Today’s topic is home care or home care services and it’s very close to my heart because I ran a home care service agency for over 25 years. Home care is basically one option for those whom are looking for services to take care of their daily needs. So you can choose home care or you could choose to move to assisted-living.
But, home care provides more services in terms of what can be done in a days’ time. So, for instance, activities of daily living are covered and that could include anything from cooking, cleaning, companionship (the big three), and driving a client to the doctors or to activities. It’s really expanding their whole scope of what they would like to do in a day’s time to improve the quality of their life. It eases boredom and it really helps with pain too, because when you have somebody to talk to, activities to go to, you’re not so focused on your own physical aches and pains.
You know adult children often call and ask, “I don’t know what to do with Mom or Dad. Should they stay at home? Should I move them to assisted living?” And I always ask them, “What does your parent want?” I know it’s a real obvious question, but some people forget to ask. It’s basically what’s convenient for the adult child. So, I want you to really think in terms of your parents and what their wishes are.
After you ask them that questions, nine out of ten will probably say they want to stay at home, and that’s pretty typical. One of the things you could do is think in terms of trying the least disruptive, least expensive option first. So for instance, moving a senior to assisted-living can be one of the most stressful things both for the senior and the family members. And so to alleviate that stress and expense because it could cost $3,000 to $5,000 a month depending on where they choose to live or what housing that they select.
I always say, once again, try the least expensive, least disruptive option first which would mean bringing a caregiver into the home to provide these services, and it could be once a week, it could be once a day, it could be 24 hours a day, but if you try little steps at first many times that really helps in the decision making process. You could always adjust this service later on. You could add services or decrease services if your parent gets better after a hospitalization or a long-term illness.
Home care agencies are not created equal. The Washington state requirement, is that the home care agency be licensed, but I look beyond that. When looking for a home care agency, not only look for licensed home care, but also look at how long have they been in business. There are many franchises now that have a lot of new people purchasing these franchises and their only background is that they’ve had an aging parent themselves with no training in the medical profession. So, I would always say, please find an agency which has been in business more than three years because 50% of companies fail in the first three years of service.
The next thing to consider is to select an agency that has a nurse on staff. Now, I know home care licensed by the state of Washington as non-medical because it’s considered custodial in nature since caregivers perform tasks like cooking and cleaning. However, anyone who has worked with seniors knows that at some point or another the seniors will get sick or are diagnosed with a disease, they fall and get injured, and at some point they need a medical professional. You do not want an amateur business owner getting involved at that point.
So, I think if you are looking for a home care agency, look to our directory here for those that who have been vetted and meet our standards of meeting those three requirements. And if you have any other questions, please email me here at the Eldercare Channel and I’ll be happy to answer. Thanks so much for tuning in today.