Best Home Care Services
People with disabilities and those who are aging may require assistance related to the activities of daily life (ADL). People might have difficulty getting dressed, cooking meals, getting into and out of bed, staying clean, using the bathroom and more.
These challenges do not fall under the heading of health services, but instead might be solved with an in-home care solution. A home health aide or companion service can assist with ADLs to enable seniors to stay in their homes for as long as possible.
Compare Reviews for Top Home Care Services
Read 35 Reviews
Comfort Keepers caregivers are thoroughly screened and trained. They may help loved ones with everyday tasks or provide ongoing live-in assistance to help elderly family members maintain their quality of life and independence.
|Home Instead Senior Care|
Read 148 Reviews
The caregiving services offered by Home Instead Senior Care are available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. They have affordable options, and their caregivers are compassionate and well-trained to care for your loved ones.
Read 19 Reviews
Synergy HomeCare services are available 365 days per year for round-the-clock care. They offer a unique C.A.R.E. approach (Coordinated and Responsive Engagement) to give your loved ones the best care available.
Read 26 Reviews
Visiting Angels has provided caregiver services since 1998, creating a personalized daily plan for your loved ones. They offer care by the hour, overnight care and round-the-clock care options.
Read 36 Reviews
Using today's technology, Carelinx puts you in direct command of the day to day in-home care your loved deserves. From our app, you can find a caregiver, schedule care needs, and communicate with the caregiver in real-time.
|Right at Home||Read 9 Reviews|
The independently owned franchisees who partner with Right at Home are professional caregivers. Right at Home has its own Custom In-Home Care Giving Process to help patients choose the best caregiver for their situation.
|Griswold Home Care||Read Reviews|
Griswold Home Care connects patients and their loved ones with trained, professional caregivers from across the country. Griswold's website also offers special tools and resources rich in home care information.
|Nurse Next Door||Read Reviews|
Nurse Next Door offers free consultations with one of their Expert Care Designers. Nurse Next Door caregivers strive to help their patients feel healthy again, and they do more than just help take care of tasks around the home.
|Care Indeed||Read Expert Review|
Care Indeed offers 24/7 home care services throughout the California Bay Area. Caregivers strive to help the elderly stay comfortable, healthy, protected and independent while living in their own homes.
What to consider when choosing an in-home care provider
Home health aide schedules vary between agencies. This can impact affordability and convenience when hiring a service.
- Home for the holidays: Does the agency offer holiday service? Many elderly people celebrate in their own homes, making it crucial for an assistant to be available during these days.
- Part-time option: Not all seniors need round-the-clock care, so a part-time option helps keep costs low.
- Overtime service: Family members responsible for primary care may face a late day at the office, bad traffic or any number of factors that could leave them running late. Be sure that a caregiver can remain on site when a complication arises.
- Respite care: Family caregivers need breaks from time-to-time to tend to their own needs. Home health aides can fill in so that the care recipient remains safe while the family caregiver is away.
Communication between the family of the senior receiving care and the provider organization is critical to creating a comprehensive schedule of services. Slow response times could leave a senior alone, or put them in danger by delaying reports on issues that could impact their health.
- Health reporting: How often does the service provider give a comprehensive report about the senior’s continued ability to live alone?
- Schedule changes: For many people, caring for an elderly parent does not reduce other demands on their time, leaving them to schedule around school plays, nights out with friends and work functions. Flexible and emergency scheduling is a must.
- Live operators: As effective as voice mail can be, waiting for a call back can be nerve wracking. Make sure your service provider routinely answers the phone, rather than responding to messages.
Any time you let someone into your home, you take a risk. The elderly are particularly at risk, so before inviting someone in, it is important that they pass screening and a background check which should be provided by the agency.
- Background checks: A credit check and scan of criminal history could provide a sense of security.
- Reference checks: Reference checks are a quick and easy way to find out whether someone has a history of quality performance, and they are also something that many employers neglect to do.
- Caregiver interview: Instead of simply assigning someone to a case, it is important to allow the caregiver, senior and their family to meet in an informal environment. Compatibility is a foundation for building trust.
Everyone needs a day off occasionally, so what happens when a caregiver calls out?
- Immediate notification: Before sending a replacement, the agency should notify you of the conflict. You might prefer to take some time off rather than have a stranger take on the job.
- Available replacement: If they have a call out, can the agency send out someone else without missing the service window?
- Permanent replacement option: While occasional call outs are inevitable, repetitive issues with missed work can be a major issue. It is important to know how many you might deal with from a single provider.
When trying to provide care on a limited budget, the cost can be a major issue. Medicare rarely covers in-home care costs, leaving much of it to be out-of-pocket. You can see what benefits you or your loved one are eligible for by visiting benefits.gov. Long-term care insurance and Medicare supplemental insurance might be viable options to help cover costs.
- Daily charges: Is there a daily maximum on charges?
- Hourly charges: Hourly charges can rack up fast, particularly for those that need round-the-clock care.
- Extra therapy charge: If the primary aide only helps around the house, but is supplemented with a physical therapist or nurse, is there an additional charge for these occasional services? There almost always is.
Types of home care services
Home health aides
Home health aides are professionals who can help with self-care, housework, cooking and more. They might also perform some basic medical tasks. Home health aides sometimes have medical training, so they might be certified nursing assistants (CNAs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs). However, there aren’t any specific standards requiring a home health aide to have particular training or certification. If you’re looking for someone to help with any medical-related tasks, ask about certifications when choosing your provider. Medicare or Medicaid might pay for help from a home health aide.
Home care nurses often handle the basic medical needs of those aging in place, like tracking their vitals, giving them IV medications and changing bandages. These professionals could either be licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or registered nurses (RNs). The higher level of care a person needs, the more likely their nurse will be an RN. Sometimes, a nurse will visit a patient less frequently but will manage a team of home health aides that visits the person every day. Medicare or Medicaid might pay for help from a home care nurse.
Geriatric care managers
Geriatric care managers are professionals that help caregivers figure out how much care their loved one needs and what living situation might be best for them. They also help caregivers and families navigate the medical system and figure out how to pay for care and hire appropriate home care professionals. Geriatric care managers often have backgrounds in gerontology, social work, nursing, psychology or another related field. You’ll often have to pay out-of-pocket to hire a care manager, but it could be worth the investment if they help you save money in other ways.
Companion services vary a lot. Companions might just be someone who keeps your loved one company, or they might also offer transportation and housekeeping services. Companions don’t handle any medical tasks, and they don’t usually help with bathing, grooming or other activities of daily living (ADLs). Because these individuals don’t provide medical care, Medicaid and Medicare won’t pay for them. You may be able to find a community service organization, like Volunteers of America, that provides these services for free.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels is a national organization that operates in most communities in the United States. It works with local businesses and volunteers to serve meals to people over 60. The organization delivers meals to people in their homes, and the volunteers who drop meals off provide some companionship to seniors. The group also serves meals in local community centers, so people who can drive can get out of the house to socialize. These services are free or low-cost, depending on where you live.
Villages are non-profit organizations designed to help people age in place. Villages coordinate volunteers and paid workers to organize social and educational activities. Villages typically offer transportation services and limited in-home assistance as well as discounted services from health professionals. Each village is independently operated, so the services offered in your area will vary. To find out about a village near you and learn more about these organizations, visit the Village to Village Network’s website.
Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE, is a part of Medicare and Medicaid. The programs provide as much care as feasibly possible to people in their own homes. For example, someone in a state with PACE might be eligible for in-home care, social work counseling and many other services.
Programs in different parts of the country have slightly different offerings, but the overall goal is to keep people in their own homes as long as possible. These programs currently exist in just over 30 states, but they don’t necessarily cover the entire state. To find out about PACE programs in your area, visit the PACE page on the Medicare website.
How to choose a home care provider
1. Write down all the care services needed
Start by making a complete list of all the tasks you or your loved one needs help with. Once you have this list, you can decide whether you need one provider or a few with different specialties.
2. Screen over the phone first
Next, call the companies that advertise the services you need and confirm that their employees can do everything needed. Use the list of questions from Eldercare.gov to ensure your loved one will receive quality care.
3. Interview in the resident’s home
If a provider meets your standards after talking to them on the phone, have an in-home interview with the people who will work with your loved one. Make sure you and the care recipient feel comfortable and confident.
4. Call the provider’s references
Anyone who will be working in your loved one’s home should be willing to give you a list of references, including current clients. Call these people to learn more about the provider and ensure they’re someone you want to hire.
5. Run a background check
Run a background check on each individual who will be helping your loved one in their home.
Expert reviews for home care service providers
Carelinx is a caregiver marketplace that allows individuals and families across the country find and hire quality caregivers. The online platform makes it easy to pay and manage caregivers, even if you are living in a different city or state than your loved one.
With franchise locations in more than 28 states, Griswold Home Care is a trusted name in the home health services industry.
With more than 700 worldwide franchise offices, Comfort Keepers is an industry leader in home health services.
Founded by a hospital administrator in 1995, Right at Home has an insiders take on what seniors and disabled people need to have independent and productive lives at home.
Founded by two men disillusioned with the home care industry, Nurse Next Door prioritizes the care in health care. They work to find providers who truly care about your loved ones, making them one of the most trusted brands in home health care.
Since it opened its doors in 1998, Visiting Angels has been a leading provider of home health services in the U.S. and Canada.
As a worldwide provider with more than 900 franchise offices, Home Instead has a reputation for excellence.
As a leading provider of home care services, Synergy helps those facing a major life change or sudden lack of mobility.
A full-service agency, Care Indeed works with patients to maximize their independence and keep life fun and engaging.
- 24/7 care: They have service providers available round the clock, and there is always a nurse on duty if something comes up in the middle of the night.
- Constant education: Caregivers are constantly seeking to keep their credentials top-notch through continuing educational activities.
- Comprehensive background checks: Before letting someone into your home, it is important to know that they are a safe addition. Care Indeed performs comprehensive criminal background checks, locally and nationally, checks references, verifies driving records and more.
- Family pet care: Pets can help seniors stay active and engaged, making them an important part of the family. With Care Indeed, pet care falls on the list of home health services.
- Local operator: Serving only in California, all home health care providers are directly employed by Care Indeed, not a third-party service.
- Best for: Primary caregivers, elderly individuals, persons with dementia, persons with a disability and accident victims.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.