Before You Hire a Home Care Company: A Helpful Guide
It is difficult to watch your elderly parent, friend, or other family member age. Chances are, you remember this person when he or she was in the prime of life. You remember when your loved one could move with speed, confidence, and grace.
You remember when your Dad was the life of the party and could entertain a crowd with stories and jokes. You may think back to a time when your Mom patiently assisted you with sewing projects or taught you to swim. Now that same parent may struggle to put on a shirt in the morning or have a difficult time emptying the dishwasher.
As you face the decision on whether or not to hire outside help for your family member, you may consider these suggestions.
You Are Not Failing Your Parent
If you have an aging and ailing parent, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of care he or she requires. While you may want to provide your parent with all the care he or she needs, you have other obligations in your life.
You may have a spouse who needs and deserves your time and attention. Perhaps you still have children living in your home. Chances are, you have a job that you need to perform to earn income.
There are not enough hours in the day to be everything to everybody. You are not failing your parent if you reach out for help. You are doing what is necessary.
You Can Hire Help at a Variety of Levels
Maybe in the past, your loved one has been sent home from the hospital after an extended stay or surgery and has received home health visits from medical professionals for a few weeks following the hospitalization.
These professionals are usually registered nurses, physical therapists, or occupational therapists whose entire purpose is to check on the health of the patient as he or she transitions to normal life at home. This care is not usually from a home health agency.
While you are able to hire medical professionals through a home health agency, you can also hire people to help your senior citizen with daily tasks. Perhaps your aging loved one does have medical needs that need to be attended to by a medical professional, but maybe your aging parent just needs help getting dressed in the morning.
Perhaps he or she needs help showering or shaving. Maybe you would like to hire someone not only to provide personal care but to also do a little light cleaning in the house. Talk with your home care agency representative about your needs, and he or she will recommend a person who is perfect for the job.
Your Loved One Might be Surprisingly Happy You’re Hiring Extra Help
Many people put off hiring help for their loved ones because they think their parents may be unhappy with the decision. Often, aging people express relief in receiving extra assistance. Maybe your parent would rather have a stranger help him or her in the shower rather than you.
Perhaps your parent will be happier asking for help from a paid employee rather than asking for help, once again, from their child. Think about how you would feel in the same situation. No one wants to be considered a burden on their family members. If you could relieve some of the stress for your own children, wouldn’t you be happy to do that?
Home Health Agencies Require Background Checks On Employees
Another reason you may have put off contacting a home care company is that you are concerned about the idea of having a stranger in your loved one’s home. While this is a common concern, most of the time, this concern is not warranted. Talk with your home agency representative to ask what kind of background checks are performed on their employees.
Ask how they check their employees’ credentials. Ask for references for the specific person assigned to your loved one’s home. Ask to interview the person ahead of time to make sure he or she will be a good fit.
Hiring a Home Care Agency is Affordable
While much press has been given on the rising cost of senior care, hiring help through a home care agency can be extremely affordable, and it could save money in the long run.
Perhaps your parent is walking out to the mailbox each day to retrieve the mail. What would be the consequences of him or her slipping on the ice or snow while outside? A broken hip? A lengthy hospitalization? A stay in a rehabilitation facility? Hiring a person whose duties could include getting the mail on snowy days could save money in the long term.
Maybe you drive across town each morning and evening to check on your aging parent. While you may enjoy this interaction each day, you may be able to save time and money by hiring someone to complete this duty for you half the time.
It may seem crass to mention money in an article regarding the care of your aging loved one, but most people have to consider costs when making decisions about the care of the elderly. In an ideal world, prices wouldn’t matter, but we do not live in a perfect world.
Insurance May Cover Home Care Costs
Speaking of money, you may be able to use long-term care insurance, health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid to help pay for long-term care.
Home Care Agencies Take Care of All Personnel Issues
While you could hire an individual to assist your aging family member, working through an agency offers quite a few benefits.
First, you know when you hire a person through an agency that background checks have been performed and credentials have been checked. When you are hiring a person off the street, it may be hard to verify that person’s background.
Next, home care agencies handle all payroll issues. Home care agency representatives can act as an intermediary if a conflict occurs between the staff and the client.
Home Care Workers Choose to Work With Senior Citizens
Has your loved one’s personality changed because of dementia? Frankly, maybe your senior family member is trying to be around now. Perhaps you are concerned about bringing a stranger into a situation where you don’t know how your family member will act.
Understand that people who work with senior citizens are used to this behavior. Just as there are professionals who choose to work with “difficult” children, there are people who want to spend their lives serving senior citizens.
As Your Parents Age, They’ll Need Help
We all have parents. Most of us will watch our parents age. This has been constant throughout time, and this pattern will continue for generations. Others have been through what you are going through. There’s no shame in getting help (respite care) to help take care of your parent or loved one.