Your aging parent has finally reached the point where they need some in-home care, and you’ve tried to step in and provide the nurturing assistance they need. Unfortunately, with everything else on your plate it’s starting to physically and emotionally wear you down.
At this time you’re considering a professional caregiver for your mom or dad, but even the process of finding a safe and trusted one can be stressful. Your options include hiring a paid private caregiver, or employing the services of a home care or home health agency. That said, using these steps to find a reliable, professional caregiver will facilitate a more seamless and stress-free process.
Assess Your Aging Parent’s Needs
You understand your aging parent’s personality better than anyone else. Are they fun-loving and joyful? Or, can they be cranky and stubborn? Matching up those personality traits with a caregiver who will bond with your parent is important. For example, you may need to find a caregiver that will stand their ground if your mom or dad is a bit short-tempered. That’s just one care assessment criteria to consider. Here are some others:
- How much weekly care is required? Is a caregiver needed daily or only 2 to 3 times per week?
- What duties do they need to assist with? Think about activities like cooking, cleaning, bathing, toileting, getting dressed, driving to appointments, therapy, medication reminders or just simply providing companionship.
- What is your parent’s mental state? Do they suffer from Alzheimer’s and/or dementia?
- How ambulatory is your mom or dad? Are they recovering from surgery, a fall or an illness that limits their mobility?
Based upon answers to these questions determine how often caregiving will be needed, along with the level of care required. With those in mind, now it’s time to look for potential caregivers.
Search for Professional Caregivers in Your Area
You’ve determined your aging parent’s initial in-home care needs, and now it’s time to compile a list of potential caregivers. Here are a few ways to initiate your search:
- Ask for referrals from doctors, nurses, social workers & discharge planners that are familiar with your mom or dad’s state of health.
- Search online for home health agencies and professional caregivers in your area. Read their client reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook and other sites.
- Seek word-of-mouth recommendations from friends, neighbors, or co-workers.
- Check with your local Area Agency on Aging.
- Post a want ad on social media or online.
- Hold a family meeting to share what you’ve learned.
If you are considering a private caregiver, it is imperative that you personally interview that candidate. Find out about their experience, training, references, insurance, availability (including for emergencies), if they have a valid driver’s license and what their fees are. As the interview process moves forward, conduct driving and criminal background checks on them using available municipal and federal databases. You can also run an online background check by paying companies on the Web that compile that information.
Advantages of Hiring a Professional Home Care Agency Caregiver
There are numerous home care and home health agencies out there that have already conducted the screening steps mentioned above while staffing their companies. Medical providers and social workers in your area know the reputations of these in-home care services and can share that information. Here are some other advantages to using a professional homecare agency:
- They’ve already interviewed, screened and run background checks on their employees.
- The supervisors know the individual personalities of their staff and will match the right caregiver with your parent’s personality type and specific care requirements.
- Agencies provide all varieties of in-home care including part-time, full-time, daily, respite, and emergency.
- They can handle most all care level responsibilities as well, from companionship to skilled nursing care, when needed.
- Many home care providers, including First In Care Home Health, provide ongoing training to their caregivers
- If your mom or dad has a long-term care (LTC) insurance policy they may be able to use their benefits to pay for a home care agency’s services.
Even if you decide to go the route of hiring through a home health agency, still make it a point to personally interview the professional caregiver that will be assisting your aging parent.
For more information on how to find a reputable professional in-home caregiver in your area, or if you have questions about the search process itself, visit www.firstincare.com or call (941) 746-8400.