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Seven important considerations when finding care for Mom and Dad

Happy Old Couple

Hello everyone, Happy Fall! The last few months feel like a blur, but as we get back to our lives with the “new normal” you may be wondering how to take care of your loved ones.  We all want the best care for our parents and evaluating all the options can be daunting. A home health agency is a great option as care can be provided where your parents are most comfortable – in the home. Here are some tips on what to look for during when finding care for your parents. 

1. What kind of help does mom or dad need? Home health care ranges from companion care to personal care. For parents suffering with dementia or Alzheimer’s, memory care specialists are also available. Look for agencies that specialize in this area. If your parent has specific medical needs, an agency that can provide a certified nurse’s assistant (CNA) may be a good option to consider. 

2. How can I pay for care? Other than paying privately, Long Term Care (LTC) insurance can help pay for care. If LTC insurance is not an option, you may be able to turn a life insurance policy into LTC insurance. Talk to your insurance provider about options. Is your parent a Veteran, or a surviving spouse of a Veteran? There are options out there to pay for home health care, and they may receive up to $2200 worth of care every month

3. Should I work with an agency or hire privatelyThere are many care givers out there that are ready to work for you without the support of an agency. Although you may save money in the short term, you may be taking on more risk and liability than you realize. When you directly hire a care giver, you are responsible for interviewing, paying, backgrounding screening and checking references. In addition, you will be responsible for any workers compensation claims for any work place injuries. The benefits of working with an agency far outweigh the cost savings of hiring someone yourself. Most reputable agencies, hire, background check, drug test and routinely provide training to their caregivers.   

4. Should I be worried about COVID 19? Yes! As of late, most agencies have deployed frequent COVID testing and they will provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to their care givers. Most agencies will have a protocol for tracking temperatures of caregivers and clients daily. A good agency also ensures their care givers are taken care of not only physically but mentally too, so they perform at their best with their clients.  Be sure to ask your agency what steps they are taking to ensure the best safety measures.  

5. How many caregivers should I meet with? Be sure to do your homework and pick the caregiver that best suits your family’s needs. A good agency will give you a choice of two or more caregivers to meet with. This is your opportunity to ask the caregiver what activities they enjoy doing with seniors and gives your parent a chance to meet and bond with them before you commit to working with them.

6. What is a care plan? Agencies provide a care plan after meeting with you and your parents. This outlines exactly what care your parent needs all the way from activities of daily living and meal schedules, down your parent’s favorite hobbies, books and movies. This allows the caregiver to truly bond and connect with your parent.  A care plan is routinely updated based on your parent’s health and an agency works with you to stay on top of medication reminders and doctors visits.  In New Jersey, a registered nurse will help make the care plan. 

7. Does the agency have to be accredited? In New Jersey, a home health care agency is required to be registered and accredited. If your agency is not accredited ask them why, it may just be that they are new to the area and it takes up to a year to get accredited. If you know they are working to become accredited, rest assured they are a legitimate company and doing their best to achieve a high standard of care. A good agency wants to have a good relationship with you and will always be there when you need help or have questions.  

The good news is there are many options out there for you to choose from. For now, I hope you enjoy this beautiful fall and are spending this precious time with your loved ones! 

If you reside in Bergen County, New Jersey and have any questions about Senior Care or care for veterans and their surviving spouses, please reach out to us on 201 474 5400 or send us an email at info@karmacarenj.com.

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