Many adult children find caring for elderly parents to be a challenging, worrisome, and often exhausting experience. They wonder if their elderly parents are able to maintain their personal hygiene, whether they’re taking their medications properly, and if they’re safe in their homes.
Homecare agencies can remove the anxiety and burden of caring for elderly parents from afar. Homecare enables seniors to continue to live independently in their homes by receiving assistance with their basic needs. This can include help with:
• Eating, bathing, getting dressed, and going to the bathroom
• Getting to the pharmacy, the doctor’s office, and other appointments
• Shopping and household chores
• Making home modifications like installing grab bars in the bathroom
• Identifying opportunities to socialize with other seniors
According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, between five and seven million Americans are caring for elderly parents from afar (defined as living at least one hour away from an older relative). This trend will continue to grow as more and more of the baby-boomer generation gets older and opts for homecare instead of nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
For people living in our area, homecare services from reputable homecare agencies promote independence, provide dignity, and encourage peer interaction (which is proven to improve brain function). Caring for elderly parents does require you to make some important decisions. You shouldn’t hire a company to care for your elderly loved one from afar until you know what they offer and why they’re the best agency to care for your elderly loved one.
Make sure to ask the following questions when you meet with homecare agencies:
• Who is the employer? It may sound like a strange question to ask, but homecare agencies come in all shapes and sizes. From a safety and liability perspective, you want to hire a company that manages everything from payroll to taxes to worker’s compensation insurance. If you don’t, you will be considered the employer and will ultimately be responsible for handling the many legal and financial issues involved with homecare.
• What is their experience? It may go without saying, but experience matters. How long has the homecare agency been in business? Has the agency provided similar services to other clients in the past? What do its past and current clients have to say about the quality of the services?
• Do they offer a free consultation? Most reputable homecare agencies offer a free consultation to provide a comprehensive assessment of your elderly parent’s needs.
• Do they have a rigorous employee screening process? It’s important that the Orange County homecare agency conduct thorough background checks on all employees. Checking criminal, professional, and personal references is critical to make sure your loved one is being cared for by a qualified caregiver.
• What is the plan of care? Developing a plan for caring for elderly parents is important because it enables you to clarify expectations about what and how much care is going to be provided. From personal care to cooking meals to attending doctor visits, everyone is involved in determining the best course of homecare.
• How accessible are they? How easy or difficult will it be to reach the people in charge? This is especially important on nights and weekends. Will you be able to speak with a person when you call the agency or will you reach an answering machine if you call after normal business hours?