Seventy percent of persons with Alzheimer's disease are cared for at home. Home care can be essential to provide personal care and give the family assistance and relief to continue to care for the patient. Deciding on and finding the care needed is not always easy. It is a personal decision based on the person's needs and family situation. The New York Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association does not recommend nor endorse any home care agencies or workers, but provides information on resources available to assist families in making arrangements.
Click here to get information on Home Care Agencies in the New York City area.
Please note that although agencies have their main offices in one borough, they may also service other boroughs.
It is very important to know as much about a home care agency and their workers as possible. Below are some questions to ask.
Skilled care paid for by Medicare
If a physician orders skilled care (which are usually the services of a registered nurse, physical therapist, or other healthcare professional), Medicare or other health insurance companies may cover these costs. This care is usually short term and intermittent. Home health care organizations that provide skilled care will bill Medicare directly and can discuss with the patient and family what is covered.
Home care paid for by Insurance or Medicaid
Many long-term care insurance policies provide some coverage for home health care or personal care services, but it is necessary to check your specific policy for what is covered and under what circumstances these benefits can be accessed. Medicaid usually covers some home health care services. Families should talk with their social services worker for more information on covered services and agencies they can contact.
Check additional services provided by the agency
Many home health agencies, registries and referral services have nurses, home health aides and companions who can be employed on an hourly basis. Most agencies require a minimum number of hours (usually four) and some provide live-in assistance. It is helpful to understand if the person you are hiring is an employee of the agency or a referral service or if you are actually hiring the individual yourself.
Geriatric Care Managers
Geriatric Care Managers (GCM's) can be helpful in deciding on and locating home health care services. Care managers are usually employed on a fee for service basis, but some public and non-profit agencies may be able to provide assistance at a lower cost.
To locate a geriatric care manager, click here.
Sources: Missouri Council of Senior Citizens Senior Action Alert, and the Alzheimer's Association, National Capital Area Chapter.