What to Consider When Considering Home CarePosted by in Aging | Caregivers | Health | Home Health Care | Long Term Care Insurance | Medicare
It is a big decision to have someone come into your home and assist you with either personal care like bathing and dressing as well as household help with cooking, shopping, driving and so forth. Whether for short term or long term care, there are some basic things to consider. Boca Home Care Services presents some easy to follow recommendations to help optimize your positive experience with in-home care.
Tens of millions of Americans spend some time caring for a loved one; spouse, adult child, elderly parent, other family member or friend. This is often in addition to holding down a job and caring for younger children. Hiring additional help, such as a caregiver is a great way to lessen your stress, free up more time, use time with a loved one for things other than personal care or running errands and can enable them to remain independent in their own home for longer.
Here in South Florida where many folks retired in their sixties and are now in their eighties, they find themselves far from their adult children who are out of state. Therefore, when a parent is ill, recuperating from a fall or fracture or has Dementia, it is an usually the eighty plus year old spouse who is the primary caregiver.
* The first thing to do is take a look at your needs and those of the person you are caring for. By assessing these needs, you can discern what kind of care is needed, type of schedule and frequency. Is the need for personal/hands on care? Routine household chores and transportation? Or Both? Remember, you don’t have to do this in a vacuum. It is best to include other family members (siblings) and most certainly the person requiring assistance.
* It is confusing to consider financial, health, medical, residential,or legal matters for oneself let alone another person. Since there are several different areas of expertise to consider it is wise to consults experts/professional when putting together a Care Plan. A good place to begin exploring resources is with a Geriatric Care Manager or a trusted Elder Care professional – your parent’s primary physician. You may be doing two plans at once – one for the immediate situation or crisis and then a longer term plan. Other Elder Care resources to consider are your local Area on Aging, Jewish Family Services, other religious based community services agency, your Employment Assistance Program (EAP) or in South Florida, Boca Home Care Services.
* Often Home Care is selected as the best solution to meet a myriad of care and safety needs. A caregiver; CNA – Certified Nurse Assistant or HHA – Home Health Aide is a certified person who will assist with personal/hands on care such as bathing, dressing, or toileting as well as do the routine household tasks such as; cooking, shopping, laundry, straightening up, driving to appointments, medication prompts, comapanionship and respite care for the primary caregiver. In Florida, an aide/caregiver can do both personal and household activities. There are private hires and going through companies.
* When choosing a caregiver you should already have assessed the needs, financial realities of costs, verified the Long Term Care insurance to see what the daily benefit is as well as any “Elimination Periods”. If you are hiring someone privately - check their certification, insurance, references, do a background check and know in advance what the back plan is if that person cannot show up for either a shift or longer – who will then fill in? Remember, when hiring privately, you are by law responsible for paying the social security, other taxes (Nannygate?) and workmen’s compensation in case of injury.
When you hire a caregiver through a Home Care company – make sure they are licensed. Ask for references, what their screening process is, how long have they been in business, what level of staff do they have overseeing client care, the certification or training of the caregivers, supervision of the caregivers and care in the home. A licensed company will have done the background checks, ought to do an in-home consultation, will deal with the insurance and be responsible for paying the caregiver, who may either be an employee or independent contractor.
Problems can arise, ask how they are handled. If theft or slacking off duties is suspected, what procedures or mechanisms does the company have in place? Get a feel for how open and transparent the company you are hiring is. Always address an issue when it arises, waiting doesn’t really have any value.
* Let the company and caregiver know of unique circumstances of your loved one. Advise of special diets, treatments, medications, pets, whether the client is a smoker, all allergies, special and regular routines or habits, doctor appointments, individual safety concerns and anything else which pertains specifically to your loved one. Remember, you are hiring an experienced and (hopefully) certified person to care for your family member but they won’t come in knowing all the details to provide the best care for your parent’s unique needs. Leave them your contact numbers, other family member’s contact info, hospital of choice, doctor numbers and driving instructions if your loved one is unable to do that. Keep the caregiver and Home Care company up to date of all changes.
* Stay involved. You ought to have the caregiver’s cell number and be able to speak to them regularly to “check in”. Ask your mother or father how they like the caregiver and if their needs are being met to their liking? When speaking or visiting family members listen or watch for changes in their tone, mood, condition, appearance or behaviors. Aging is a work in progress and some subtle changes can be precursors to other conditions. The sooner they are noticed and checked out by the doctor, the sooner treatment or changes in treatment can be administered. You may hire a Geriatric Care Manager to oversee things if you live out of state. Certainly if you hire privately you will need to monitor much more closely, at least at the beginning of care.
There are so many things to consider and choose from. The Internet is an awesome tool for finding information and resources. Start locally. Speak to several companies when considering Home Care. You need to “click” with them to some extent and certainly feel confident in their ability and attitude towards caring for your parent or other family loved one.
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