Aging brings with it many new challenges and choices, both for families and their elderly loved ones. Keeping the senior members of the family at home has many great benefits—your family can spend time together, older loved ones don’t get as lonely, and you’ll be sure to share special moments each and every day. But what happens if your loved one can’t stay at home alone safely anymore?
Sometimes, aging causes mobility issues, and your elderly family member might not be able to make lunch or go to the bathroom alone anymore. Memory may become an issue too: “Did I take my medicine this morning?” can be a scary question that no one wants to hear. What happens if your loved one slips and falls or gets hurt when you’re not home?
Thankfully, for families who want to keep their older loved ones in the home but can’t be there to watch over them throughout the day, home care services are a great option. Home care services assist seniors with their daily living tasks, like making lunch, using the restroom, and taking medicine. Home care is a wonderful way to ensure that your loved one can do all the activities he or she loves without worry—a care provider will always be there to help.
Maybe you’ve already looked at a few home care providers, like A Hand to Hold. But how do you know if you’re choosing the best service for your loved one? Lots of factors are important to consider—after all, you want your family member to be in the best hands possible. The National Association for Home Care suggests a few steps you can take to make sure that you’re getting the best of the best when it comes to what’s most important to you—your family.
Check Up on Employees’ Qualifications
Will your loved one be cared for by nurses or therapists? If not, do the caregivers have to pass any sort of screening exam? Do they have prior experience in this line of work? Check into the company’s protocols for what happens in an emergency and whether they’ve trained their employees on what to do in any and every circumstance. You want caregivers who’ve seen it all and handled it with ease—people who not only save the day when they have to, but keep it from needing saving in the first place.
Find Out Who Is Involved in the Plan
Does the caregiver get to call all the shots? Look for a home care service that will collaborate with both you and your loved one, and your family physicians to develop the best possible plan. As family members, you know better than anyone else what sort of temperament, difficulties, and needs a home care plan will have to address, and good caregivers will listen and learn from you before setting a plan into motion.
Family physicians are also a great source of information and strategies that your prospective caregivers should be willing to consult with. Your loved one’s doctor can tell the home care provider about any medication issues and side effects, any risks to be aware of, and any preexisting conditions that need to be factored into an ideal plan for your family member. If your prospective provider isn’t willing or doesn’t have the time to chat with the family physician and you, you haven’t found a winner yet.
Check In on the Quality Checkers
Home care services shouldn’t be the only ones doing check-ins—you need to, too. Is the caregiver accountable to anyone? Are supervisors present to assess how well your loved one is doing on a care plan? If there are problems, what happens? Who can you call if you have questions or concerns? Since your loved one will be in the care of a provider rather than you, a responsible and trustworthy supervisor looking out for your loved one’s best interests is a must-have. Good home care associations have complex multi-level check systems to ensure that the care your family member is receiving is top-notch, and adheres to the plan you made with your physician and your loved one.
You can do all your best research and check into every nook and cranny of an organization, but there’s really no substitute for good words from others who have worked with a home care service. Have friends or neighbors used the service you’re considering, and, if so, would they recommend it? Do local nursing homes and assisted living facilities know the home care service? Have they worked with them before? Can they recommend anyone else?
You can also check with the BBB and online directories, where people can remain anonymous when filing complaints. If a home care service has negative or ambivalent reviews, you might consider thinking of a different provider or asking your prospect how the issues raised in the review are being handled. Transparency in a caregiver organization is vital, because the relationship between your loved one and his or her provider must be based on trust.
These are some guidelines to help you start thinking about which home care service is best for your loved one. These providers offer your family member the chance to live a free, independent life safe from harm and supported in every way necessary for him or her to thrive. With the help of a reliable home care service, your loved one’s happy, healthy presence in your home will continue for years to come.