Your elderly father still lives alone in the house you grew up in. Dad’s health hasn’t been the greatest lately, so you’ve been trying to help him out when you have time. But with your own job and household to manage, burning the candle at both ends is starting to wear you down. After considering your options, you’ve decided that it might be best to hire dad a professional home caregiver.
But where do you start? Finding the right professional home caregiver for an aging loved one can be challenging. Taking these steps should help simplify your search.
Assess Your Loved One’s Needs
You’ll need to sit down and compile a list of your loved one’s daily and weekly caregiving needs. Here are some points to consider:
- Mobility – How ambulatory are they? Do they need assistance negotiating stairs or getting up and down?
- Mental state – Do they have any type of cognitive impairment, like dementia or Alzheimer’s, that places them at risk in the home?
- Transportation – Can they still safely operate a motor vehicle? During a typical week, where all does your loved one need to go?
- Specific duties – What activities of daily living do they need assistance with? Those might include bathing, toileting, cooking, housework, dressing, exercising, medication management and food shopping.
- Physical limitations – Do they have any other physical limitations, like a swallowing impairment, vision or hearing loss, or incontinence?
- Personality – Is your loved one stubborn and short-tempered, or are they easy going and personable? Finding a professional caregiver with personality traits that compliment your senior’s is important.
- Language barriers – Is your loved one’s primary language something other than English? Do they suffer from aphasia due to a stroke or other medical condition that makes communicating difficult?
- Insurance – Medicare and Medicaid typically don’t cover home care services, but some long-term care and life insurance policies do. Find out if your loved one has a LTC insurance policy that will help cover the costs.
Once your “laundry list” is ready, it’s time to explore your caregiver options.
Screen Potential Caregivers
Caregiver qualities you should look for include experience, trustworthiness and compassion. You can use a home health registry to search for a private independent caregiver, or work with a licensed home care agency instead. Here are some ways to get started:
- Discuss the situation first with your loved one and immediate family members.
- Get word-of-mouth referrals from trusted sources like friends, family members or coworkers.
- Seek referrals from medical professionals who are familiar with your loved one’s health condition, including doctors, discharge planners, nurses and social workers.
- Look online for professional home caregivers in your area and read their client reviews.
- Post a want ad on Craig’s List, LinkedIn or Facebook.
- Check with your local area Agency on Aging.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a handful of candidates, you’ll then need to personally interview each one. Make sure to ask them about:
- Experience and training
- Client references
- Holding a valid driver’s license
- Backup plan if they can’t make it
- Availability, including when there’s an emergency
- Their fees
As the process moves along, you should also conduct criminal and driving background checks on the candidates through municipal and federal data bases. There are also online companies that will provide you with a caregiver’s background information for a fee.
Why Choose a Licensed Home Care Agency?
Licensed home care and home healthcare agencies have already done most of the groundwork for you, and their reputations are also known within the medical community. Most state-licensed agencies offer flexible hours, screen their caregivers thoroughly, provide ongoing staff training, have backup caregivers when needed, are insured for your protection, and are further equipped to handle special care considerations like emergencies, skilled care and dementia.
We Provide Family Trusted Home Care for Seniors
Finding a professional home caregiver for an aging loved one can feel overwhelming. At Caring Professionals, we are a fully licensed and insured agency that carefully screens all our caregivers in advance so that they can keep your senior aging safely and comfortably in place right where they want to be. Our experienced aides are highly trained to perform in-home services including light housework, personal hygiene, meals, medication reminders, transportation and companionship.
And, all our family trusted home care services can be individually combined into an affordable package to accommodate any budget! To learn more about Caring Professionals, or to schedule a FREE, in-home assessment for a senior loved one today, please call or visit us online.