Home Care Options: Non-Medical In-Home Care

Non-medical care offers assistance to family caregivers and to those in need of care, providing services that include personal care, respite care and companionship. Duties include feeding, dressing and bathing, medication reminders, walking/transportation assistance, errands and company. 

Companions and homemakers can help with light housekeeping, meal preparation, transportation, and socialization. They are not trained to provide personal care. or assist with basic care needs (known as ADLs or activities of daily living). 

A CNA or certified nursing assistant is additionally trained to assist with some personal or hands on care needs.  He or she has completed a program, has received a certificate and is licensed by the state. When a CNA works for a home care agency, he or she is generally supervised by a registered nurse. The CNA also works contractually and can be individually hired.

Unskiilled/Companion Care skills include:

  • Feeding
  • Cooking, Cleaning, Household Chores
  • Laundry
  • Errands & Shopping
  • Companionship
  • Medication Reminders & Observations

Additional Services offered by Skilled Care:
(Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) or Licensed Nurse Practitioners (LPNs))
  • Bathing and Dressing
  • Assistance with Walking and Moving
  • CPR Certified
  • Incontinence Care

How much does non-skilled (companion/personal care) assistance typically cost?

The national average hourly fee is $18 with different state averages ranging from $15 - $25 if hired through an agency.  In addition, agencies may charge cost differentials for care on weekends or holidays. 

How much do CNA's typically cost?

A certified nursing assistant or certified nursing aide is usually hired by the hour and can work for just several hours a day or week, or work full-time. The average hourly rate is $19.  The typical pay range is $15-$30 an hour through an agency.

How do I find a reliable companion, health care aide or CNA caregiver?  

  • Local, background checked individual caregivers can be found online through us at http://www.care.com/. We can also provide options through our approved network of agencies through our senior care planning services.
  • Word of mouth is an excellent way to find help. Perhaps you receive a recommendation from another family member or neighbor. Don't be afraid to ask others who have faced a similar care need. Also, consider finding recommendations through a caregiver's workshop or support group where others have hired care and know of an aide they particularly like.
  • Contacting agencies and organizations that cater to local seniors, memory-impaired seniors, or disabled individuals and asking for a list of companies they recommend. This will give you agencies you can contact yourself.

How do I know if hiring an individual home care aide or companion is right for my loved one?

  • You've spoken with a senior care advisor from Care.com who has recommended a home care aide or you have researched it on your own. Remember, Care.com provides standard background checks for everyone on our site.  For your family's safety we do suggest that you do an enhanced background check as well.
  • You are willing to hire, supervise, and coordinate care on your own rather than through an agency.
  • You are comfortable opening your home or your loved one's home to an individual.
  • You or someone else can check on the care aide and care recipient often.

What to ask when hiring a companion or certified nursing assistant

It's important to be very specific about what you expect from a home health assistant.  Are you looking for someone who can assist with bathing, dressing, or other activities of daily living? Or maybe just someone to make sure your loved one gets nourishment and help walking through the garden. Either way, be honest about what the home health assistant might encounter. 

Write a specific job description based on the help that is needed. Do you want someone who is:

  • Trained to handle incontinence?
  • Strong enough to transfer care recipient from bed to chair and back again? You may want to include the care recipient's weight.
  • Experienced with dementia/Alzheimer's or other specific diseases?
  • Licensed and trained to provide hands or personal care? Let them know they will be asked for documentation
  • Willing to prepare meals, do laundry and light housekeeping?
  • Valid driver's license and good driving record (if transportation is needed)?
  • Able to help care recipient in and out of a car?
  • Willing to run errands in own car?  Insurance coverage?

>>Review the Senior Care Index for all senior care options.

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