When it comes to senior care for a parent, there are a myriad of options in the marketplace. One of the most convenient options is in-home care. But with so many different services in the area, how do you and your aging parent select the appropriate option?
What is In-Home Care?
Baby boomers are retiring in droves – roughly 10,000 of them every single day! And while the rates of dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other debilitating mental and physical diseases are on the rise, the majority of boomers have made it clear that they want to stay in their homes as long as they can and enjoy retirement on their terms. In the senior care industry, this is called aging in place.
Aging in place – as opposed to entering an assisted living facility or nursing home – is often a great choice. However, it doesn’t mean these individuals are always living on their own. In cases where there are significant health needs, an in-home care service is the best solution.
Home care services are essentially professional services that come in and meet the basic care needs of elderly individuals in their own home environment. Some home services are around the clock – featuring a rotating group of professional caregivers – while others simply offer care for a few hours each day to help with tasks like bathing, dressing, and taking meds.
How to Choose the Right Service
If your aging parent lives in a large urban area or suburban community, there are probably a dozen or more in-home care services to choose from. Even in smaller towns, there are typically two or three choices.
Here’s how you and your parent can select the best option:
- Types of Service
The term “in-home care” is a pretty generic one. Depending on how much assistance your parent needs, you’ll want to drill down and focus on a specific type of in-home care service.
For example, there are home health agencies, hospice services, homemaker and home care aide (HCA) agencies, and private services that offer any number of customized offerings.
- Cost and Pricing Structure
“Not all in-home care providers operate in the same manner, which is why it is highly advisable to research comprehensive service plans and pricing structures before settling on a decision that is right for the senior you require care for each day,” InHomeCare.com advises.
Some pricing structures are paid in arrears each month based on the types of services that were administered, while others operate on fixed monthly or annual contract rates. Some offer all-inclusive services, while others require you to pay for each type of service you use. Depending on your parent’s needs, one pricing structure might make more sense than another.
- Caregiver Training
“There’s nothing wrong with being picky about who you allow to provide care for an elderly loved one,” Family Caregiver Alliance assures people. “Be sure to ask agencies if they background check their caregivers and if so, what methods they use. If you feel uncomfortable about a home care agency’s procedure for screening caregivers, it may be best to trust your gut and use a different provider.”
Much like choosing a daycare for a child or a school for a student, you’re well within your rights to ask about certification and training to ensure you’re getting the best possible care.
In addition to asking about training, you can also request references. This is especially important when working with a private service or agency that uses individual contractors. You want to be sure they have the experience and caregiving abilities that your parent needs to thrive.
- Supervision Process
Finally, what sort of supervision process is there for the individuals that will be in your parent’s home? In other words, who does the caregiver report to? Is there a system in place to hold them accountable and identify signs of abuse and neglect? In today’s industry, there’s no such thing as being too careful.
Making a Wise Decision
Navigating the senior care industry can be challenging – but it doesn’t have to be! By doing your research and thinking ahead, you can select the right in-home care service to meet your aging parent’s physical and emotional health needs. Best of luck!