Demystifying home care and addressing common misconceptions with Synergy HomeCare in Farmington.
By Cassie Kunze
Photography by Derrick Martinez
Sponsored by Synergy HomeCare
With so much misinformation out there about home care, some people who could greatly benefit from it unfortunately avoid seeking help due to widely believed misconceptions. SEEN spoke with Jeanne Atkinson and Colleen McDonald, co-owners of Synergy HomeCare in Farmington that services southern Oakland and northern Wayne counties, to address some of the more common fallacies regarding home care.
1. Home care is only for the very sick.
A larger misconception is that only people who suffer from serious illnesses should use home care. Yet “home care can benefit anyone who may need any level of help,” McDonald says. “We accommodate any time needed, from a minimum of four hours up to 24/7 care.” She adds that they design schedules around families’ needs. “Even just four hours of care can be incredibly helpful for someone who is caring for a loved one or needs help themselves,” she says.
2. Home care is only for seniors.
“Home care” may sound synonymous with “senior care.” However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. “Depending on insurance, home care can be for any age,” Atkinson says. One common home care use is for people who need assistance after surgery. Home care services can be useful for a range of needs from post-traumatic stress disorder patients to those who want extra companionship throughout the day.
3. You get better care in a facility.
A long-held belief is you get better care in a facility than from home care providers. McDonald says when it comes to senior care facilities, “you are as well cared for as often as you are visited.” This points to the unfortunate fact that clients who have frequent visitors tend to receive better care. As opposed to facilities, McDonald adds, “you get more control in creating your schedule and diet with home care since you create an individualized plan with your caregiver. It’s a more personal experience.”
4. You don’t get a say in who your caregiver is.
Atkinson says when working with a new client, they create “extensive care plans and conduct a thorough home assessment to create a personalized care plan that is specific to each client, including their challenges and how we can help.” The goal is to match caregivers with clients by personality and activities needed.
A caregiver is then identified by the best match. “Caregiver introduction and first meetings do not always work first time. However, this is why we ask for feedback from both the caregiver and the client,” she says. “Once we have gathered all information, we make an educated decision to either coach and counsel the caregiver to better meet the needs of the client, or we change the caregiver altogether.” Atkinson says no one is ever “stuck” or required to stay with a caregiver, and clients have a lot of control in who their caregivers are.
5. Home care is too expensive.
The perception that home care is too expensive is one of the major reasons most people do not utilize it. While McDonald and Atkinson note that home care is not a health insurance or government-provided benefit, there are several ways to finance the service. “We see a lot of families think outside of the box to honor their loved ones’ wishes,” McDonald says. “There are also lesser-known financing options — several of our clients with long-term care insurance are offered home care as a benefit in their policies.” Another option is the Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits program through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Oftentimes families can be overwhelmed thinking they need to pay for 24/7-hour care, when in reality they can start small and only use what they need,” McDonald adds. “The caregiver role is a highly underrated stress, and having just a four-hour visit is enough to alleviate it. It takes a village, and we’re here to help.”
23290 Farmington Road, Farmington
Synergy HomeCare operates as a licensed, insurance and bonded agency with board-certified and trained employees.