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    What kind of help can my parents receive at home?

    Rights and services for elderly people living in their own homes

    Last update: 05/12/21

    Many elderly people prefer to go on living in their own homes even after their level of functioning has deteriorated. The elderly person feels secure at home. The house itself, the street and the neighborhood are familiar places, and he knows how to get around.

    There are a number of organizations providing support for elderly persons living at home:

    1.      The National Insurance Institute of Israel (Bituach Leumi): if the elderly person finds it difficult to perform some daily functions, he may apply to Bituach Leumi to receive the long-term care benefit (under the Long-Term Care Insurance Law).  This benefit entitles him to assistance in managing his household, such as cleaning, shopping and cooking, and also  in daily functions like bathing, dressing, eating, etc.based on the needed level of assistance, as determined by Bituach Leumi (5.5 to 30 weekly home care hours).

    2.      Nursing care & employment agencies: Nursing care & employment agencies provide the services of both Israeli and foreign caregivers in a number of ways:

    a.      Within the framework of the Long-Term Care Insurance Law, agencies place and supervise caregivers for the hours of long-term care benefit approved for the client by Bituach Leumi.

    b.      Placing a foreign worker – usually for 24-hour care.  An  individual who needs assistance in most or all of his daily functions may file a request to  the Israel Employment Service for a license  to employ a foreign worker.  The worker, on his part, must have an official work permit allowing him to work as a home caregiver.  The nursing care agency acts as a mediator in all formal licensing procedures vis-à-vis the Employment Service and the Ministry of Interior. It brings in a worker from abroad or finds one who is available and is already in Israel, and guides the worker and  the family throughout the period of employment.  The Employment Service does not always give the license required for employing a foreign worker.

    c.       Providing caregivers/nurses who stay with patients in the hospital.  Many families cannot handle the burden of watching over their loved one when he is in the hospital. This extra task is added to their busy daily schedules, already filled with family duties and professional obligations.  Nursing care agencies are able provide a solution to this problem, even at very short notice.

    d.      Private nursing and home management services (without home care benefits).

    3.      The local authority – the Department of Social Services (Welfare): Every municipality has a department of social services for senior citizens. Through this department, you can contact the regional  social worker and ask about services, rights and benefits available to the retired population.  Read here about benefits for the elderly in the local authority.

    4.  Continuing Care/Home Care Unit in the health funds (Kupot Holim): the main function of the  continuing care/home care unit is to maintain continuity of care when an elderly person returns home from the hospital with a referral for continuing care.  Upon release from the hospital, contact the local home care unit and update the nurse with all details of the elderly person’s medical condition.  A nurse or social worker will visit the patient, to determine exactly what kind of help he needs.  This visit, in addition to the recommendations included in the hospital’s letter of discharge, will determine his care plan, which can include:

    A physiotherapist – who will instruct the caregiver about how to work with the patient, and which devices to use to help improve his motor functioning

    An occupational therapist – who will offer advice on how to help the elderly person attain maximum independence, which devices to use, and how to make the house safe for its elderly dweller.  If the elderly person’s mobility is limited, the occupational therapist may recommend changes in the house, and help you file an application to the Ministry of Health for support in funding home renovations.  See article about adapting the home.

    A social worker – who will guide the family and refer them  to additional service providers.

    For inquiries about the Home Care Unit apply to your local Kupat Holim.

    5.      Supplementary nursing care insurance: People insured with supplementary insurance in their health fund, which includes nursing care insurance, may apply for the assistance of a home caregiver, if they have difficulties in performing daily functions (bathing, eating, dressing, controlling toilet functions).  See full article on nursing care insurance.

    6.      Pre-nursing care: From the time an application for a caregiver is filed, until it is approved by the Health Fund or Bituach Leumi, the patient may be assisted by a caregiver through a nursing care agency, based on a professional recommendation, as a pre-nursing care service.This care will be provided for a limited number of weekly hours, at the agency’s expense.

    7.      Convalescence/respite program: A temporary stay of a few days in a convalescence home under medical supervision allows an elderly person to recuperate following hospitalization in a general or rehabilitation hospital.  Alternatively, this service can serve as a respite program that gives the family some time off from the constant care-giving. To find out whether the elderly person is eligible for the respite program, contact the Social Services Dept. in the local authority where he resides.

    8.      Supportive community: A new system currently emerging in many neighborhoods in cities, moshavim and kibbutzim. This framework gives the elderly person a sense of security in the community, through a package of services that includes: an emergency button, contact with a ‘community father’, a social club and more.

    Read more about Supportive Community.

    To find the following services press here

    (Illustrative image  Unsplash)

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