My mom needs help, not care.’

This is a common conundrum for adult children and their elderly parents, and it usually comes about because they’re unfamiliar with the industry – that’s okay!

The argument goes along the lines of this:

My mother is living alone and needs assistance organizing, cleaning, cooking, doing laundry… Although that may sound like a lot, she’s perfectly healthy. She’s always been skinny, which the doctor says is normal, and she’s not struggling with mental issues – she’s still beating me at chess! In short, my mom needs help, not care. What can you do?

The best thing you can do is find some home care services for your loved one.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “She just said, help, not care,” and that is where most of the confusion comes in. See, there’s a difference between Home Care and Home Health Care.

Home Care Vs Home Health Care

In this scenario, to help your senior stay at home, home care services are what you want. Home care provides:

  • Medication reminders
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Bathing or personal grooming
  • Running errands (grocery store, CVS, etc.)
  • Companionship

If it helps, think of home care services for seniors like personal attendants or butlers. If your father needs convincing, tell him he’ll finally have an Alfred to his Batman. These caregivers are hired specifically to help rather than provide medical care.

Home health care covers the things that you might have expected:

  • Skilled nursing care
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation (at their home)
  • Tending to wounds, fractures, sutures, casts, etc.

There are even specialists in dementia training so as to reorient elders struggling with memory loss.

Essentially, home health care provides the kind of medical care and treatment your elder would receive if they were in the hospital. Typically, these services are also more expensive (though not as expensive as being in the hospital).

If your loved one needs help, then home care services are a viable option, especially if they don’t need constant attention. Even paying for a caregiver to pop over a few times a week is a good way of knowing your parent is safe and provided for without being overbearing.

If your loved one needs care however, then home health services may be the way to go – especially if your loved one is set on not moving. For those suffering dementia, some experts have stated that keeping seniors in their homes is one of the best things you could do since it’s a familiar environment.

Then of course, there are those whose elder needs a little bit of help and a little bit of care (maybe they suffered a fall and need some time to rehabilitate and recover while someone provides for them). If that’s the case, always remember that these two services can work in conjunction. The home health caregiver may arrange a new set of physical therapy treatments and the home care specialist will encourage your elder to achieve them.