Three Different Types of At-Home Senior Care

For seniors that don’t require the medical care and attention of a nursing home or assisted living, there are options that cater to seniors that still live at home and only need the care to come to them. It is important to have an idea about the type of care you or your loved one will need now and in the future, as well as becoming acquainted with the terminology.

Skilled and Custodial Care

Depending on the location in which care is provided, there are two types of care of the highest level known as skilled care and custodial care. Skilled care is a service that can be given only by licensed or skilled medical staff. This includes help with wound care, injections, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and other medical needs.

Custodial care, which is also called non-skilled care, helps with activities of daily living, also called ADL’s, a healthcare term that refers to people’s daily self care including eating, bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, walking, and continence. Custodial care is typically provided for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Both skilled and custodial care can be provided at home, in adult daycare or in a residential care setting such as a nursing home, assisted living community or adult foster care home. 

Home Care and Home Health Care

Home care and home health care are terms used interchangeably, but there is an important difference between the two. Both of these types of care are provided in a senior’s home. Home care usually means that custodial or unskilled care is being provided. This includes help with bathing and dressing, as well as help with laundry, cooking and accompanying them to doctors’ appointments.

Home health care is a higher level of care that requires medical training. This includes assisting with artificial limbs and other medical equipment like a ventilator and also checking an elderly person’s vitals and respiration. It’s not that unusual for home health care providers to also provide custodial care during their visits to an elderly person’s home. 

Adult Day Social Care vs. Adult Day Health Care

Adult daycare and adult day health care are terms that are used interchangeably. Adult day social care provides seniors with supervision and care in a structured setting during daytime hours usually only on weekdays. This enables seniors to continue living at home with their families while allowing family members or caregivers the time to go to work or relieve stress from caregiving. Activities such as art therapy, exercise class, hair and beauty services, oxygen therapy and counseling are usually provided as well as meals.

Adult day health care usually provides everything social care does but it also includes medical services similar to those found in a nursing home and can include rehabilitation services and medication management. This sounds like an ideal alternative to a nursing home, however, there are only a few hundred of these facilities per state compared to thousands of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.