What is Home Care?


You’re the family caregiver—the daughter who makes sure dad gets to the doctors, the son who stops by after work to tuck mom safely in at night, or the person responsible for ensuring Aunt Elsie eats nutritious meals. We know you want to provide the best care for your senior loved one and we know that you have a lot of choices. Sometimes, just getting the answers and information you need can be exhausting. So, we wanted to share a little information with you about home care.

The term home care describes two very different types of care:

  • Home health care is provided by licensed medical professionals, for which you need a prescription.
  • Non-medical home care, such as personal care, homemaker or companionship services is provided by professional caregivers.

In broader terms, home care that seniors require often revolves around the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). These are provided under non-medical home care. ADLs are basic activities and functions performed on a daily basis that are usually done without assistance. The six ADLs are:

  • eating
  • dressing
  • bathing
  • toileting
  • transferring
  • continence

IADLs, on the other hand, are those activities instrumental to our daily routines such as:

  • driving
  • preparing meals
  • doing housework
  • shopping
  • managing finances
  • medication management
  • using the telephone

How does non-medical care differ from home health care?

It used to be that a medical crisis could spell the end for seniors living in their own homes. But today, even older adults who suffer from chronic conditions or life debilitating illnesses can still remain at home. Advances in technology and life-saving equipment have kept many seniors at home. Convalescing at home can actually help some seniors not only survive but thrive. For instance, seniors with dementia may be less confused at home where they will more likely know where everything is located.

A home health care agency can provide licensed medical professionals to go to an older adult’s home, offering a wide range of medical and therapeutic services. If your senior loved one needs care that requires a doctor’s prescription, then you should contact a home health agency. Keep in mind, however, that home health aides generally are only authorized to perform the tasks specifically described in the prescription.

If your senior needs assistance getting to and from doctor’s appointments, assistance with bathing or going to the bathroom, or simply having someone to spend time with, you should contact a non-medical home care agency like Second Family Home Care. Many caregivers and older adults find that using a team approach of having both non-medical and home health care services concurrently actually provides the best solution.

Why Home Care?

An overwhelming majority of seniors (86 percent) want to continue living at home for as long as possible. Seniors appear to be willing to seek help so they can stay in their own home. Studies have shown that 54 percent of seniors, who live alone, are four times more likely to use professional home care than those who live with their children. The users of in-home care tend to be older with 42 percent of seniors, over the age of 80, relying on home care professionals.

We all share similar concerns about care for our parents, grandparents and loved ones as they reach retirement age and beyond. Perhaps your mother gets confused and can’t keep her doctor appointments and medications straight. Or your dad seems depressed and doesn’t enjoy gardening anymore. Maybe your grandmother, suffering from Alzheimer’s, needs regular attention while you’re at work. Perhaps is it evident that your loved one needs more care, but you’re just not ready to consider a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Second Family Home Care can help with compassionate, senior home care services delivered right in your loved one’s home. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or long-term care 24 hours a day, our caregivers can assist you. All caregivers are thoroughly screened, matched to your preferences, extensively trained, insured and bonded, professional and reliable.

Non-Medical Home Care Enhances Lives

You know Mom needs a little help around the house, but just because she’s having a few problems doesn’t mean you have to move her somewhere else. Taking advantage of the variety of today’s senior services, especially non-medical home care services, may be all they need to remain in their own, familiar home.

Non-medical home care focuses on helping seniors with the daily activities they need to engage in to remain safe and healthy. Many seniors need help to get their day started with assistance showering, preparing breakfast and medication reminders. Likewise, help before bedtime, or even overnight, can be an important safety net for seniors at home who often are more apprehensive at nighttime. However, one of the most important needs of a senior who lives alone is often simple companionship. The companionship component of a professional caregiver’s job can be just as vital as the physical assistance a professional will provide. Seniors need conversation and one-on-one contact to keep their minds alert. They can thrive with someone to participate in their favorite activities such as gardening, baking or woodworking, or someone to go to the grocery store or attend a concert. Second Family Home Care will provide caregivers who can meet all of those needs. But keep in mind, home is wherever a senior calls home, therefore, we are often called upon to provide assistance to seniors who reside in an Independent Living Home, Assisted Living Home, or Skilled Nursing Home. Wherever care is needed, we would be proud to be your second family.