10 Tips – How to Find the Best Elder Home Care Services
As an adult child, friend or relative of an aging adult you may be looking into elder home care. Here are ten quick tips to aide you in your search:
1. There are many home care agencies out there. They differ in their ownership structures (Franchise vs. Corporate vs. Private), licensing (differs by state), services and pricing. It is important to find the type of agency that is a good fit for your loved one.
2. Search online for reviews of agencies you are considering. Check out their website, does it look professional and provide up to date information? Do you have any word-of-mouth referrals?
3. Call the agencies you are considering and gather some initial info. Consider the following: Do they answer the phone or return your call timely? Is the representative professional and friendly? Do they ask good questions to help get to know your loved one’s needs to match them with an appropriate caregiver?
4. The type of caregiver assigned to your loved one may vary depending on his or her needs (care level). You will want to be informed as to the credentials the caregiver holds. These can vary by state but usually are governed by the Board of Nursing or Health Department.
5. Some agencies use Independent contractors instead of Employees. Why this is important is because of the insurance and tax liabilities. Be sure to ask if the agency Employs, background checks, and insures its caregivers.
6. Pricing will vary based on the needs (care level ), amount of hours and potentially time of day, geographic location, as well as other factors. Be sure to call around and get a feel for the average pricing in your area. You will not want to choose based on price alone, but you do want to know that you are not overpaying for what you receive. You will also want to know if pricing is all-inclusive, or if there are any add-on charges.
7. In most states, licensed agencies are required to maintain a 24-hour emergency call line. Be sure to ask how to get ahold of the agency’s management in an off-hours emergency situation.
8. You might be considering 24-hour care for your loved one. If so, consider an agency that provides live-in caregivers. By being charged on a live-in basis, and not hourly, this can be a substantial money saver for you. It also provides added peace of mind that someone is consistently there around the clock for your loved one.
9. Ask for referrals from friends, neighbors, anyone who you know that has used this type of service in the past. If you don’t know anyone, consider calling the local Area Agency on Aging, Social Services Office, or even nursing homes for recommendations.
10. Expect and insist upon personal interviews with the potential caregivers that the agency would place with your loved one. You and your loved one may like the agency’s administrative personnel and they may give all the right answers, however the caregiver is who will be spending day in and day out with your loved one and you must be comfortable with them.
About the Author: Pam Reynolds, CMC is the President and co-owner of Allegiance Aging Care Services. Pam has spent almost fifteen years working in senior care including long term care facilities and home health care. Her higher education is in Social Work, and she has been credentialed as both a certified Geriatric Care Manager and Licensed Assisted Living Administrator. Read more about Pam and her team of Aging Care Professionals here.