The time has come when you and your elderly parent realize that – while they want to stay in their own home – they can no longer manage their daily life on their own. Most adult children want to respect their parent’s wish to age in place, but at the same time have concerns about their well-being and safety. This is where home care can be beneficial for everyone involved.
Whether it is being concerned about a parent’s ability to maneuver safely around the house, their physical and mental health, or their financial security, adult children usually have legitimate reservations about their aging parent’s ability to live alone. However, many of these worries can be put to rest by hiring the services of an in-home care agency. The advantages of in-home care are numerous such as:
- Affordable care – Since there are no room and board costs compared to nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and other institutional care settings, in-home care is an affordable solution.
- Customized services – Unlike nursing homes, home care agencies offer individualized services that are tailored to the client’s health care needs and finances.
- Enhanced well-being – Home care allows your loved one to remain in their home which enhances their mental health and over well-being. They also heal and recover faster after any needed surgeries or procedures, when allowed to rest in their own home.
- Integration with family care – A good home care service respects, reinforces, and supplements care from the client’s family and friends.
After deciding that in-home care is the best option for your parent, choosing the right in-home care agency is the next big decision. It’s important to be aware of what to look for in an agency, so you make sure you are getting the highest possible level of care for your loved one.
What to Look for in a Home Care Agency
In this digital age, many look on the internet to find a home care agency. However, the first business to show up in Google search results is not necessarily the best. And while a website may list multiple services at seemingly affordable prices, there may be hidden costs or conditions. Therefore, it’s still important to do your research and due diligence about any agency you consider. Here are a few important steps to take when shortlisting home care agencies for consideration:
1. Do Your Research – After knowing what specific kind of care your parent needs, you can try entering keywords such as “in-home care”, “memory care”, “nursing care” or “personal care” in your parent’s area and see what agencies come up. When visiting a website, look for length of time the agency has been in business, client testimonials and awards. Check their online presence and reputation by visiting 3rd party review sites such as Yelp or Google, or the Better Business Bureau.
2. Find Out if They are Local and Privately Owned – It’s an added advantage when an agency is locally owned by a well-established owner with a presence in the community, who can provide personalized care and access to local resources.
3. Get Recommendations – Word of mouth is still the best form of marketing, so ask around! You may have friends or colleagues who have obtained in-home care for their parent that you could ask for recommendations.
4. Shortlist and Interview – Once you have a list of 3 – 5 home care agencies, have a list of questions ready to ask them such as:
- Do you perform background checks on your providers, check their credentials and test them for drugs?
- Are your caregivers experienced?
- How do you train caregivers?
- How will you decide if the caregiver is a good fit for my loved one?
- Will my parent have just one caregiver, or will there be different people?
- Who will supervise the caregiver?
5. Ask for References – Once you have 1 or 2 agencies that you feel confident about, feel free to ask for client references. When speaking with the child of someone being cared for, you could ask them to share their own as well as their parent’s experience, since both are important.
6. Request Pricing and Clarity on Services – If you decide on a home care agency, make sure to get the pricing and services covered clear. Make sure you are aware of any additional fees or exceptions (eg: care during holidays) so you don’t have any financial surprises.
7. Meet the Caregiver – As a final step, make sure you and your parent are comfortable with the assigned caregiver. Your parent may be spending the majority of the day with their caregiver, so it’s important that they have a good rapport. Look for their ability to connect with you and your parent, and for softer skills such as kindness, empathy, a sense of humor, and confidence.
In summary, finding the right home care agency is a big step, so it’s important to make the effort to do some solid research. While there is time and effort involved in finding the right agency and companion that your loved one deserves, you’ll thank yourself for the peace of mind your family will experience, for years to come.