Senior being reassured by caregiver

Choosing Home Care for Elderly Parents

How to Make the Right Selection for Your Family and Their Needs

Do you have a parent or parents who could use a bit of extra help due to aging? Are you unable to provide the support they need due to work, children, or other responsibilities? Are you the current caregiver, and are you facing burnout? That’s okay. There are affordable options to get mom or dad the help that they need in order to be able to remain in their home.

There are a lot of options available to you, so when it comes to making your selection you may have a lot of questions. You might have questions like what is home care? How much does it cost? How do I know when it’s the right time to hire these services? Or, how do I make sure to choose the right company? In this post, we’ll walk through all of these questions and more, so be sure to keep reading.

What is Home Care?

Home Care is when a licensed professional is hired to come to a residence and provide assistance to an aging loved one. There are a number of different services that are offered as home care from light cleaning, to ensuring the proper medication is taken and in the right dosages.

Home care is an affordable alternative to moving your elderly parents into a retirement home or senior care facility. It allows them to maintain their independence and live in an environment where they feel comfortable, while also ensuring that their safety, health, and quality of life are maintained.

How Do I know It’s the Right Time to Hire These Services

There is no easy answer to this question. But, if you are starting to worry about your elderly parent or parents living on their own, this is a good indication that a home care service could be beneficial. If you’ve had thoughts about moving your loved one to an assisted living facility but also had doubts about whether that is the right option at this time, home care services could be a good intermediary.

If you or another family member is currently providing this level of care, are there signs of burnout manifesting? Is your care for your loved one affecting other relationships or responsibilities? Is it causing you an undue amount of stress which makes providing care yourself unsustainable? Your health is important too. Hiring home care service providers can help to alleviate some of your burden while still allowing you to help provide care.

What Types of Services Do We have to Choose From?

Different companies will offer different services. For example, some companies specialize in helping around the house with cleaning, laundry, and checking to make sure that the living environment is safe (free of tripping hazards, etc.). Other companies will offer medically trained staff that can assist with medication, and provide additional medical care to treat sores, manage certain health conditions etc.

How Do I Choose the Right Home Care Company?

This is a great question. There are a few simple steps that you can take to make sure that you hire the right company for the right services.

Perform an Audit

Take some time to think about your elderly loved one. Ask yourself what tasks can they independently perform? What can they no longer do on their own? Are there tasks which stress them out? For the tasks that they cannot perform, the service options become clear. Thinking about what tasks they’d rather not have to do on their own offers unique insight into what additional services you might want to consider.

Once you have an idea of which tasks to consider, it’s healthy and beneficial to have an open conversation with your loved one. Talking through their day to day might uncover things you didn’t quite see before. It can also help break down barriers or opposition that they might have to bringing in outside help.

Since companies are often broken down by the types of services they offer, performing this audit can help you narrow it down to a few local options.

Look at Reviews

In this digital age, you can find more information online than ever before. Do some searching in your area for companies that offer the services which meet your needs. Then Google their names and read the reviews to determine which ones rise above the others. If you have neighbors, friends, or colleagues with elderly parents or loved ones, talk to them to see if they have heard anything about these companies, or hired them themselves.

In doing this step, you might uncover some less reputable options, or find a few that offer great quality at an affordable price. It just takes a bit of digging or in this case, searching.

This step is an easy way to form a short list of companies to call and interview, which is our next step.

What Are Some Important Questions to Ask?

Now that you have two or three companies on your short list, it’s time to pick up the phone or stop in for a visit. By engaging with the company directly, you can get a feel for the level of service their staff provides, and whether they’ll be a good match for the personality of your elderly parent(s).

  • Basics:
    • How long have you been in business? How many employees do you maintain?
    • Are you insured? Do you provide worker’s compensation for employees (ask to see documentation). Are your employees bonded?
    • Might I see a few references from previous clients?
    • What does your hiring process entail? Do you conduct background checks, and drug tests?
    • Do you offer job training, certification, or ongoing training for your employees?
    • Are we able to interview potential caregivers and make our own selection?
  • Services and Care:
    • Do you customize services offerings? Or do you offer customize care plans for clients?
    • Do you offer evaluations to update and adjust the plan of care for clients?
    • What is your policy for communication with family members? How do you handle emergencies or after-hours phone calls?
    • How do you handle complaints made, or requests for new caregivers?
    • Do you have a policy for the min or max number of shifts an employee may work?