Most seniors would rather grow old within the comforts of their home instead of being brought to a nursing home. They look for the warm, familiar environment they have been used to for decades. Many homes hold wonderful memories from decades past and they do not want to leave these behind. They also have their neighbors and community as support.
Seniors also fiercely try to remain independent long after their children have left the nest, but let’s face it; there comes a time when we need help in terms of personal care and household chores. This is even more true when an aging parent has a medical condition. Friends and family will be around but for many seniors with health concerns, it pays to have a dedicated caregiver around who can provide in-home care.
Hiring a private caregiver is an option but hiring through an agency is far safer since these agencies are licensed, insured, and bonded. Here are a few things to consider when looking for the right in-home care provider for your elderly loved ones.
Background checks on all in-home care caregivers
A background check on in-home care caregivers is required by many states. If your state does not require it, it is important to ask the agency how they ensure that all their caregivers have been properly vetted to ensure your loved one’s safety.
Credentials of caregivers
In-home care has several levels of care. Those providing nursing care have to have nursing credentials and adequate nursing experience. For example, seniors with ALS will require trained professionals treating ALS, since a greater level of care is needed as the disease becomes advanced. On the other hand, workers providing lower levels of in-home care like companionship or cook and clean homes will need to have a different set of credentials and skills.
Regular vs contractual caregivers
This is an important consideration for liability reasons. You will want to get an in-home care provider that employs regular caregivers who are fully insured and bonded.
An in-home care agency that provides regular training for its caregivers and periodically reviews employee performance gives you that added level of confidence that they will be providing excellent service. A professional in-home care agency normally provides regular reports to the family about their loved ones and would have full documentation onsite about the activities of the senior, as well as any vital signs taken and observed.
Consistency of caregivers
An important consideration is the consistency of caregivers assigned to your loved one. Check if the agency is able to assign a specific caregiver on a long-term basis. The elderly are comfortable when they see the same caregiver day in and out. Not only will your loved one be at ease and trusting of the caregiver, but the caregiver will also be able to quickly detect and alert you if there are any changes in your loved one’s health condition.
Discuss the price of services that includes hourly, shift or daily rates including who bears the cost (if any) of holidays, vacation or sick leave, and other extraneous services. Normally it is the agency who handles the payroll, taxes and any legal matters involving their caregivers.
Personal interview and visit
Most agencies would normally send a representative to visit the home concerned. They will be asking you questions about the type of care needed. This is your chance as well to personally assess the agency, ask your questions, and get a feel of whether this is the right one for your loved one.
There are still other considerations involved in choosing an in-home care agency for your seniors but this list is a good start. What counts is that you and your loved one get comfortable with the agency, caregivers, and the services they offer for a healthy and long-lasting relationship.