Find Senior Care
More than 41 million people in America have chronic health conditions that limit their ability to perform activities necessary for daily living, according to information from the University of California’s Institute for Health & Aging. Of that number, almost 12 million cannot live independently. One in five elderly people are 85 or older, and half of these citizens are impaired enough to need long-term care; that is, personal help that allows them to do routine tasks such as dressing, eating, and bathing.
While most people want to remain in their homes as long as they possibly can, it’s not always possible in the absence of outside help. Many elders who need help with daily activities rely on care provided by friends and family members, but families and seniors are increasingly recognizing the advantages of hiring in-home caregivers. These professionals allow seniors to stay in the safety, comfort, and familiarity of home, and they provide families priceless peace of mind. In many cases, state and federal government agencies have set aside funds to allow people who couldn’t otherwise afford it to get outside help. In this guide, families can get ten tips on finding senior care online.
Determine the Senior’s Needs
The process of finding a senior caregiver starts when the family makes an objective, honest list of the support and services the senior needs, both now and in the future. Maintaining a measure of independence, getting assistance with hygiene and dressing, managing the administration of medicines, and keeping people safe are all important tasks, and knowing a senior’s needs ahead of time can help families define their budgets and their options.
Set a Budget
Next, family members need to decide how much they can afford to spend each month on senior care. Unlike assisted living facilities, where the expenses of homeownership are often included in the price, budgeting for in-home care is slightly more involved. During the planning stages, families should be aware of other helpful financial resources, such as veterans’ benefits and long-term care coverage. Not all of these resources are heavily advertised, but all can help seniors and their families.
Location is an important consideration in the real estate market, and it’s equally vital to those looking for in-home senior care. In most cases, families should look for caregivers who live nearby. When families use our site to sort caregivers by ZIP code and other criteria, they can find the best possible care close at hand.
Make a List of Wants and Needs
When making a long-term care plan for a senior citizen, it’s important to make a list of must-have amenities and services. The list should include non-negotiable factors such as pricing and proximity, but it should include wishes as well. Families searching online for caregivers will find them offering a range of services, from light housekeeping to transportation, and not all offer the same features. By making a list of wants and needs, families can find the right caregiver for their loved one.
Read Reviews Online
Our site makes it easy to find caregivers from other major sites like Sitter City and Care.com. On the site, families can learn more about each caregiver’s references and experience. It’s important for families to verify these references and read reviews when available. While these don’t offer the full picture, families can learn what to expect from in-home caregivers.
Ask for Advice
Everyone gets older, and eventually, every family will have to decide how to help an aging member grow old gracefully. Anyone who has been through the arduous process of finding long-term care, whether it was for a loved one or for themselves, can offer beneficial insights. Similarly, families can often find reliable advice and information from the family doctor, a clergyperson, or other professional. Finally, friends and colleagues may be able to give families ideas they hadn’t heard before.
Make Initial Contact
The first list of potential caregivers can be quite long, but it’s easy to shorten that list with a few emails and phone calls. Write down some questions based on the senior’s needs, budget, and desires, and use them to select the best candidates. From there, family members can schedule in-person interviews with the most likely candidates.
Set up a Visit With Each Caregiver
In-person visits pay significant dividends when it’s time for a family to make a decision about a member’s long-term care. When visiting with a potential caregiver, watch how they interact with the senior. Pay attention to his or her speech, mannerisms, and skill sets. Ask them questions and jot down some notes, and consider bringing a relative or friend for a second opinion.
Revisit and Review the Options
After completing a preliminary round of in-person and over-the-phone interviews, families should review their notes and previous observations. Narrow the list even further by identifying which caregivers offer the services and level of care the senior needs, and schedule additional visits with these caregivers, preferably on weekends or evenings when things can get busy. By observing a caregiver during his or her busiest times, families can get an idea of how well they handle stressful situations.
Consider Seeking Legal Advice From an Elder Care Lawyer
If the senior citizen’s mental faculties are declining, it may be time to consult an elder care attorney as well as a caregiver. While some families try to handle their loved ones’ affairs without help, errors in this area can be emotionally and financially devastating. Caregiver agreements can be complicated and long, and a lawyer can help the family understand everything before papers are signed.
Caring for an aging relative can be a difficult and time-consuming process, and not all families are equipped to handle it. In-home caregivers take away some of the stress and give family members a much-needed respite, but it’s important to have backup plans in place in case issues arise. By approaching the process methodically and following the tips given here, families can turn an overwhelming task into one that’s much more manageable.