Quad Cities, IL/IA

Working with the community... for a healthier community.

Home Helpers: Helping Seniors Stay Independent at Home


By Benjamin Goodin

Many seniors and caregivers are sharply aware that their abilities to care for themselves in later retirement will diminish. In response to the large and quickly growing population of elders in our country who will soon be in need of care, the model of senior care retirement communities has rapidly evolved to accommodate the varied needs and income of this booming demographic. Options now include retirement communities that are focused on delivering quality lifestyle options alongside of medical services and assistance with daily living activities. The price of these varied and accommodating models is often the forfeiture of some privacy and independence. While this trade-off opens up new avenues for socialization and comes with the benefit of being released from home maintenance and meal preparation, as many as 90 percent of seniors wish to maintain their homes and former lifestyles for as long as possible.

Most seniors who are planning on staying in their homes until the time they can no longer do so safely are aware that they will need a helping hand and some careful preparation to preserve their independence. In-home care to service these seniors has experienced a similar expansion as retirement communities, but many seniors and their families are still unaware of the full spectrum of services that are available, much less how to utilize them in a manner that is both cost effective and appropriate for their needs.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of utilizing in-home care like Home Helpers of Scott County, besides helping seniors to stay in their homes, is that a person only needs to contract the services they need. In retirement communities, most services can be moderately tailored to your liking and costs, but they often require a large commitment and change in lifestyle; there is a chance you will be paying for services and conveniences you do not necessarily use or require. Home Helpers offers a la carte style services — you pay for and receive as much or as little care as you need or desire based on your personal preferences. You could contract 24-hour care for yourself or a loved one, but many are in need of only occasional help to be safe in the home. In this pay-as-you-need model, expenses are much easier to tailor and manage without complex financial plans or forfeiture of assets.

The key to extending and supplementing independence through in-home care in an economical fashion is to treat the services that are needed as a balancing act; there are no all-or-nothing propositions in home care. If you are a senior living at home, or you care for one, you likely understand that few require around-the-clock medical or in-home services to maintain independence. A blend of services from the family, community, and in-home care to provide for all needs is not only practical, but economical as well. A well-balanced plan will draw from all of these resources to find the best care for a senior’s needs at the right price.

Caretakers, of course, are generally the first line of defense for a senior with home-care needs. Caretakers are sometimes the spouse or close relative of the senior, or they could be friends, neighbors, or church members. Caretakers often know the senior quite well and are comfortable providing care for sensitive needs. Although most have little or no caretaker training, their love for the senior generally makes them sensitive and capable helpers. Caretakers from the community or family work on their own private time and in what hours they are capable of, often working around their own family and work commitments. Overwhelmingly, family caregivers are daughters in the immediate family with their own children and family to manage. Although it is a taxing occupation, almost all caretakers are unpaid for their services, providing assistance out of kindness or sense of commitment.

In-home services — Home Helpers
In-home services is an already broad and rapidly diversifying industry that facilitates independent living in the home for seniors that require some form of assistance in order to do so. Through Home Helpers, which services are provided is determined by an initial consultation, after which services can be added or cancelled with minimal difficulty. Depending on the company, they may offer medical assistance, non-medical assistance, therapeutic services, transportation, housekeeping, or companionship, but all reputable companies employ licensed, bonded, and background-checked caregivers. These services not only provide fulfillment of a wide range of vital household, health, and daily living tasks, they may also help prevent hospitalizations and emergencies that occur from in-home accidents when seniors are left unattended. Being able to select a customized set of services that are delivered only when they are needed, like those of Home Helpers — a Genesis Senior Services partner — helps to stretch even the tightest budget and preserve senior independence. Only what you need, just when you need it.

Community and senior centers — CASI
Community and senior centers are great places for seniors where they can interact with the larger community, providing them with important socialization. Isolation isn’t just a symptom of worsening health for seniors, it is often a precursor as well. Simply having a community center where they can join like-aged peers for activities, talk, or even just to share a cup of coffee provides vital social links to a senior starved for interaction. The Center for Active Seniors (CASI) provides more than just social activities; it offers important outlets for mental health through organizing community volunteerism, social groups, and offering enrichment programs in the arts and crafts. CASI helps keep bodies healthy too, as it offers fitness programs and exercise space, nutrition through meals and informative programming, or access to free and low-cost screenings and clinics, as well as other services offered through their partnerships with other community organizations that cater to the needs of seniors. Overall, CASI serves as a network of helpful organizations beneficial to senior health, as well as providing options for active and engaged lifestyles.

Adult day care — Jane’s Place
Senior centers or retirement communities sometimes offer adult day care, but it is also available as a wholly separate service. CASI offers Jane’s Place, an adult day care, available as a wholly separate service. Jane’s Place plays a vital role, as it allows seniors with physical restrictions or mental and social impairments to remain close to home and within their community. Jane’s Place provides seniors with limitations that prevent them from living alone a place to become involved in activities and socialization when they cannot access in-home care. This is an especially helpful service for busy caretakers who have errands or engagements that prevent them from watching over the senior or those caretakers who are in need of temporary respite. Caretakers who maintain day jobs find adult dare care services especially helpful in making sure that their senior receives care while they cannot be home. Adult day cares are licensed institutions able to care for, administer medication to, and provide specialized attention to those that have specific and complex needs.

Home Helpers of Scott County has been helping seniors live independently since 2004. They are one of four local non-medical home care providers in the Davenport area that have been selected for the Genesis Senior Services Partnership. For more information on services or
to arrange a free consultation, you can call Home Helpers locally at 563-386-4969, reach them on the web at Homehelpershomecare.comdavenport, or find them on Facebook under Home Helpers of Scott County.