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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:
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.
Sometimes home care isn’t an all or nothing proposition. If your parent only needs periodic help there are some out-of-the-box possibilities.
If you are looking for a certified nurse technician, who is a person trained to perform basic medical functions, there are two ways you could try that may be more cost-effective.
You can contact a local assisted-care facility and ask if there are certified nurse technicians who have retired recently and are looking for part-time work.
Call a local university nursing school where students might already be certified as nurse technicians while they are pursuing their nursing degrees. Certified nurse assistants, who perform medical duties but are not as extensively trained as technicians, might also be a good fit.
If your parent has a spare bedroom, consider university students who are looking for a place to live and offering them a “trade” of their services for room and board.
Also consider an adult roommate who can help with basic chores such as food preparation, errand running, and housekeeping.
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Take comfort that as you look for the right caretaker for your parent, you are not alone.
Studies show that nearly 79% of aging adults are cared for in their own homes or community settings, and more than a third use paid caregivers. As our population ages, the need for caregivers will only increase. The number of older adults requiring caregiving is estimated to double from 13 million in 2000 to 27 million in 2050. Resources will also grow to match the need so be assured that help is out there!