So, you think it might be time to get some home care assistance. You are wondering how to go about the process and you probably have a lot of logistical questions. Or, perhaps you have been talking to your aging parents about getting some help with meal preparation or housekeeping and they have recently mentioned they would like to give it a try. Now, you want to make sure it goes well for them and first impressions are vital.

If you are in a situation where you have concerns but are not sure if your aging parents really need assistance, you might want to download our “Senior Care Warning Signs: Evaluating Your Loved Ones’ Wellbeing“. We have a number of blog posts with tips for long-distance caregivers and advice on how to approach your aging parents about concerns. Leave us a comment or question if you are looking for something you cannot locate.

The first aspect of getting a good start with home care assistance is to find the right help. A licensed home health care agency is the place to start. You immediately buy yourself the peace of mind of having an agency screen caregivers in the hiring process, as well as having support, troubleshooting, and backup care. With an agency like EasyLiving you get the added bonus of a comprehensive caregiver training and support program, complete with field visits and quality assurance. Hiring someone on your own makes you the employer, meaning you take on a lot of extra responsibility and liability.

Find out how your state licenses and regulates at home care providers and review agency surveys (most states now have all of this information online). Check out EasyLiving’s article detailing Florida Home Health Agency regulations and visit our testimonials page for links to both our state and independent home health quality surveys.

Once you understand the types of agencies available and have a list of possible resources in your area, it is time to dig deeper and get a feel for the home health agency’s quality. If you can get referrals from other clients or professionals (your attorney, doctor, or other trusted advisor), this is a great way to start. Contact the agency and get a feel for the way they do things. The conversation itself can be very telling. Do they ask a lot of questions about your needs and situation (or better yet set a time to meet you/the client in person)? Can they give you solid answers about how they train and manage staff and what sets them apart? Can you get a feeling for their motivations in providing senior care? What history and involvement do they have in the community? You can check out some additional suggestions in Five Tips for Choosing a Quality At Home Care Provider.

The other issues that will be on your mind as you hire home care assistance include the costs and how much/what type of care you need. Regarding costs, rates for similar types of agencies within an area tend to be pretty standard. An agency can work with you on how to create the most efficient and cost-effective care plan. If you have long-term care insurance, ask if the agency will help you in the claims process. Medicare only covers short-term, skilled home health care so most day-to-day care will be paid for privately by the individual or family (or covered by your long-term care policy). If you have limited funds, you might be able to seek assistance through programs like Medicaid or the VA. At EasyLiving, we have a Senior Care Consultant who can help guide you in such issues and make appropriate referrals or link you with one of our geriatric care managers for assistance.  For more information on costs, you can download a free copy of our Paying for Home Care Tips.

In order to determine what type of care you need (what level, how much, what types of duties the caregivers will perform), an agency should perform an assessment/needs analysis. Our Senior Care Consultant goes out to meet with families to review their needs and determine an initial scope of service. This helps us to match the best home caregivers to your needs as well. We want to get to know a little bit about you personally, in addition to the basic facts. Our Senior Care Consultant is an experienced social worker, here to help open the conversation and understand your needs and wants. To set up a time to meet or ask her some questions about getting started with home care assistance, call us at 727-448-0900.