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How to evaluate aging in place home care providers

Posted on August 19th, 2016

We always want to do what's best for our family. And as our family members age, that often means figuring out how to provide the best care for them. According to AARP, more than 90 percent of older adults report that they would like to stay in their homes as they age. But often the only way to do so is to get some help handling personal care and other activities of daily living.

How much home care do you need?
First determine exactly what type of assisted living care you need for your aging family member. Depending on their overall health, they may require different levels of in-home care to stay comfortable and safe. Caregiving options to consider include:

  • Home care aides: personal care aides who assist with daily living activities and housekeeping and are either employed by an agency or hired directly by the family.
  • Home health aides: trained personal care aides or certified nursing assistants who can provide health care services to treat an illness or injury. They are typically supervised by a medical professional and often employed by a home health agency.
  • Medical professionals: licensed professionals such as nurses and physical therapists who can administer medical treatment.

How will you pay for home care?
Keeping mom and dad safe as they age in place will cost money. It's important to research payment options up front. Medicare may pay for part-time home health care, if ordered by a doctor, however it will not cover general home care for assistance with chores or even personal care if that is the only care needed. Medicaid may chip in. Check the Medicare and Medicaid websites for details on coverage. If you hire a caretaker directly, rather than through an agency, be sure to look into how taxes and potentially a Social Security contribution may need to be paid. Check with the IRS for information on hiring employees.

What questions should you ask an aging in place home care provider?
Whether a home care provider is part of an agency or an independent caretaker, it's crucial that you closely evaluate the skills and services that person will be bringing to your home to help your aging family member. Consider asking these questions:

  • What assistance do you offer? (Make a list in advance of all the tasks you need coveredÂ…laundry, cleaning, cooking, running errands, transportation needs, etc.)
  • What is your background/background of the company?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • What days and hours are you available?
  • What are the costs?
  • What training and certifications does the staff have?
  • Do you conduct a home visit before beginning the home care service?
  • Do you assign a supervisor to oversee the quality of care the caretaker is providing?
  • If needed, will you work with the family member's doctor in developing a care plan?
  • Do you have any experience with special circumstances or conditions such as Alzheimer's, a disability or other mobility issue? (If applicable.)
  • What driving experience do you have?
  • If a caretaker is unable to work one day, will the provider/agency provide a substitute?
  • What emergency procedures do you have in place and how do you train for them?
  • May I see proof of identity such as a Social Security card and/or photo ID?
  • Can you provide proof of workers' compensation insurance?
  • Can you provide proof of liability insurance?
  • Can you provide a list of references and prior work experience?
  • Do you guarantee customer satisfaction and will you cancel any charges for unsatisfactory service?


Where should you look for a home care provider?
For a full list of in-home care service providers, search the National Association for Home Care & Hospice Agency Locator.

Blog Image Source: 1stfamilyhomehealthcare.com

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