Home care a growing option for aging Americans

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. While the population of people older than 65 living in America is expected to double in the next 25 years, according to the Center for Disease Control, care options are also expanding beyond traditional nursing homes.

Home care keeps senior citizens in the comfort of their homes, while a caregiver provides the extra support they may need.

"We all agreed that this is the best way to go," said 94-year-old Alice Koonce, who lives at home in Grand Junction and uses Nightingale's Care. "I'm not really picky about what I eat, but I like to choose what I eat. I like to choose the things I do, which makes home care like this just great."

Personalized meal preparation, hygiene, housekeeping and companionship are among some of the daily tasks caregivers are assigned.

"Just overall to make sure they're ready for their day," said Lori Wallick, a certified nurses aide with Nightingale's Care. "Later on, clients I go to for preparing lunch, making sure everything's fine in the home, making sure they're safe."

Wallick has a 60 hour work week and doesn't have a full day off, making the job a major, but she said fulfilling, part of her life.

"Very busy as a CNA," Wallick said. "I don't say no very easily because I love home health and I love my job. It's rewarding at the end of the day to know I helped somebody and you look forward to it the next day."

Alice Koonce's daughter said Nightingale's caregivers have lifted a weight off her shoulders knowing her mom is in good hands.

"When I want to leave town, I have the comfort of knowing that she's taken care of and that she's safe," said daughter Ann Baldwin.

Nightingale's Care charges $18 to $22 an hour for home care. The more hours of care someone needs, the less it costs per hour. Some insurances do help off set the cost.

Clients can start off with as minimal as a once a week check in before progressing to needing more hours of care.

Caregivers said a person who needs more than one-on-one assistance or lives in a home that's too small to accommodate special needs may not be able to use home care.

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