Senior care services do not require a licensed professional or a physician's prescription. Think of it as "stitch in time" care - doing the little things that can help people maintain independence, remain socially engaged and stay in their own homes.
Senior care services make it very clear that they are not in the home health care business. Instead, they offer services such as companionship, meal preparation, medication reminders, bathing assistance, light housework, transportation, errands, grocery shopping, pharmacy pick-ups, arranging doctor appointments and mailing bills and letters.
You'll usually find senior care services listed in the phone book under "Home Care." Some are franchises - such as Home Instead Senior Care, Wisdom Keepers, Comfort Care, Visiting Angels and Comfort Keepers - while others are independently owned. Some senior care companies, such as Home Instead Senior Care, offer its caregivers advanced training on how to care for people with Alzheimer's.
Prices for senior care range from $18 to $25 per hour and there is usually a minimum service requirement of at least three or four hours per day. Services can be arranged for as many as 24 hours per day for a short or long term, including weekends and holidays. This can be especially helpful when families need a break from daily caregiving.
Because senior care services are not medical care, they are not covered by Medicare. If the person requiring care has long-term care insurance, home health care services may be covered. Call the insurance provider to find out.