1. Use an agency, rather than hiring privately. Hiring privately places the individual receiving care at risk because people often answer private advertisements when they cannot find work with the agencies. With private hires, there is no screening, oversight, checking of identity documents, or insurance coverage, all of which can be expected from a reputable agency. 2. Consider the range of services offered by the agency. Non-medical care should include personal care (bathing, dressing, and continence care), not simply handing soap or shampoo to the person who needs care. 3. Does the agency have a consumer-driven approach? The agency should be willing to entertain special requests. Dates and times for service should occur based on the client’s needs and schedule, not the agency’s. 4. Is the agency responsive? How quickly the agency can find a caregiver initially is often indicative of the availability and reliability of substitutes. The agency should also be willing to offer replacements if the client is not satisfied with the performance of a caregiver. 5. Will the agency ensure the client’s continued satisfaction? An initial visit should be conducted in the home of the person who receives care. Ongoing visits and phone calls should continue throughout the duration of the case. 6. How affordable is the service, and will the company quote rates on the telephone? Be wary of an agency that will only give rates after seeing you in your home. Watch for any “hidden” fees, for example, extra charges for personal care or light housekeeping. 7. Does the agency offer a discounted daily or “live-in” rate, or merely charge the hourly rate multiplied by twenty-four? The cost for a live-in caregiver should be roughly the same as the cost (or less) than one day of care in a nursing home. 8. Of the total fee charged, how much does the Caregiver receive? More money does not always equate to better services. Some agencies charge more than double the fees that their caregivers earn. 9. Does the agency interview the caregivers, or merely process applicants? Interviews should be one-on-one, in-person, and extensive. Ask for samples of the types of questions the agency asks the caregivers. Remember, a group orientation is not a substitute for a fact-finding interview. 10. Are references checked, or does the agency merely confirm dates of employment and rehire eligibility? A thorough reference check will include comprehensive discussions with former supervisors to ascertain the caregivers’ past behavioral patterns. 11. Does the agency conduct statewide criminal background checks? Background checks should be comprehensive, not merely a county check. 12. Are health screenings required for the caregivers? A complete medical examination and TB test before referral will reduce risk for the person who receives care. Shopping for the homecare company that is right for you is as important as buying your first home, selecting the correct university, or choosing your best friend. Research the agency thoroughly and look for a company with a known reputation in the industry. If you make sure you are comfortable with the people with whom you are doing business and all parties should be pleased with the outcome.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, people age 65 and older will comprise over 18 percent of the population by 2030. That’s almost double the current senior population. As a result of aging, many of these seniors will eventually require some form of assistance with daily living. A South Bay homecare services agency can provide a broad range of services to enable them to age independently at home. Before deciding whether homecare makes sense for your elderly loved one, it’s important to take an inventory of his or her health issues, daily needs, and general ability to manage the household. Here are 10 areas of concern when assessing an elderly loved one’s condition and whether he or she could benefit from South Bay homecare services: 1. Medical issues: Illness or injury can make it difficult or even impossible for seniors to function by themselves on a daily basis. The prospect of moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility may be either cost prohibitive or too emotionally taxing (or both). In many cases homecare is ideal because it’s affordable, maintains independence, and provides services targeted to specific needs. 2. Daily tasks: If basic tasks such as going to the bathroom, bathing, preparing meals, or going grocery shopping have become too difficult or time-consuming, South Bay homecare services can provide the daily assistance seniors need to be able to stay in their homes. 3. Hygiene: Seniors may pay less attention to their hygiene and appearance, which can lead to health problems. The cleanliness of bed linens, bath towels, and laundry should be checked, as well as their ability to clean themselves. 4. Behavior: Depression, anxiety, irritability, and memory loss can be common with seniors to a certain degree, but severe changes in behavior and mood may be symptoms of dementia and should be evaluated by a healthcare professional. 5. Safety: Home safety, such as remembering to turn off appliances or keeping doors and windows locked, is crucial if seniors wish to continue to age at home independently. The home should also be inspected for areas that cause falls. A South Bay homecare services agency can help prevent falls by ensuring all rugs have a slip-resistant backing, rearranging protruding furniture, removing clutter from walkways, and making sure there is adequate lighting throughout the home. 6. Nutrition: A proper diet becomes increasingly more important as we age, so seniors should be monitored to make sure they eat well-balanced meals and maintain a steady weight. 7. Finances: An inability to manage their personal finances, pay bills on time, and balance their checkbook is a clear sign that seniors need assistance to avoid services being shut-off or other issues that will affect their health and well-being. 8. Medication: Since most seniors take several kinds of medication every day, it’s important to make sure all medications are clearly labeled, conveniently located, and not expired. An inability to manage medications properly, including dosage, frequency, and refilling prescriptions, is a sure sign that they can benefit from daily South Bay homecare services. 9. Driving: Many seniors have driver licenses but may pose a danger to themselves and others due to impaired vision, hearing, and reflexes. A health professional can assess their ability to drive safely. 10. Mail: Stacks of mail are signs of forgetfulness at best or, at worst, demonstrate an inability or unwillingness to manage the household.