Can my Elder Live at Home? An Interview with Victoria Johnston
By: Derek Hobson
The most frequently asked question we get is, “Can my elder live at home?”
The answer is almost always a conditional yes, as in “Yes… if they have assistance.” For some families this means moving in with their loved one and providing the care themselves, but for others that may not be a viable option. Fortunately, there’s help with Right at Home: In Home Care & Assistance Services.
We had the privilege of interviewing Victoria Johnston, Supervisor of Direct Care Services for Right at Home in Everett, to help provide more details and a comprehensive look at their services.
For starters, they offer the following care services:
- Companionship Care & Homemaking
- Physical Assistance
- Nurse Delegated Care
- Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care Services
- Nonmedical Home Care
- Certified Caregivers
- Respite Care
The caregivers undergo a substantial amount of dementia training and are capable of medication administration (be it oral or other means – if delegated by a nurse under doctor’s orders).
Furthermore, if your elder is recovering from a fall and needs rehabilitative care along with physical therapy, the Right at Home caregivers “work in continuity with the skilled nursing facilities after the elder is discharged from rehabilitation,” Victoria Johnston says, “Our caregivers are trained to follow those exercises so we make sure they’re maintaining the best quality of life possible.”
In-Home Care Uses
On average, the caregivers serve “an older population, but ranges across the board; our youngest client is 20 and our oldest is 101,” says Victoria Johnston. As for the scheduling, “We can get the call from one hour a day preparing meals to 24-hour, end-of-life care.” Even if you simply need assistance once a month for help with housekeeping or need respite for a weekend, Right at Home is eager to work out a schedule that fits your senior’s needs.
Finding a Caregiver for your Family
Finding the right caregiver for your family may seem like a daunting task, but Right at Home has it down to a science. First, you meet with an intake specialist (a care manager) and based on the interview, they select a caregiver that best meets your needs. At the start of care, the care manager introduces and assesses the fit and gets feedback from the client and/or the family. So you may be wondering, how does that process work if you have an erratic schedule or your caregiver falls ill? Here’s how:
“We try to go for consistency and keep the same caregivers with the clients. We work as a team so we always have a backup caregiver. We tell the family in the beginning, you’re probably going to have two different people in the week and you’ll have a backup.”
You select the caregivers and you’re always told ahead of time if a change needs to be made.
Affording In-Home Care
Another big question that comes up a lot is “How can I afford home care?” but there are a lot of options. Johnston reports, “There are several long-term care insurance plans that work with any type of home care services. For veterans, there’s Aid and Attendance, and also the veterans in home care program. In Washington State, Medicare does not cover home care services. Our agency works in tandem with Medicaid coverage (COPES) and can provide services if needed. For other people (siblings mainly), they get together and pay for care together if they can’t afford it alone.” In short, there are numerous options and Right at Home will help you to reach your care goal.
The Caregiver and Senior Relationship
Much of the reason, Victoria Johnston became involved with Right at Home hearkens back to her own experience with caregivers.
“My grandmother and grandfather had a full-time nurse live with them for nine years. When my grandfather passed away, she left, but returned when my grandmother turned 97 and lived with her part-time,” and their relationship is truly inspiring. Johnston recounts, “My grandmother talked about Barbara like she was a daughter to her. Barbara helped her to age at home.”
“The relationship they built between the two of them is pretty amazing. The older people rely on them, but even the caregivers always talk about their senior like they’re a family member,” Johnston states, “We saw the value in having that relationship with our seniors.”
Right at Home in Everett
Right at Home in Everett serves Snohomish and King County.
You can contact them by phone at (425) 290-1714 or locate them at
909 SE Everett Mall Way, Suite C319
Everett, WA 98208
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