Does My Loved One Need 24-Hour Care?

Roughly 70% of people will need some form of long-term care in their lifetime, according to Genworth Financial's Cost of Care survey. Much of this care comes from unpaid, or informal, caregivers, who are typically spouses, friends, or family members. While informal caregiving can be rewarding and makes sense for many families, it isn't the solution for all families, especially when the person needing care requires help around the clock. In these cases, paid, or formal, in-home care services or residential senior care options may be better solutions.

Does your loved one need 24-hour care? If you're unsure, keep reading to learn more about different types of formal caregiving services, so that your family can make an educated decision based on your aging loved one's unique personal care needs.

What Does It Mean When Someone Needs 24-Hour Care?

Many older adults start out only needing help occasionally, but gradually need a higher level of care as time goes on. These gradual changes in care needs means that it can be hard to tell just when someone needs 24-hour care.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question “When does my loved one need 24-hour care?” However, if the following points are true, it is likely time to seek out professional senior care services for your loved one:

  • Your loved one needs significant help with activities of daily living, or ADLs. ADLs are physical tasks that need to be completed daily and include getting dressed and brushing teeth. People may need 24-hour care, for example, if they suffer from incontinence and cannot clean up after an accident. People may be just fine without 24-hour care though if all the help they require is some light housekeeping assistance or can clean themselves up after an incontinence-related accident.
  • Your loved one needs significant help with instrumental activities of daily living, or IADLs. IADLs are tasks that include higher cognitive ability than ADLs and include medication management, finance management, and meal preparation. Not everyone who needs some assistance with IADLs requires 24-hour care. People who need to set medication reminders, for example, don't always need constant care if they can mostly look after themselves otherwise. Those who can no longer be trusted to make sound financial decisions due to age-related cognitive decline or dementia, however, may need such services.
  • Your loved one lives with a chronic condition and requires help that untrained caregivers cannot provide. For example, someone living with late-stage Alzheimer's disease will require around-the-clock care that most working families simply cannot provide due to a lack of training and resources.

If the above points sound like your family's situation, then it may be time to seek out professional 24-hour caregiving services. Your three primary options are 24-hour home care, adult day care services, and residential care.

What is 24-Hour Home Care?

24-hour home care services are home care services that people receive in the comfort of their own homes. These services can come from a wide variety of hired professionals, including live-in nurses or visiting nurses who take shifts in the home. Typical in-home care services vary depending on what the individual person requiring care needs. For those who require 24-hour care, services typically include help with cleaning, grooming, cooking, and medication management.

Finances are usually handled by a family member who has power of attorney, or by the care recipients themselves if they do not experience memory loss or another form of cognitive decline. What's most important is that the person handling finances is 100% trusted by both the older adult and the family to avoid potential financial abuse.

Also called:

  • Live-in care
  • Formal in-home care
  • Home health care

Who provides in-home care services?

What services are typically included in 24-hour home care for seniors?

  • Help with activities of daily living (ADLs) like getting dressed and brushing teeth
  • Help with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) like medication reminders and meal preparation
  • Non-medical home care services like light housekeeping
  • Medical home care services like providing insulin shots or checking blood pressure

How Much Does 24-Hour Care at Home Cost?

According to Genworth Financial's Cost of Care survey, the 2023 national monthly median cost for homemaker services was $5,720 and $6,292 for home health aides.

Does Medicaid Pay for 24-Hour Home Care?

Does Medicare Pay for Home Care?

Certain Medicare plans may help cover the costs of care received in the recipient's home, so long as a Medicare-certified home health agency provides the services. St. Andrew's is proudly part of St. Andrew's & Bethesda Home Health, a Medicare-certified home health agency based in the St. Louis area.

Our household-based care services include:

  • Respite care for families who need a break,
  • Help with ADLs and IADLs,
  • Therapy, including speech, occupational, and physical therapy,
  • Assistance with medications,
  • Home safety and household modifications,
  • And much more!

What are Adult Day Care Services?

Many families are willing to care for their aging relatives when they can, but life happens, be it work, school, or something else. In these cases, families need peace of mind that their loved ones will be cared for while they are away for school or work, which is where adult day care services can be useful.

Adult day care centers typically look after older adults during the days or evenings for roughly eight-hour periods and take over caregiving while family members cannot. These services are great compromises for families who want to keep their loved ones at home without spending as much money on 24-hour live-in care services.

Also called:

  • Adult day health care
  • ADHC

Who provides adult day care services?

  • Trained caregivers
  • Certified therapists
  • Nurses

What services are typically included in adult day care services for seniors?

  • Personal care assistance
  • Entertainment
  • Physical therapy
  • Medication management
  • Transportation
  • Medical care

How Much Do Adult Day Care Services Cost?

According to Genworth Financial's Cost of Care survey, the 2023 national monthly median cost for adult day care services was $2,058.

What is 24-Hour Residential Care?

Residential care is care provided in a residential facility like a senior living community. These communities offer peace of mind to families that residents are in a safe environment where trained professionals can offer care 24/7. The primary benefit of residential care is community. In other words, residents reap the benefits of socialization, which can boost mood, mind, and body. Of course, these communities also offer amenities that in-home care options cannot, like on-site salons, fitness classes, worship services, and arts and crafts workshops. In addition to these amenities, residential care is many times more affordable than in-home care.

Who provides 24-hour residential care?

  • Full-time caregivers
  • Chefs
  • Administrative assistants
  • Housekeepers
  • Health care professionals

What services are typically included in 24-hour residential care?

How Much Does Senior Living Cost?

According to Genworth Financial's Cost of Care survey, the 2023 national monthly median cost for an assisted living community was $5,350. We at St. Andrew's are happy to report that the monthly cost for many assisted living communities in our network is less than this amount.

Does Medicaid Pay for 24-Hour Home Care?

In the State of Missouri, Medicaid may help pay for residential care if the people receiving care first meet certain health and financial criteria. Additionally, the person must receive this care in a community that is an approved Medicaid provider.

Besides Medicaid, other popular ways to pay for residential care include long-term care insurance and VA benefits.

24-Hour Senior Care with St. Andrew's

When is 24-hour care the right choice? There is no straightforward answer, but typically older adults need 24/7 care when they can no longer safely complete ADLs and IADLs on their own. In these cases, in-home care services, adult day care services, and senior living communities can help provide the older person with a safe place to live.

St. Andrew's Resources for Seniors System can help if your family is seeking long-term, around-the-clock care for an older person. We offer:

Disclaimers: This article is for informational purposes only. It cannot be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Please direct any and all medical concerns to a licensed health care provider.

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