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Convincing an aging parent that they need home health care can difficult. But once you’re over that hurdle, the question becomes how to find a caregiver who will compliment your parent’s personality and who can be trusted implicitly.
The first thing to assess is what type of home care your loved one needs. There’s a huge difference between finding a caregiver who can perform simple functions like grocery shopping, housekeeping and providing companionship, and a home health care expert who can deliver medical care and coordinate services with other health care experts.
The first resource many folks turn to is people they already know. Do you have friends who are dealing with aging parents and have already gone through the process of finding a caregiver? Turn to them first and find out what they learned. Are there members of your faith community with experience in providing caregivers? Rely on them for advice.
Then you need to decide whether to hire an individual or work through an agency that specializes in home care. There are positives and negatives to each.
If you are hiring an individual you will need to go through the process of interviewing, checking references, doing a criminal background check and making sure that the person you select meshes well with your loved one and family. At the end of the process, though, you will thoroughly know the person you hire.
Going through an agency is easier in some respects. An agency will take care of all the paperwork and personnel checks. But you may not be able to get to know a potential caregiver as thoroughly as you’d like. Also, agencies often use multiple caregivers for the same client, and a rotating cast of caregivers may be unsettling to an older person.
In the end, you are creating a contract with the person you hire, and you will want to set out all the conditions for employment and expectations for the job in a legal document. That way there’s no room for confusion if the relationship doesn’t work out.
The contract should include:
- A detailed list of job duties, and hours
- Any home privileges such as preparing their own meals and having visitors
- A list of days off and holidays
- Compensation and the possibility for raises or bonuses
- Confidentiality expectations since the caregiver may be privy to sensitive family information
The cost of care.
One of the primary concerns with home care is the cost. The most basic in-home care can cost $18 an hour. That number goes up as you move into more specialized medical care.
There are a few ways to offset the price tag. They include traditional insurance, long-term care insurance, and state and local programs such as Medicaid that can help in some situations.