The Pros & Cons in Home Care

I’ve read so many good and bad things about home care, such as recent posts like:

Home Care Helping to Reduce Readmission Rates for Hospitalization

9 Reasons to Care for Aging Parents at Home

Boston Area Home Care Agency Cuts Most Staff Amid Fraud Investigation

Charges Filed in a Case Involving Murder by a Home Health Care Aide

Just like most things in life, there are positives and negatives in any situation; and this is true in home care. As a professional in the senior living industry, it is my job to make seniors and their families aware of these things and help them make an informed decision. The US News & World Report recently published a great article entitled 5 Steps to Selecting a Personal Care Aide for Mom and Dad. Which features great advice on how you and your family can get started in making an informed decision!

What level of care do you need?

Deciding on home care for you or your loved one can be confusing. Often, the term home care is used to distinguish non-medical care or custodial care, which is care that is provided by persons who are not nurses, doctors, or other licensed medical personnel, as opposed to home health care that is ordered by a physician & provided by licensed personnel. Below are definitions of the two forms of care.
Home Care  – Home Care Agencies provide personal services to elderly or disabled clients in their residence. This includes non-medical assistance in the client’s home, including help with cooking, cleaning, bathing, dressing, transportation, and companionship.
Home Health Care   – Doctor ordered medical services for patients recovering from an illness or surgery or those needing medical attention while at their home. Home health agencies, provide a wide range of health and social services delivered at home to people recovering from an illness or injury, or persons who are elderly, disabled and/or chronically ill. Home Health Agencies provide “skilled services” such as nursing, social services, and therapeutic treatments (physical, speech, occupational therapy). Each state may refer to home care or home health care by using different terms. To find the term that your state uses view our state licensing page.


One of the first steps in making an informed decision about anything is research. You’ve made the first step in deciding which type of care is needed, now it is your job to find home care agencies in your area. Click to find all licensed care providers. After finding some options, call or schedule a visit to interview the potential provider. Most agencies also offer an in-home evaluation free of charge.

Trust your instincts

You’ve done your homework before hiring any caregivers, but don’t let your guard down after that. You must make sure that anyone coming in the home is not taking advantage of the situation. There are wonderful caregivers out there that only have the best intentions, but there are also people just working for an hourly wage and companies looking for more. If something sounds “off” or feels “off”, do some investigating of your own, talk to a local ombudsman and remember that you are not “stuck” in a situation. There are always other options, no matter what “they” tell you. On the flip side, if you find a wonderful provider &/or caregiver, show your appreciation & let them & others know. Word of mouth is a powerful tool!

I hope that someday soon the positive news will outweigh the negative. But until then, do not be afraid to pursue home care or any other senior living options out there. With an organized plan and research, you and your loved one should have no problem finding the care services you need.