As the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates concerns in long-term health facilities, home wellness services are more appealing than ever as families look for assistance programs that will allow older adults to maintain their independence as they age. The difficulty is figuring out when home health care is needed.

According to Kari White, a nurse at Menorah Park in Beachwood, and Lori Wengerd, owner and president of Home Care Assistance Central Ohio in Columbus, the biggest hurdle for families when it comes to finding services is saying yes to them first Place.

White said families can make good decisions about when care is needed by paying attention to the behavior of their loved ones.

“I would say anyone who struggles to keep up their daily activities, if they stop taking their daily medication, if they fall at home, have trouble getting in and out of the bathroom, or (managing) their personal care” said White. “Maybe there is a bit of forgetfulness, or maybe they have a new diagnosis they don’t understand, or a wound. These would be indicators that I could use help at home. “

According to White, home health care is ideal for people who have conditions that occur as we age, such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, or Alzheimer’s disease, or who just need help with basic tasks like simple drug management.

Wengerd said, however, that many older adults feel they are losing their self-governance by inviting outside help into their home.

“Older adults will say, ‘I don’t want strangers in my house,” that’s one of the first things we hear, “she said. “You will say my daughter, my son, my neighbor and my niece can do this now. And then when they have someone in their house and see everything that can happen, everything that can be done, it becomes ‘why didn’t we do this before?’ “

White and Wengerd’s providers represent the two main types of home health care available in the United States: medical and non-medical, both of which meet different needs.

Menorah Park offers more conditioning options such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and general care services when visiting clients’ homes. Home Care Assistance, on the other hand, is more focused on helping older adults find their way around everyday life, whether it be shopping, bed making, driving, or preparing meals.

White said Menorah Park differs from traditional providers in that additional steps must be taken to educate residents and staff like her about the Jewish faith so that Jewish residents of northeast Ohio can better advise their services.

Compared to options like retirement homes, Wengerd says that home health services tend to be more cost effective because they are often covered by Medicare, which makes the acquisition process even easier by creating a triangle between a patient’s GP and their chosen health care provider and Medicare . Home care is also much more convenient, she added.

“The biggest advantage is that you can stay in your own home,” said Wendgerd. “And we know that 90% of people want that when they get older. The advantage of home care is that we can help people do exactly what they want, when they want to.

“We hang out with customers who want to go to lunch with their friends but no longer drive so we can take them to the restaurant, make sure they can safely sit with their friends, come back and pick them up later. Home care is one on one, one on two when there is a couple. That’s probably the biggest benefit. “

Collin Cunningham is a freelance writer from Cleveland.