If you’ve decided in-home care is an appropriate solution to help your parent as he or she is aging in place, you’ve probably begun completing your due diligence by asking for recommendations from friends and family members, researching online reviews for local agencies, and possibly even scheduling interviews with prospective home care agencies or individual caregivers in an effort to select the best fit for you and your parent.
Industry expert Katie Roper of Catenary Consulting, and former Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Caring.com, says that if you’re approaching home care this way, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration.
According to Roper, most consumers don’t understand the complexity of home care and are not equipped to ask appropriate questions to determine if the agency or the individual is the best fit. All too often, she says, families approach the interview process looking for a friend for their mom or dad. The drawback to this approach is that families select a good fit based upon personality, not based upon the care and safety needs for the senior loved one.
Because of the intricacies of in-home care, Roper discourages families from placing an ad or utilizing word of mouth to interview and employ an individual caregiver. Rather, Roper recommends working with an agency or an aging life care specialist (individuals who are specially trained to help guide and advocate for families who are caring for older adults) to help facilitate appropriate and reliable care at home. By utilizing the expertise of an aging life care specialist or home care agency, families receive a formal in-home assessment and a personalized care plan, both of which will help identify the issues the older adult is dealing with, as well as his or her day-to-day needs.
When interviewing potential home care agencies, Roper says that families should not be swayed toward an agency just because the owner is nice. Rather, she recommends looking at longevity and size when investigating home care agencies. Choosing an agency that is well established and that has been in business for many years benefits families by providing expertise and a comprehensive understanding of the care needs for older adults.
Additionally, by looking at larger agencies, families benefit from having an extensive pool of caregivers who are available to meet the needs of their loved one. This becomes especially important if a caregiver is on vacation, ill, or otherwise unavailable. By having a deep bench of caregivers, an agency has plenty of qualified caregivers to choose from and can seamlessly substitute a caregiver when necessary.
Another benefit to working with a home care agency is the ongoing, specialized training caregivers receive to help them appropriately manage difficult situations. Many times, older adults can be frustrated by their loss of independence or because they have a “stranger” helping in their home. Agencies anticipate these types of situations, train their caregivers on best practices, and work on an individual basis with families to help defuse the situation and find a solution.
To learn more about how to find and choose care in the home, listen to the full interview with Katie Roper in the Help Choose Home podcast series by searching for “Help Choose Home” on iTunes, Google, or on any device at https://player.fm/series/help-choose-home.
The Help Choose Home podcast series is a joint effort between the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC), Axxess, and corecubed. The vision is to provide information and resources to help those with a care need learn more about healthcare at home. Podcasts are hosted by Merrily Orsini, president and CEO of corecubed, a firm dedicated exclusively to home care marketing solutions.