Aging In Place

9/23/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

When an aging loved one needs at-home assistance, it’s important to find the best care for them and their needs. It can be tough to choose the best home care agency, and know that they’ll be a good fit. So we look at how to choose a home care provider for your loved one, what to look for in a home health care agency, and additional tips for home care.

A home care agency is a licensed business providing trained caregivers to work in aging adults’ homes. Depending on the specific agency and the senior’s needs, the agency could offer light medical care or non-medical assistance.

Choosing the best home care agency is important. You and your family need someone to help your loved one by preparing meals, doing light housework, assisting with personal care, or taking them to appointments.

Because a home care agent will be spending a great deal of time with your senior loved one, you want to find one that offers the best care in a kind and friendly manner. Fortunately, you can take steps to help you choose the best home care agency to meet your loved one’s needs.

Here’s how to get started.

Get recommendations

Recommendations are an excellent start toward finding a home care agency. You can ask family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers for recommendations since they may have arranged home care for a loved one or at least might know someone who has needed in-home care.

You can solicit suggestions from medical professionals such as your loved one’s doctor, nurses, and anyone who works in this field. Also, consult community resources, such as the local Agency on Aging. The U.S. Administration on Aging’s Eldercare Locator is yet another way that connects older adults with the services they need and help them choose the best home care agency.

Those with specific medical conditions could ask for recommendations from associations connected with the condition, such as Alzheimer’s Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and American Parkinson Disease Association. While they may not give a specific referral, they can tell you where to start or suggest the questions to ask agencies about caring for someone with the illness.

Determine the kind of care your loved one needs

Home care is typically categorized as non-medical or skilled nursing care and therapy. Before making any calls, you and your loved one should talk about which type of care will allow them to live at home.

Maybe they require a bit of help with household chores or grocery shopping. Or they may need assistance with bathing, medications, or any of the activities of daily living. This non-medical support would come from a certified nursing assistant or a trained care professional.

On the other hand, skilled nursing care and therapy are prescribed by a doctor and administered by registered nurses and professional therapists. This type of care is provided for those with a long-term illness, an underlying health condition, or, in some cases, for clients recovering from illness, operations, or injuries.

Do the research to choose the best home care agency

After you decide what types of home care services you need, you can look for an agency to meet those needs. Begin by researching the providers that meet the criteria to ensure your loved one will receive high-quality care.

Find out how long they have been providing care. The provider’s time in business should give you an idea about their experience level and long-term success. Companies with a long track record have probably learned how to address the most complex issues. However, remember that longevity itself does not always guarantee the best service for your loved one.

Sometimes, the newest home care agencies have more innovative solutions, including advanced home health technology. Since some things are learned only with practice, you want to be assured they have had the necessary experience and combined it with the latest technology.

Interview the top agencies

Once you’ve narrowed your options to the top handful of agencies, start calling them and scheduling in-person interviews. This interview allows you to determine which agency is the best choice before hiring them. Here are a few potential questions to consider for the discussion:

  • Do you employ experienced caregivers?
  • Do you perform background checks and require drug testing?
  • How do you train and test your caregivers?
  • How will you ensure the caregiver is the right fit for my loved one?
  • Will my loved one have the same caregiver, or will various people be in and out of the home?
  • Who will supervise the care my loved one receives from your caregivers?

Choosing the right home care agency is an important decision, deserving of all the time it takes to examine your options. Ask questions, and request more information if you don’t get the answer you want. Make sure the agency you choose will provide the level of care your loved one deserves. 

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff