5 Steps to Getting Help From a Home Care Agency
A home health aide who helps provide nonmedical care to a loved one can be a great way to provide some relief to a caregiver.
Being a caregiver is a stressful, nonstop job so finding a nonmedical home care service to help out can be a blessing. But you also need to find the right person to care for your loved one.
Here are five steps to take to help you find a home care aide who can provide some much needed and well-deserved relief.
The pandemic and a shifting job market have made it harder to find home health aides. Plus, "the first person you hire may not be the best fit, and the first schedule you create may not be what you need long term," says Christina Irving, client services director at the Family Caregiver Alliance.
The agency is responsible for conducting background checks on the aides. Ask what it checks. You need to be able to trust this person around your home. Because caregiving is physically demanding work that can sometimes injure the caregiver, make sure the agency is licensed, bonded and insured. You should also check with your own insurer if you need to make changes to your home or auto coverage. For example, most aides have their own cars to drive your loved one around, but if an aide will be using your vehicle, you will need to add them to your policy.
Sell the Idea
The person needing the care may claim they don't need an aide. Tell them it's to help the caregiver or have a doctor, care manager or some other authoritative figure say that an aide is necessary, suggests Connie McKenzie, president of the Aging Life Care Association. Emphasize that the help doesn't have to be permanent, or call the aide a housekeeper, adds Irving. That way, "it's not about the individual not being independent but to help the household."
Find the Right Person
Consider aide characteristics, like gender, that might make an outsider more acceptable to the person needing care. Look for someone who shares some of the same hobbies. Irving had a client whose mom liked playing a particular card game, so they found an aide who knew the game and could play it with the mother.
Be on Hand the First Few Sessions
"You want to observe them and make sure they are taught any specific care needs that are unique to the individual being cared for," Irving says. After that initial training, the family member can come in and out. Don't be present for an entire shift, she says, because "the person needing care may continue to rely on the caregiver and not turn to the home provider for help."