisees are licensed according to state requirements where they are located. Bonded and fully insured, their elder care specialists have been screened with thorough criminal background checks. Care services are offered "a la carte", so to speak, with applicable hourly charges according to the skill level of the Angel. Hourly rates generally range between $10-$15. This makes Visiting Angels an affordable option for families seeking relief for a loved one who is a primary caregiver or for a senior who has a minimal support need, such as transportation to a medical appointment or meal preparation. Long-term health insurance providers are accepted to offset care costs. However, Medicare is not accepted. It is important to determine what individual responsibility will be with regard to expense.
As a franchise system, there may be slight management differences between each location. Overall, however, Visiting Angels is considered one of the best Aging In Place support service providers available. They made Entrepreneur's top 500 Franchise list. Those interested in using the services of Visiting Angels should look for endorsements and examine reviews of the local franchise in their area.
In 2015 Forbes magazine predicted that this startup would be a game-changer for those opting to Age In Place. Hometeam's mission is greater independence, lifestyle vibrancy and peace of mind for loved ones. Technology is what sets this service apart from others. Mobile smart devices are used to track activities within the home. Real-time notifications keep everyone in the loop. For Millenials managing the care of aging parents and tech-savvy Baby Boomers, there is great appeal to being monitored by technology rather than a human. It creates a greater sense of privacy with the comfort of enhanced security and oversight.
Offered services are similar to what Visiting Angels provides, with 24/7 service available. Caregivers employed by Hometeam are well-trained and benefit from strong leadership. The company is still in its early stages. However, if reviews are any indication of how the company has met the typical challenges of growth, those interested in Hometeam can expect a pro-active service provider who never loses sight of everyone working as a team. Consistently, clients and employees report a company culture that is down-to-earth, positive and dedicated.
Currently serving the needs of seniors throughout New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey, the company is on the fast track for expansion. Service costs are typically about twice what Visiting Angels charges. With a reputation for transparency, proprietary software that customizes matching caregivers to clients, and backing by investors like IA Ventures and Oak HC/FT, it is easy to see how such innovation, excellence and prestige can demand higher rates. But don't let higher cost cause you to scratch Hometeam off your list. The company does accept Medicaid and insurance where applicable.
Tailored care for every unique situation is Right At Home's claim to fame. Committed to preserving the dignity of clients with thoughtful caregiving, this franchised service provider has been a well-known leader in the industry for more than 20 years. Founded by a hospital administrator, strong professional knowledge of implementing the best healthcare practices went into the design of this elder care model. Offering the same lifestyle support services as Visiting Angels and Hometeam, this service can go where the other two do not tread: skilled nursing and specialized medical care. In addition to dementia and Alzheimer's care are caregivers trained specifically in the practices of Hospice care.
Caregivers are insured and bonded, covered by general liability as well as worker's compensation. Right At Home utilizes their skilled caregivers through a vast national network. Flexibility is part of every care plan. Right At Home understands that needs can quickly change. They offer adaptability on demand and provides service without any long-term contract.
Cost varies according to the number of hours a caregiver works and the rate charged for a caregiver's particular skill level. Hourly charges can range from $10-$20 per hour. Clients receive a 30 day notice if there is any anticipation of a rate increase. Medicare is accepted. Other programs to assist with payment of services, like Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits, are also available. Creating a Custom Care Plan and discovering which of the many participating programs a client might qualify for to offset cost is one key benefit of using Right At Home.
Take Your Time & Ask Lots Of Questions
Selecting a caregiver is one of the most important decisions affecting the quality of life for those who choose to age in place. Performing thorough research and comparing options is the most effective means to make the right choice. In addition to the information available from a service care provider's website and online reviews from those who have experienced their services are the agencies committed to the specific needs of the elderly.
For example, many local lifestyle publications will share content created by individuals who have personal experiences with a service provider. Non-profit health services, such as the National Council on Aging (NCOA), are trusted resources that provide unbiased analysis of service providers. Local municipal, county or private non-profit agencies, like LifePath of Massachusetts, are also great resource centers to assist one make the best decisions about care providers. Even contractors and private businesses who specialize in meeting the needs of seniors at home are great resources for advice and insight. So don't be afraid to ask. An informed decision is the first step to healthier, happier aging and peace of mind.
Whether you're just starting to think about Aging In Place, or have a detailed plan, feel free to check out our Aging In Place Checklist to see if you have everything covered.