Taking care of your aging loved one isn’t something you have to manage alone. Whether you’re caring for a parent, spouse, or other family member, it’s vital to provide them with the best possible care. If your loved one isn’t ready for full-time assistance (such as a nursing facility), home care may be the right fit for you.
Home care workers assist elderly and homebound individuals with daily living activities such as eating, grooming, bathing, dressing, and moving around the house. They may also provide limited medical care by checking vitals and administering medication.
These services allow your aging family member to enjoy the comfort of home without neglecting their needs. If you’re looking for quality home care professionals, the following are ten tips to help you find the right fit for your family.
1. Search for home care companies in your area.
The first step is finding out what’s available in your area. You can click on the “Home Care” tab of this website to search for qualified companies in this area. We provide the website and contact information for home care services across the country.
You may also want to ask friends and family about the home care companies they’ve used for their loved ones’ care. Their recommendations and the results of your online search can give you a list of home care service options.
2. Read about each company’s history and values.
Most home care companies will have plenty of information for you to read online. Find out about how long they’ve been providing home health services. While long-standing businesses aren’t automatically better, their track record with families in your community go a long way to prove their trustworthiness.
You should also read about the company’s values. You can learn a lot about a company by seeing what information they provide on their website. They should clearly communicate their ability and desire to care for your loved ones.
3. Find out what qualifications their staff members hold.
You don’t want to hire someone to care for your loved one who isn’t qualified to provide that care. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of care facilities, find out what qualifications and training they require for their employees.
At minimum, home care providers should be CPR certified and hold an STNA license. These qualifications ensure that your home care worker can safely provide for your loved one’s needs.
You should also ask each company whether they conduct background checks on their employees. While most companies do this, it’s a major red flag if a company isn’t screening their staff members before hiring them to care for senior adults.
4. Find out what services the home care company offers.
There are lots of different services a home care provider may offer. In some cases, home care may even include providing in-home nursing services. Other services include medication administration, injections, feedings, diabetic care, and medical assessments.
If your loved one doesn’t need medical assistance, daily living assistance may be a better fit. These providers may help them bath, groom themselves, or get around the home.
Before you pick a home care company, find out what services are available. If they provide several levels of care, you’ll be able to stay with the same company as your loved one’s needs evolve.
5. Check for 24/7 availability.
It’s important for your loved one to have home care when it’s needed. Make sure the company you choose has 24/7 availability so your loved one has the support they need, when they need it.
Determine what times your loved one will need care and make sure that your company of choice can provide care during those times. Some companies offer a sleepover service for individuals who need care throughout the night.
Even if you live at home with your aging relative, these services may be necessary when you’re away from home. Don’t select a company unless you’re sure they can provide all the services your loved one will need from in-home care.
6. Read customer reviews.
Online customer reviews will tell you a lot about what sort of care you’ll get from a home care service. While good reviews will tell you a lot about the quality of a company, the negative reviews can be very telling. Instead of merely looking at the overall star ratings, take time to read both the five-star and one-star reviews.
This step can be one of the most time consuming, especially if there are a lot of reviews available. However, it’s worth investing in this part of the process.
One bad review isn’t a sign that a company isn’t a good fit. A pattern of bad reviews, especially if they’re all recent reviews, can be a sign that the company isn’t a good option for your loved one’s care. If most of the bad reviews are over a year old, it may indicate that the problems have been fixed.
7. Have in-depth conversations with people in your area who have used home care services.
While friends and family can give some initial suggestions, having in-depth conversations can give you a better idea of what home care looks like from each company on your short list. After you’ve narrowed down your list of options, find time to meet with friends and family members who have used those services in the past.
Ask them about their experiences with the care provider. You should find out about how flexible the providers are, whether there were any major issues, and what their employees are like. While employees may come and go, these questions should give you a good idea of what to expect with each provider.
They may bring up things you didn’t find in online reviews. For example, they might mention hiccups with financing or issues with caregivers who don’t have a good bedside manner. These things are important to consider when finding care for your loved one.
8. Create a care plan.
You should create a detailed plan for your loved one’s care. While you can research and build this plan on your own, a good home care company will help you build a detailed care plan for your aging loved one. This plan should include things like home care, family support, and what to do when their condition makes nursing care a necessity.
Figure out how often your loved one will need home care. This may be daily or once or twice a week. If your loved one still lives alone, daily care can give you peace of mind. You may also want home care for loved ones who live with you, especially if you work outside the home.
9. Evaluate the cost of services.
In a perfect world, the cost of home care wouldn’t be a factor. However, we know that the expense can sometimes play a big role in what care you can provide for your loved one. Find a company that’s upfront about the costs and willing to create a plan that fits within your budget.
Home care is typically less expensive than full-time nursing home care, since home care providers aren’t with your loved one 24/7. Home care also allows your aging loved one to enjoy the comfort of their own home.
10. Find out how much of your loved one’s care is covered by insurance and Medicaid.
Insurance and Medicaid sometimes cover some home care costs. Contact your loved one’s insurance provider to find out what assistance is available. Your loved one’s insurance may cover a significant portion of their care. Either way, you need to know what’s covered as you put together a budget plan for their care.
Medicaid has coverage for in-home care in all 50 states. Since home care is typically less expensive than 24/7 nursing home facilities, Medicaid is often willing to help offset those costs further, especially when it saves them money.
While you can use Medicaid benefits to pay for home care from a licensed provider, you may be able to use it to hire relatives as paid caregivers for an aging relative. While most states allow you to use Medicaid benefits to hire children, some states allow spouses and other relatives to receive pay for the care they provide.
If you want to find out more about Medicaid and what they cover, check out our state-by-state guide to Medicaid.
Finding a great home care provider can be a long and frustrating process. The ten tips above will help you navigate the process to find the best possible care for your loved one. Following these steps will give you the resources you need to make a care plan for your aging loved one.
If you’re still not sure if in-home care is right for you and your family, we have lots of fantastic resources to help you out. Our article on the best in-home services for seniors can provide you with the information you need about how home care can help your family.