As the life expectancy of Americans continues to grow longer, the need for care and support in the later years continues to grow. According to AARP 87% of adults age 65 and older want to stay in their homes as they age, versus moving to an independent or assisted living community, or moving in with a relative. This scenario is called aging in place, and it’s a growing trend in the United States.
Most of us can identify with this perspective on growing older; it’s comfortable and familiar to stay in our homes, even if it’s not always practical or affordable. Often times the medical, physical, or mental needs of the aging adult can make staying in the home a difficult decision. However, if you have determined that it is possible for your aging spouse or parent to remain in their home as they age, you will most likely need to hire support to help in the care
What do you need?
Not all caregivers are created equal, and this is actually a good thing for the senior care industry. The more medically skilled a caregiver is, the more expensive they usually are, so if your aging loved one doesn’t need a Registered Nurse it’s nice to have the less expensive option of hiring a Home Health Aide or a Personal Care Assistant. The following is a brief list of the different types of in-home caregivers.
Personal Care Assistant (PCA)
You can also think of this position as a companion, someone to spend time with your aging loved one while being able to monitor their health and behavior for anything unusual or alarming. These caregivers are typically not medically trained beyond basic first aid, but they can be with the aging adult when you or another family member are unable to. Some general tasks include light housekeeping, running errands, meal prep, laundry, giving medication reminders (they cannot administer medication), and just keeping the patient company. They charge an hourly rate, and most of the time Medicare will not cover a PCA, so expect to pay out of pocket.
Home Health Aides (HHA)
Medically speaking, HHAs are a step above PCAs, in that they are trained to take a patient’s vitals, monitor any health conditions, perform wound care, and assist with bathing, grooming, etc. They can also give the companionship and support with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) that PCAs give.
Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA or CNA)
Licensed nursing assistants take their direction from a Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner. They do everything that HHAs do, with the addition of setting up medical equipment, administering some treatments, conducting patient exercises, and more. They will also help perform ADLs and offer companionship.
Skilled Nursing Providers
These caregivers are licensed by the state, and along with medical care, they provide patient and caregiver education. They can administer drugs via IVs, feeding tubes, give shots, and are usually trained in some type of physical, speech, or occupational therapy. Medicare may cover skilled nursing that is only needed occasionally and not on a full-time basis.
Registered Nurses (RNs)
These caregivers are also licensed by the state, have passed the nursing board exams and can perform most medical tasks that an aging adult living at home would need. They also can advocate for family members, help transition care between caregivers, and offer knowledgeable support to families.
Where do you start? You will be inviting a complete stranger into the home to help take care of your aging loved one, so the process of finding the perfect person should be thorough and it may take some time. It is important to use a senior care agency when searching for an in-home caregiver. These agencies background check and ensure their caregivers, as well as offer immediate replacements should your normal caregiver be unavailable for any reason.
Our team of senior care coordinators can take all of your specific factors (your budget, level of care needed, any concerns you have, etc.) and help you find the caregiver that meets all of your needs and has the right personality fit for your aging loved one. As always, our services are completely free of charge to you and your family so don’t hesitate to reach out for a consultation today.
Some families choose to hire an independent caregiver, meaning they do the research, place the want ad, conduct the interview, and agree on an hourly wage. This tends to be less expensive than using a placement agency, but most independent caregivers may not be insured, do not go through background checks, and if they need to call out or leave for any reason, there is no backup caregiver provided to take their place.
Using a home care agency is the best way to find and hire an in-home caregiver for seniors. The home care agency takes on the heavy lifting, in that they have interviewed, vetted, background checked, insured, and cleared a number of qualified caregivers to recommend. As seniors age, their needs will change, and a senior home care agency will be equipped with the right, well-trained employees to meet those needs.
A good home care agency will meet with the family and the senior requiring care, and then assign the caregiver they think would best fit in both meeting the needs of the senior and in personality. A senior home care agency is also a wise choice in finding home health care because of their resources, scheduling assistance, providing alternate caregivers in case one calls out, and being available 24/7 to answer any questions you have or address any issues that arise.
Make sure to check reviews and testimonials from several home care agencies before making your decision. The in-home care of your aging loved one is important and should be entrusted to caring, safe, and compassionate people.
Caregiving for a loved one is a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it can also be physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. When the aging adult in your life needs more help than you are able to give, it is important to recognize that it may be time to seek professional assistance. With that being said, how do you hire a perfect stranger to come into the home and trust them to care for your loved one the way you would? The process can be overwhelming and so here is a quick list of tips to help you get started in the right direction.
The most important step in hiring a caregiver is having a conversation with your loved one. Aging adults are much more likely to go along with the plan if they are apart of making it. If the decision to seek outside help is not yours alone, make sure to have a family meeting. Talk about what each person is able to contribute financially and physically. This may feel uncomfortable at first, but it is absolutely necessary to move forward in a healthy and beneficial way. Once everyone is on the same page it will be much easier to proceed.
Assess the Need
Not all adults age the same and every situation is different. Some seniors only need companionship or help running errands if they no longer drive. Others need minor medical care or help with their medications, while others suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s may need to be moved into a memory care residence.
Still others simply no longer want the responsibility of home maintenance, yard work, or upkeeping a car, so a retirement community serves their needs perfectly. Also, make sure to weigh the need against the financial situation. You don’t want to start a care plan only to discover six months down the road it is no longer affordable. You and your family must decide what is most needed and then proceed from there.
Use a Placement Agency
Just as you would use a real estate agent to look for a home or an insurance broker to help you find the best insurance plan, using a professional senior placement agency gives peace of mind that you have the best of the best working on your behalf. Agencies have experience, credentials, vetting processes, and access to hundreds of caregivers and various residential care homes, but most importantly they work for you. They have your best interest at heart, and they want to make sure your family situation is dealt with gently and effectively.
Making the move to find additional care or placement for a loved one is a weighty decision and not one to be made lightly. Many agencies offer both placement and caregiving services which are incredibly beneficial as the adult’s needs change as they age. When searching for a placement agency, make sure to find one that is local to your aging loved one’s area. This will ensure they are familiar with all the local residencies and caregivers and will help make the transition easier for everyone involved.
Remember, you are not meant to do this alone. Nestvy offers free consultations and support to get you started, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.