Susan Severino is the owner of Severino Health Advisors, where she is an independent health advocate who works to represent the interests of the patient and their family. Her work as an Independent Health Advocate grew out of a need to help patients get the care they deserve and to also alleviate the stress and anxiety this often places on the family.
In the last 10 years, Susan has dedicated much of her time to caring for her aging parents. During that time, she learned ways to help her parents and others get the care they needed. Her personal experience caring for her parents, combined with more than 30 years in the healthcare industry makes Susan a wealth of knowledge when it comes to navigating the decision to use a home care agency to care for an aging loved one.
Ella Home Care talked with Susan to ask her a few key questions about her experience. What played a role in her decision to hire a professional caregiver to assist her in caring for her mother? What challenges or hesitations has she faced? Read on to learn more!
Ella Home Care: In your opinion, what are the benefits of using outside home care over taking care of your mother yourself?
Susan Severino: For me, one of the largest benefits was the peace of mind hiring a professional caregiver brought to my family. I regained the ability to work and live a normal life, while knowing my mother was in great care. It is also extremely convenient to have someone come to the home. Our caregivers are my eyes and ears to everything going on throughout the day and they can pick up on subtle changes taking place. Most importantly, a caregiver is reliable companionship for my mother.
EHC: How would you compare the benefits of home care over an assisted living community?
SS: My mother spent some time in an assisted living community, but did very poorly. With Dementia, she shuts down and becomes disoriented in an unfamiliar environment. She does best when she is in her home with one-on-one care.
EHC: What are the drawbacks to home care?
SS: The big question you have to answer is can you financially afford it? You are also welcoming someone into your home which can place you or your loved one in a vulnerable position if you don’t fully trust the person. There is less oversight to ensure a caregiver is administering proper care when you’re not there.
EHC: What are the signs that a loved one may need home care?
SS: I most commonly see a family transitioning into hiring a professional caregiver after a parent has experienced a fall or injury that makes it clear they need outside help on a regular basis. If you notice they cannot perform simple household tasks alone, such as cook a meal, clean the house or bathe, then it’s time to consider hiring a professional caregiver.
EHC: From a healthcare perspective, do you find many insurance policies cover home care?
SS: In certain instances, Long Term Care Insurance can pay for home care, but not everyone purchases a LTC policy. Another option could be a Medicaid waiver which provides money for care. However, in many circumstances I see the family pay out of pocket for these expenses. When you know it’s the best option for care for a loved one, you do what you have to do to make it work.
EHC: What are some of the biggest hesitations people have about home care?
SS: People often stress over whether they feel like they can trust an outside person to come into their home and properly care for a loved one. Have they been properly screened? Are they compassionate with their care? What if my parent develops a relationship with them and they take another job? My best advice is to listen to your instincts. Even if your home care company has fully vetted someone, do your job to screen them too! If you have any hesitations, request someone else. It’s important you know and trust the person caring for your loved one.
Are you considering home care for an aging loved one? Share what you have taken into consideration when making this decision.