Caregiving for Elderly Loved Ones
If you have a loved one who is no longer able to adequately care for her/himself, it is time to explore your options. For most families, it comes down to deciding whether to move the loved one into a nursing home (or other type of assisted care facility) or to hire an in-home caregiver. There are many factors to consider in making this decision:
Each individual is unique and his/her specific needs must be determined. Can your loved one maintain a level of independence? If the individual is able to bathe, dress and cook for themselves, keeping the senior in the comfort of their own home may be beneficial. Hiring a caregiver to attend to errands, medical needs or other necessary tasks ensures that your loved one is attended to and has companionship, while also being as autonomous as possible.
It can be difficult to decide who should be the caregiver for your loved one. You may have a family member who lives nearby and is willing to provide the necessary care. If this is the route you take, it may be important to have a caregiver contract that sets forth the job description and the salary to be paid. This type of contract can prevent family disputes and hard feelings down the road.
If you decide to hire a professional caregiver, you must decide if you want to go through an agency or direct hire. Before you hire a caregiver, you should request permission to conduct a criminal background check and referrals. Make sure to contact all referrals given. Failing to actually contact referrals can be a truly regretful mistake. The caregiver should also be able to prove his/her ability to meet all of the senior's needs.
Finally, you must consider the cost of hiring a caregiver. The rate paid to a home health aide will vary depending on where your loved one lives and the amount of care your loved one will need. Typically, the caregiver is paid on an hourly rate. You should research the going rate and make sure all parties agree on any additional costs, including care provided on weekends and holidays.
Assisted Care Facility
If your loved one requires 24-hour care, it is important to research the available assisted living centers. There are a variety of facilities that offer different levels of care. You should ask for referrals from friends, family, your doctors and others that you trust. Be sure to visit the nursing homes you are considering. It is important to visit unannounced as well as for a scheduled tour. Make a list of your questions and make sure you get answers to each of them. You should also look up the facility via the California Department of Public Health at https://hfcis.cdph.ca.gov/. Lastly, it is imperative that you have a clear understanding of the costs associated with the assisted living home, including expenses not covered by insurance.
The most important thing you can do for your elderly loved one is to ensure the caregiver is providing proper care. This can be accomplished by staying involved, dropping by unannounced, and asking your loved one about the level of care being provided.