“Whatever happens to me, I don’t want to end up in a nursing home!” Sound familiar? Almost all express that wish, fearing becoming dependent on others. However, reconciling one’s wishes with the reality of their needs can pose challenges and feelings of guilt for even the most devoted family caregiver. You want to do everything you can for your loved one, but it’s likely you will eventually need some type of outside help.
In-Home Care may be an important part of the solution. Many agencies offer free, no-obligation consultations to determine if this is the right option.
What is In-Home Care and What Value Can It Bring to Families? In-Home Care may allow loved ones to remain in the comfort of familiar surroundings while maintaining a level of independence. Services may include assistance-with-daily-living tasks such as preparing meals, bathing/grooming, housekeeping, laundry, transportation to appointments, medication reminders, incontinence care, and social engagement. Professional caregivers with specialized training provide personalized one-on-one care, customized to your loved one’s individual needs.
In-Home Care may provide significant value by:
- Alleviating caregiving tasks, saving family caregivers time, allowing them to stay focused at work and miss fewer work days.
- Reducing stress for the family caregiver — a much-needed break has a profound impact on a family caregiver’s physical and emotional health.
- Addressing the individual needs of your loved one. Care can be customized from as little as three hours per visit to everyday assistance.
- Reducing fall risk. Falls are the #1 cause of ER visits for seniors 65+ and are twice as likely at home than anywhere else. Caregivers prevent accidents by addressing home safety concerns and by handling household tasks which may cause falls, such as carrying laundry.
- Providing social engagement. Perhaps the most important aspects of In-Home Care are companionship, mental stimulation, and supervision, which bring peace of mind to family members, whether they live nearby or miles away.
- Keeping loved ones healthy. In-Home Care can ensure medication regimens are followed, reducing risk of med errors; help seniors by preparing nutritious meals to maintain a healthy, balanced diet; and encouraging physical activity or therapy exercises.
- Providing protective oversight. Professional caregivers can recognize and alert family members to signs of changing behavior or declining health.
How to Choose a Professional Home Care Agency? Follow these 10 Important Steps:
- Ask if the agency is licensed in your state with the applicable governmental agency.
- Ask how long the agency has been in business. It is best to choose an agency that has been in business in your community for at least ten years.
- Ask if the agency requires all caregivers to pass an extensive multi-year background check and drug screening before they’re hired.
- Ask if their caregivers are bonded. Some agencies say they’re bonded and insured when only the business is bonded.
- Ask if the agency directly employs its caregivers. If not, you or your loved one may be assuming substantial risk (workers comp, taxes, unemployment claims, property theft/damage) if this is not the case. Always require the agency to produce a current certificate of worker’s compensation insurance and a crime/theft policy.
- Review internet testimonials and reviews. There should be recent favorable reviews by both clients and caregivers.
- If possible, make a personal visit to the agency’s office. Does the office appear to be a vital place of business?
- Ask about the agency’s procedure for interviewing and hiring. How thorough is it?
- Ask about the agency’s protocol for supervising their employees while with your loved one. Who manages the case? What are his/her credentials? How frequently do they visit?
- Consider how professionally the agency dealt with you. If an agency quotes a price for services before understanding your specific needs—be cautious! Be sure paperwork is thoroughly explained and get costs provided in writing before services are initiated.
What is the Cost of In-Home Care?
For high-quality, well-supervised, and properly insured professional caregivers, you may be expected to pay a minimum of $24.00 to $27.00 per hour for shift work.
About the Author
Curt Foust is the owner of a Home Instead Senior Care franchise in North Denver. He is also a leader in senior issues in his community, including being a member of the Jefferson County Council on Aging and being on the Leadership Committee of TRIAD. Both organizations meet regularly to address issues important to seniors in the community. Home Instead is a nationally recognized leader in home care services, resources, and advocacy for senior issues, including Advanced Alzheimer’s training. The Denver North location has been providing compassionate, professional in-home care services and resources to seniors and their families for over 18 years. www.HomeInstead.com/DenverNorth.