There has been a name coined for those who’ve been caught between aging baby boomer parents and their own families – the sandwich generation. The sandwich generation is also referred to as the “silent army” because there are 40 million Americans that provide informal care to aging loved ones without much media recognition. As a recent article states:
“Caregiving can take a hefty toll on a person’s emotional and physical health, particularly because the work can be isolating.”
Researching and finding the right mix of care for an aging loved one can be difficult. In fact, coordinating and finding elder care solutions is a booming career field, but most seniors rely on loved ones and family members for help throughout the process.
Most of the time, family members who provide care haven’t made a choice to be a caregiver, but they do the best they can to provide care. Eventually, family caregivers need help. According to a recent article, when people decide it’s time for assistance, they often find that Medicare, Medicaid, VA health benefits and/or private insurance doesn’t cover the program they need.
European countries are forging ahead with new methods and ideas for providing care to seniors, such as this village designed for people with Alzheimer’s, but the rest of the world lags far behind. In the United States, there have been several widely publicized cases where seniors have received inadequate care and protection from assisted living facilities. For people planning care, assisted living facilities is probably what comes to mind. The good news is that there are other care options, and many of them allow your loved one to stay at home:
- Day Programs – social interaction, meals and activities.
- Home Care – transportation, housekeeping, personal care, companionship, and any other non-medical assistance.
- Home Health Care – the same as home care but with medical assistance.
Family caregivers are increasingly resistant to sending parents to long-term housing and many seniors want to stay in the place they call home. Having the option to stay at home as long as possible is extremely important to a generation that, on too many occasions, had to coerce a parent to move to a facility. As baby boomers age and watch their parents struggle with the complexities of senior housing, the concept of aging in place becomes more appealing.
Why is Elderly Home Care Growing in Popularity?
Here are some things we know that help drive senior living trends: 1) The 65 and up age group is growing, quickly 2) Those who are over 65 expect to uphold a high quality of life 3) Care options have diversified to accommodate the growing demand and a wide array of needs.
Q: Why is a familiar caregiver so important?
Continuity of care is essential to providing the best service for your loved one. Because the same caregiver will be providing services to your loved, we are able to provide more comprehensive and cohesive care than would be possible in an institutionalized setting. Your loved one’s requests and preferences will be honored and understood, without the confusion of multiple caregivers. Caregivers who are in contact with their clients on a day to day basis are able to provide better care for several reasons:
- You will have day-to-day access to information about your loved one’s care, thus able to be a fully informed participant in that care.
- You can be rest assured that your loved one’s requests and preferences will be honored and met whenever possible. Because we provide unique client based care, we are able to be more adaptive than caregivers in an institutionalized setting.
- You can get to know your loved one’s caregiver and feel comfortable asking any questions that you may have. We make time to listen to you and answer your questions completely and we want you to be a part of the care planning process..
Q: How will my access to my loved one differ with in-home care?
One of the issues many families encounter in an institutionalized setting is the limited access they have to their loved one. Some facilities have restrictions on visiting hours that can make it difficult for you to have day to day contact with your love one depending on your schedule.Another issue often encountered in an institutionalized setting is a lack of private, spacious accommodation for your loved one. Many families and clients struggle with leaving cherished belongings and familiar surroundings when receiving care. Facilities lack private accommodations or adequate space to store all of your loved ones’ possessions. With care provided in-home with Extended Family Inc., you have unlimited access to your loved one, in their own home!
In-home care is beneficial not just for our clients, but their families as well. Our family centered standard of care isn’t available in an institutionalized setting. With home care from Extended Family Inc., your loved one can receive care in a dignified, private environment, with someone they know and trust. We are dedicated to providing the most compassionate, comprehensive and effective in-home care possible to all of our clients.
3 Things Every Home Care Agency Should Provide
Like we say on our caregiver’s page, “We only employ caregivers who we would entrust with our own parents.” To make sure we hire the right caregivers, I personally conduct multiple interviews that contain personality tests, as well as personal and professional reference tests. When we find a suitable caregiver, we proudly display them on our website so you can see our caregivers. We like to go above and beyond the call of duty for care, but all Home Care Agencies should provide:
1) Proper Licensing
We are licensed by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. Licensing ensures a base level of needs are met:
- Caregivers must be employees, not contractors.
- Caregivers carry Professional Liability Insurance and Bonding.
- Caregivers are professionally screened with a background check.
- The background check includes a driver’s record and requires proof of valid car insurance.
- References are also checked.
Despite these safeguards, there is still much more a home care agency needs to do in order to provide a good quality of service, such as…
During the process of researching and finding the care that is best for your loved one, we make sure the process is as easy and comfortable as possible. When you meet with an agency Care Manager during the initial assessment, you can detail what duties you wish your caregiver to perform, the hours you would like assistance, and all other details. We will discuss the level of care your loved one needs and will create a Plan of Care together outlining the specific needs.
After describing your ideal caregiver, a good Home Care Agency should match you with a caregiver and help you decide on a good fit. Though it hasn’t happened with us, if you are unhappy with the caregiver, you should have the option to report the problem to a manager who can reassign another caregiver. There should also be backup care. If a caregiver is out or sick, we provide a backup caregiver. We have caregivers who are available on-call 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
Home Care Agencies should always provide proper licensing, guidance and good caregiver choices, but there is much more they can do to ensure a high quality of service.
What to Ask an In-home Care Agency
In a recent article on caring.com, there was good advice for choosing and hiring an in-home care agency:
“A good in-home care provider will be easy to talk to, will understand your family’s unique needs, and will be ready to answer any questions you may have.”
But there is a little more to it than that. Besides being knowledgeable and easy to talk to, here is an in-home care agency checklist you can use:
- Make sure the agency is legitimate. It’s essential to make sure the agency is licensed by the state and if they have a business license in their city. These are both things that you can double check with the state and city in which you live. It’s also vital that you make sure that the care workers are bonded and and insured. The most important thing when choosing an agency: Always check documentation of both the agency and the care workers.
- Types of services offered. Ask them what type of services they offer. Services normally include care companions, personal care assistants, respite care and live-in care.
- Ask questions. When it comes to taking care of your parents, there are never too many questions, and a caring agency will take the time to answer any questions you have. Ask about how they run their business: 1) how do you screen your workers, 2) do your care workers receive regular immunizations, 3) what training do you provide, etc.
- Ask for interviews. Never be afraid to ask if you can interview care workers. You should be able to interview and choose the best person for your parents’ care. You can also ask to speak to current and former clients.
- Working out the details. Once you’ve decided to hire them and you are happy with the choice of care workers, now is the time to ask about charges, payment plans, agreements, etc.
When it comes to your parents, ask the agency whatever you feel is necessary. Keep in mind that the most important things are documentation of their agency and care workers.
3 Signs of a Reputable Home Care Provider
Legally, home care agencies must meet a few standards in order to receive their licensing. If you are inviting a caregiver into you or a loved one’s home, licensing is obviously a must, but the license is just the start of a home care business. To provide quality caregiving a reputable Home Care Agency should also provide:
1) Ongoing Supervision, Evaluation and Training
Our caregivers all undergo a comprehensive orientation process that familiarizes the caregiver with our policies and procedures. Our home care services include third party customer satisfaction surveys over the telephone in addition to internal performance assessments.
Caregiver training and certifications should exceed state requirements such as our caregivers training in dementia care offered by the Alzheimer’s Association. We are among the 3% of home care agencies that have received the Leaders in Dementia Care Certification.
In-service sessions provide ongoing specialized training and are conducted bi-monthly to ensure competency in our caregivers. These sessions may consist of topics such as:
- Dementia & Alzheimer’s
- Medication Management and Compliance
- Promotion of Consumer Dignity, Independence, Self-Determination, and Privacy
- Abuse and Neglect Prevention and Reporting Requirements
- First Aid and Home Safety
- Infection Control
- Osteoarthritis and Mobility Loss
- Hypertension/Heart Disease
- Nutrition and Diet
- Stroke Recovery
- Understanding Difficult Behavior
- Effective Communication
- Patient Safety
2) Additional Care such as Safety Inspections and Evaluations
Our home caregivers don’t just provide a service while they are present, their goal is to improve your loved one’s quality of life which is a 24-hour job. That means cleaning, cooking (with leftovers) and safety inspections. We are trained to identify and remedy safety hazards within your loved one’s home, as well as provide safety recommendations such as a medical alert system or grab bars.
3) Extensive Referrals and Good Reviews
The internet should make you feel better about your home caregiver. If you research us, you might see how we have been mentioned here in 5280. Our A+ rating is available for the world to see with the BBB. If you Google us, you might stumble upon our 5-star Google and Yelp reviews.
Here are a few things to look for in your caregiver:
- Connected – If you see a genuine connection between your caregiver and your loved one, the most important part is covered.
- Caring – Sadly, caregivers aren’t always caring. A connection can be difficult for those in the late stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia. If you can see a gentle nature and mutual respect, it is the next best thing.
- Capable – If you provide directions on how to do something, a caregiver should follow those directions to the letter or provide a good reason they didn’t. This is especially important for medical directives.
- Communicative – A caregiver should know all of the details of the care they are supposed to provide. If and when something outside of those directives occurs, it should be discussed.
- Calculated – Routines are important for aging individuals. Board games are fun, but sticking to a schedule is more important in the long term. Exceptions should be the exception.
- Careful – Accidents happen, but they shouldn’t happen when a caregiver is in charge. A major part of a caregiver’s responsibility is to ensure the health and safety of their care receiver.
Even the best care can lead to unforeseen circumstances. During caregiving, anything can happen. The question is, did the caregiver handle the situation well? Everyone has a moment where they aren’t at their best, but if overall, you remain happy with the care from your caregiver, they are probably doing a good job.
It is extremely difficult when you realize you can’t do everything for yourself or your spouse any longer. The thought of having someone you don’t know come into your home is scary and uncomfortable. Extended Family Home Care will never send a stranger to a client’s home. Rather, we personally introduce the home caregiver to the elderly client making sure that everyone is comfortable and that the caregiver is familiar with the client and the Plan of Care. We pride ourselves on our ability to carefully match caregivers with your unique needs.