Over time, maintaining your independence at home may become more challenging. Keeping up with the housework may get harder, or you may find yourself struggling with activities of daily living, like dressing or preparing regular, nutritious meals.
It’s not always easy to admit you need help, but many seniors find working with a home care service is a terrific compromise that lets you hold onto your independence and your home while getting a little extra support.
Home care services vary greatly, so you’ll want to be thorough as you consider who you’ll ask to play such an important role in you or your loved one’s life. Here are some of the essential questions to ask when you’re researching home care services:
The services that home care agencies provide may be everything from basic tasks like light housework and cooking to medical care from a home health aide. You may need one or the other, so start by understanding which kinds of support are available.
Nearly all home care agencies have exclusions on the types of services they can provide. For example, some may not permit caregivers to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments due to liability concerns. Even if they don’t apply now, make note of services that are not available so you’re aware if future needs arise.
The frequency and duration of visits will likely depend on multiple factors, including how much support you or your loved one needs, how much time you can afford, and the caregiver’s availability. Be aware that if you are receiving insurance or other support for home care, such as benefits through the Veterans Administration, you may have specific minimum or maximum guidelines to meet.
A consistent caregiver results in better quality relationships, less stress, and the ability to monitor for changes over time. While many companies providing in-home care strive to have a consistent caregiver assigned, that’s not always realistic or possible. For example, your caregiver could be sick or called upon to deliver additional care to another client with emergent needs. Some agencies provide a care team, so while it’s not the same individual every visit, it’s a familiar team member each time.
A caregiver’s credentials can vary greatly, so you’ll want to know that their training and background aligns with the types of services they’ll be providing. If you or your loved one needs basic homemaker support, a certified home health aide isn’t necessary or practical. However, you may want to know whether the caregiver has emergency training, like CPR and first aid.
Especially if you’re engaging in-home care on behalf of a loved one, you’ll need a clear understanding of expectations for communication. Your loved one can designate you as a point of contact, but it’s important to know that some agencies prohibit caregivers from communicating directly with family members and instead require all communication to go through an assigned case worker.
A fee schedule should be available to help you clearly understand the costs associated with the services you need. Be aware that home care costs may qualify as medical expenses, so you may want to consult a tax professional for additional guidance.
Some home care companies accept third-party payment, such as long-term care insurance or veterans’ benefits. Ask about how billing and reimbursement is handled so you clearly understand your out-of-pocket obligation.
Depending on your location, different state and local regulations may apply. Look for an agency that demonstrates the highest level of credibility and responsibility. For example, Springpoint at Home is fully accredited by the Joint Commission, the nation’s leading healthcare accrediting organization.
Some companies have a set of written testimonials created for marketing purposes. Ask for references you can talk to directly, so you can ask questions about any problems that arose or concerns you have.
At Springpoint, we recognize how precious independence is to seniors who wish to stay at home as long as possible. Our care managers work closely with families to create an individualized care plan, whether you or your loved one needs occasional hourly support or a live-in private-duty home health aide. Contact us to learn more about making Springpoint at Home your partner in safe and reliable at-home care.