Most people in the United States do not understand how much long term care they will need, according to Age Wave. Only 37% of people who are over 50 years old think that they will need some kind of home care for a longer term while at least 70% will need this kind of care. It is estimated that there are about 65.7 million family and other informal caregivers around the country who are caring for a loved one who is sick, disabled or elderly. Experts believe that the number of people who need and are using long term care services, either provided at home or in another setting, will double by 2050.
If you are looking for home care services for a loved one, you may not know where to start. Going with an agency can provide you with more security in knowing the people have training and experience providing the services you want. Here are some tips for finding the right in home care for your loved one’s needs:
- Talk to their doctor. Doctors who are experts at treating older adults have a lot of insight into the senior home care specialists in your area. They also are familiar with the specific needs of your loved one and can recommend services that can help with their specific health needs and requirements. Your first call when looking for this kind of custom care solutions should be with their health provider.
- Talk to other people you know. You may have friends or other relatives who have had to arrange for home care for people in their life. As a consequence, you may know people who can recommend agencies or tell you to avoid certain places. It can be just as helpful to be told what agencies you should not waste your time with. The best case scenario is that you get the same recommendation from more than one source.
- Go to home care agencies that provide enough information. You want to talk to agencies that provide materials with clear explanations of the services they provide and the philosophy to which they subscribe. You should look for an agency that gives you a clear document or “Patient’s Bill of Rights.” This is a document that spells out their responsibilities, the rights of the patient but also what they expect from the person receiving the home care assistance.
- Make sure the agency has the right licenses. Before you start talking to different home care agencies, talk to your local and state government about what the legal requirements are for the in home caregivers in your area. When you talk to the agencies, ask about their licenses but do not take their word for it. Make sure you verify anything that they tell you.
- Ask the home care assistance company about their staff. You want to find out how they find their staff, how they are trained, what kinds of background checks they are subjected to and what kind of turnover rates they have. Ideally, the home care agency will have staff that are well trained and who are treated well enough that they want to stay with the agency for a long time. When there is a lot of turnover at an agency, that says nothing good about the way it is managed. You want to go with an agency that hires people who like what they do. Happy workers do a better job than those who are not happy.
- Ask for references. Good home care agencies should have no problem letting you talk to current or former clients to see what it is like to work with them. That is one of the best ways to find out what it is like to work with the agency. You get more information from talking to their references that any other way. If the agency balks at giving you references, you should move on to another agency.
- Find out how long they have been in business. It is possible to get good service from a younger agency but you may feel better about agencies with a proven track record.
If you take your time and do your research, you will find the right agency.