As America ages, there may come a time (or the time may be upon you) when you need to hire in-home care for an aging parent. This care may include assistance with medication management, meal preparation, housekeeping, daily hygiene and dressing, transportation, and more. The question is how to find caring, trustworthy, well-qualified, reliable people to fill the position of an in-home caregiver.
In many cases, the majority (two-thirds) of in-home care is supplied by unpaid caregivers – sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and friends – while the remaining help comes from paid caregivers.
With unpaid caregivers, there is innate trust and reliability because of the connection, and all you have to do is simply ask for their assistance. However, paid caregivers are completely different. With paid caregivers there is a process to ensure you find the right person to care for your aging loved ones. Let’s explore what you need to know as you seek to hire in-home care for your elderly parents.
Home Health or Home Care
You may already know there are two types of care available – home health care and home care – and they are quite different in scope.
Home health care agencies provide medical services like physical and occupational therapy, skilled nursing services, speech therapy, medication management, as well as medical social work and health aid. While restrictions apply, some or part of these services are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, VA, and private insurance companies. Generally, benefits are limited, but cover home health care prescribed by a doctor such as short term or intermittent nursing care and therapy.
Home care, on the other hand, are focused on household and personal care services. Home care services are not covered by Medicare or private insurers, though in some instances Medicaid waiver programs and some private insurance companies will pay for some home care services.
- Meal preparation
- Medication reminders
- Daily activities
- Light housekeeping and other household chores
Home Care Workers – Agencies and Independents
Home care workers can be hired through private home care agencies or as individual independent contractors, often recommended by friends or family members. Costs vary and often home care costs must be paid out of pocket by most families.
Choosing from the two hiring scenarios can be challenging but in both cases you should seek out recommendations and references. Since there are pros and cons to both, let’s explore what might be right for you and your aging parent.
- Agency Home Care Workers – Positives – When hiring through an agency, they will handle hiring, taxes, workers’ compensation, and firing, as well as providing oversight and mitigation should disputes arise. Another positive is an agency will perform background checks and will be able to send a replacement if your caregiver falls ill. Agencies are bonded and insured, protecting you from liability and theft.
- Agency Home Care Workers – Negatives – With an agency, you often don’t have a choice of caregiver, but you can always request a new caregiver.
- Individual Caregivers – Positives – It may be easier to establish a relationship with quality, loyal, dependable caregivers.
- Individual Caregivers – Negatives – It can be difficult to find a substitute if your caregiver is ill. You will need to handle hiring, firing, discipline, employment taxes, plus, you may be liable if the caregiver is injured on the job.
In either scenario, you will need to evaluate your paid caregivers regularly to ensure your loved one’s needs are being properly handled. Start with a detailed list of responsibilities for which your caregiver will be responsible and create a plan of care that is agreed upon by you and the caregiver before they begin. Review the plan monthly, verifying needs are being met, making any necessary adjustments, and resolving any confusion/conflict.
Hiring a home care worker is the best option you can choose when you see your loved one is having trouble performing daily tasks. However, there are a few things you should follow when choosing an in-home care agency.
- Don’t wait too long – If you can’t be there for your loved one due to other personal commitments, you should find a reliable in-home care agency in your area before it’s too late. Waiting too long can lead to depression or frustration for you and your loved one.
- Stay involved – Remember to ask your loved one how they’re feeling and if their caregiver is doing their job effectively on a regular basis. It’s essential to stay connected and informed regarding your loved one’s care.
- Do your research – There are many in-home care agencies and individuals to select from, however, you must do your research and ask about former caregiver experience, credentials, services, and the agency’s mission/culture.
Need to Know More?
Hiring in-home care for an aging parent is a big transition. As a not-for-profit organization and one of Broward County’s largest home care agencies, we deliver homecare services to over 400 clients – and peace of mind to their families – across the entire community, regardless of religious affiliation. Our goal is to ensure seniors can live comfortably and safely in their homes with the help of our kind, compassionate caregivers.
Should you have questions, please contact Jewish Family Home Care, the top provider of elderly care in Hollywood, FL and the surrounding areas, to learn more.