If your parents are elderly, something you have to think about is caring for them when they can no longer get around on their own or properly care for themselves. You may not like the idea of nursing homes or assisted living, or your parents may flat-out refuse to leave their homes in favor of these options. Or, maybe it’s just starting to becoming apparent that your parents need extra help around the house. In cases like these, home care is a good way to transition into assisting your parents as they move into their later years. But, how do you truly know if this is the best option when mom needs help, or when dad can’t take care of some of his own basic needs anymore? To find out, ask yourself these key questions and discover whether choosing a home health company is the route you should take.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering Home Health Care
To understand the type of care you need to enlist, ask yourself these important questions:
1. How Much Help Does Mom/Dad Need?
Look at your parents’ situation objectively. How are they doing? Do they need help with household chores, or is it getting hard for them to care for themselves and maintain their quality of life? Is simple old age the contributing factor, or do they have a disease or medical condition they can’t manage on their own? The amount of help your parents need will determine the type of person you’ll need to hire.
2. How Much Help Do I Need?
Are you currently acting as a caregiver for your elderly parents? Are you feeling overwhelmed and stressed, or is the job simply more than you can manage alone? Hiring home care to take at least some of the load off your shoulders is a good idea.
3. Will Mom/Dad Trust a Stranger?
Some people are not comfortable with a stranger in their home tending to their intimate needs, even if that person is a certified nurse or specialist. Before you dive into home health care, you need to make sure your parents are okay with it. If you simply need to hire someone to help with chores, consider finding a trusted person you know versus a stranger. This will help your parents feel more at ease with the situation. If you need to hire a nurse, set up a meet-and-greet between that person and your parents so they can get to know each other. This could help your parents accept outside care more easily.
Questions for Home Health Aides
If you just need someone to do the more strenuous household chores or drive your parents to doctor’s appointments, you will not need to look at medical training and experience. On the other hand, if you need someone to assist your parents with physical therapy, medication schedules or administering medicine, bathing, dressing, eating, or other tasks, you should ask potential aides the following questions:
1. What’s Your Experience?
A good health aide you can trust to take care of your parents will have previous experience caring for elderly adults. For example, they may have worked in a hospital, at a nursing home, or at a clinic or health center. They may also have previous experience providing at-home care.
2. Do You Have a Certification/Professional Training?
Look at the prospective aide’s credentials and training. They should be certified – a Certified Nursing Aide (CNA), Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), or Registered Nurse (RN) – with training from a reputed institution.
3. Which Aspects of My Mom/Dad’s Care Do Your Services Cover?
An at-home caregiver may only provide for certain aspects of your parents’ care and not others. Make sure the services you need from them are covered.
Other Aspects to Think About for At-Home Care
Setting up at-home care for your senior parents is a big task. There are a few other aspects you shouldn’t forget:
- Setting up and signing a contract with your aide or home care agency
- Finding out if you need to pay for supplies, or if it’s included in the care plan
- Setting up other services, like cleaning services, if your home care service doesn’t include them
- Setting up alternate care for when your aide is off-duty (weekends, holidays, etc.)
Getting help for older adults at home is a big deal. They may have a lot of pride and be resistant to the idea, or they may need far more help than they think. Cover all your bases so you can provide your elderly parents with a comfortable life. This will give you peace of mind, too, so you can enjoy the time you spend with them rather than worrying about their health and well-being.