When your aging parent or another loved one needs more help than you can provide for them by yourself, it’s time to bring in some outside care. Choosing the right caregiving company for your loved one is a big decision and, often, an emotionally fraught one. Trusting someone else with your loved one’s health and well-being is a difficult step. But high-quality care can make a big positive difference in your parent or relative’s quality of life, so don’t put off making the decision. Here’s what you need to consider while searching for the best care for your loved one.
Consider What Kind of Care Your Loved One Needs
Different people need different levels of care. Before you start researching caregiving companies, think carefully about what your loved one actually needs. For instance, do they need hands-on assistance with the daily tasks of living, such as bathing and cooking meals? Or does your loved one simply need a few hours of companionship and housekeeping help every day?
In general, moving your loved one into a special care facility should be a last resort. Special care facilities can offer excellent, compassionate care, and in cases when a person truly needs round-the-clock attention, they can be the best option for everyone. But if your loved one does not need constant supervision or medical attention, then it’s likely better for them to stay in their own home and receive care there. This allows your parent or relative to retain as much independence as possible for as long as possible — a major factor in quality of life for seniors.
A good home caregiving company should be able and willing to personalize home care for your loved one in whatever ways they need. Besides that, if your loved one needs an increasing amount of help with day-to-day tasks as time goes on, the company you choose should be happy to adapt as necessary. Write a list of all the things your loved one needs help with, from minor issues to major ones, and save it. Refer to it as you research caregiving companies and interview potential caregivers. This will help you be sure that the service you choose is a good fit for your loved one.
Consider Each Company’s Licensing and Training
One of the first questions you should ask any caregiving company is whether they are licensed by the state. Steer clear of unlicensed agencies. There’s no guarantee that an unlicensed company observes regulations or trains their caregivers to a high standard.
If the company is licensed, follow up by asking how they screen and train their caregivers. Find out whether the company requires caregivers to have a particular level of education, and ask what their training process is like. A reputable company will be happy to explain how they hire and train caregivers. If an agency isn’t forthcoming about their training processes and their caregivers’ qualifications, they probably aren’t the right company to entrust with your loved one’s well-being.
Request References from Current Clients
So you’ve narrowed down your list of caregiving companies to just a few contenders. Great! Now refine the list further by asking each company to provide some references. Any legitimate home care agency will be happy to give you the contact information of some current or former clients.
Don’t be shy about actually getting in touch with these references. They could be your best source of information on the companies you’re considering. Ask what their experience with the caregiving company was like, how good a job the caregivers did, and how much their loved one benefited from the care. This will give you a much better picture of whether a particular company is a good fit for your own loved one.
Compare Your Budget with the Costs of Care
It’s an unfortunate fact that home care can be expensive. And much of the time, insurance does not pay for this type of care, leaving your loved one — or you — with the task of coming up with the money. Coming up with a budget for caregiving might not be much fun for anyone, but it’s essential. And the sooner you know what your budget is, the sooner you’ll be able to find a company you can afford.
If home care looks like it will be prohibitively expensive for your family, consider how much care your loved one really needs. Even a few hours a week can make a big difference. Most caregiving companies are happy to provide part-time care.
Don’t forget to consider the value that home caregiving provides for you. If you are making decisions about care for an aging loved one, there’s a good chance that you yourself have been providing a lot of help for them up until now. Taking care of a family member is an intense and often draining job, even if your loved one currently doesn’t need a great deal of help. Hiring an outside caregiver can take some of the burden of care off your shoulders, giving you more time and energy to keep up with other demands such as your job or kids.
Interview Potential Caregivers Before Making Your Decision
After you find a company you like, ask to interview a few caregivers before you make your final decision. Individual fit really matters. Finding a caregiver who’s a good match for your loved one will help to ensure that your parent or relative has a positive, enriching experience with home care.
Finding the right caregiving company for an aging loved one can be a big task. That’s a good thing — it means that you’re considering all the options and prioritizing your loved one’s specific needs. By doing plenty of research on the home care agencies in your area and asking the right questions once you’re ready to hire a caregiver, you’ll be able to enjoy the peace of mind of knowing your loved one is receiving the best care possible.