Non-Medical Home Care Explained

man providing comfort to senior in wheelchair

Non-medical in-home care is an excellent solution for those who are not physically or mentally capable of living independently. These services come with many names, such as personal care and companion care, but they all have one thing in common: they do not require medical knowledge to assist the client.

What Is Non-Medical Home Care?

Professional care aides provide love and liveliness to people who require help with their daily lives. They also support those individuals by assisting them with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as household chores, doing laundry, cooking meals, or just being there so that they know someone is looking out for them.

Professional care assistants often have many responsibilities throughout a single workday. Still, all eventually come back to providing social interaction and companionship, ultimately bringing joy into what could otherwise seem like bleak hours spent at home alone each day without any company.

The Different Types of Non-Medical Care

Non-medical in-home care focuses on assisting with daily activities and sustaining quality of life. Professional caregivers without a medical license can perform these tasks, which family members often perform, and are typically not covered by insurance. In general, there are two different classifications of non-Medical care: companion care and personal care.

the different types of non-medical care

Companion Care

Companion Care is a service that provides emotional and social support for individuals who need assistance with daily activities. A care worker can come by to help with light household chores, such as preparing a meal or doing the laundry.

Many people feel they cannot live without this type of external aid. It allows them to focus on what makes their life meaningful: hobbies, work obligations, family time with loved ones, rather than being bogged down in responsibilities like housekeeping or cooking. Companion care services can include:

  • Companionship and socialization
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Laundry
  • Light housework
  • Shopping and errands
  • Meal assistance
  • Transportation
  • Mobility assistance
  • Medication reminders

Personal Care

Personal care aides are more than just companion caregivers. They can help with the hands-on assistance of physical tasks, such as bathing or dressing. Personal care service workers not only provide companionship but also offer assistive services including:

What Is Home Health Care?

Home health care is a type of medical service that may also be described as clinical or skilled care. It's provided by healthcare professionals like registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists. To get these services, you may need a prescription.

What's the Difference Between Medical and Non-Medical Care?

woman helping senior out of bed

Many people don't realize the differences between "home health care" and "non-medical in-home care." Though they may sound similar, there are a few key distinctions. For example, home healthcare is typically needed by those with severe or chronic illnesses who need assistance maintaining their daily activities. Non-medical in-home care focuses more on basic needs such as meal preparation for elderly individuals and light housekeeping tasks.

The cost of each type varies too; you can expect costs associated with home healthcare services to be much higher than that of an independent caregiver's rates.

Which Option Should You Choose?

As we grow older, our abilities will change. It's not uncommon for seniors to differ in what type of care they are comfortable receiving from others. Some may be afraid or hesitant about needing more support than before and need encouragement to reach out. While some could feel empowered by living independently, they still want help with one specific task like cooking or laundry.

For those without a local support system, non-medical care is a great option to receive assistance in their home. Some signs family members should look out for that may signal the need for home care include:

  • Forgetting to lock the door, turn off the oven, etc.
  • Becoming confused or disoriented about a normal routine.
  • Having trouble walking or getting out of bed.
  • Becoming less coordinated when walking or doing basic activities.
  • Trouble or nervousness driving.

Non-Medical Home Care FAQ

How Can You Tell When a Loved One Needs Extra Care?

If you suspect your parent or loved one needs an increased level of support at home because they cannot take on every responsibility alone anymore due to age-related changes (elevated health risks), look out for these signs:

  • Are activities like cooking too difficult?
  • Do they need assistance with bathing or dressing?
  • Are they struggling when it comes to getting around the house independently?

These questions may prompt further conversations about how best care providers might support them through those challenges so they can keep living comfortably in their own homes while feeling as safe and secure as possible. If you are struggling with the topic of home care, we invite you to read our tips on how to deal with stubborn aging parents.

What Does "Aging in Place" Mean?

Aging in place allows older adults to stay at home rather than move to a nursing facility. Aging in place can be achieved by adapting the house with ramps, walkways, stairlifts, and handrails to make it easier for elderly individuals to navigate their own living space. Those who choose this route will often rely on family members, home health care workers, or non-medical care workers to maintain their lifestyles.

Does Medicaid Cover Non-Medical Home Care?

According to the American Council on Aging, Medicaid pays for some in-home, non-medical care services. To qualify, you must meet specific requirements such as living alone and not being able to shop or cook due to mental incapacity. There are also differences among states regarding how much money is allotted for these types of needs.

Check your state-specific Medicaid eligibility requirements for a clearer picture of what type of coverage you may receive.