FINDING IN-HOME CAREGIVERS
As primary caregiver for your loved one with dementia, you know what an overwhelming and time-consuming job it can be. Even with help from extended family, you may reach a point where you need to enlist the help of others — whether church volunteers or home health aides — to allow you to take short breaks or to provide ongoing help.
It’s important to know what options are available in your community for caregiving assistance. The key is to identify these options before you need them because it may take some time to implement them. Here’s how to get started.
Consider what kind of help you need
As primary caregiver, you know your loved one’s routines, medical concerns and personality. Does your loved one need:
- Consistent companionship and socialization?
- Supervision during certain hours of the day for safety reasons?
- Help with dressing, bathing or eating?
- Medical assistance with injections, a catheter or a medical device, such as an oxygen tank?
Also, take into consideration your own needs. Do you need regular help with certain household chores or short breaks from your caregiving responsibilities? Your answers to these questions will help guide you to the appropriate individuals and agencies.
Examine your options for help
Depending on your need, you have several options for help:
- Volunteer assistance. You may find willing volunteers in your neighborhood, church or workplace. Volunteers can provide companionship for your loved one as well as assist you with tasks such as running errands, driving to and from doctor’s appointments or making meals. The Area Agency on Aging’s Elder Locator may be able to help you find a volunteer. Call 800-677-1116 to find the agency nearest you.
- Homemakers/Companions. They provide home management services, including vacuuming, grocery shopping, laundry and meal preparation. We specialize in finding the right homemaker or companion for your loved one based specifically on your unique situation.
- Home health aides (personal care attendants). These people assist with personal care, such as bathing, dressing and grooming. They work under the supervision of a professional nurse or physical or speech therapist. We carefully screen and hire caring CNA’s who work with an individualized nursing case manager assigned to your loved one.
- Your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter can help you identify volunteer programs, trained individuals and the names of agencies that provide other supportive and health care services. To locate your local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, call 800-272-3900.
To help you narrow your caregiving-assistance options, consider the following:
- Specialized skills required. Does your loved one have difficulty communicating or walking, have safety concerns or need help in the bathroom?
- Time needed. How much help do you need? A few hours a week, a couple of days a week, every day, overnight or weekends? Also, factor in your own need for time to do errands and to rest.
- Best location. Where can care be provided? At home or at an elder care facility, a residential setting or a medical care facility?
- Payment options. How will you pay for the care? Check what your loved one’s insurance will cover. Consult with physician for prescriptive in-home help, such as visiting nurses. Contact an elder attorney for assistance with determining what your state allows for financial assistance and medicare/medicaid assistance. Does your loved one qualify for government assistance? If you’re planning to pay out-of-pocket, how much are you able to spend?
Develop a list of questions to guide your inquiries and interviews with job candidates. Here are several questions to get you started:
- What training have you had?
- What past in-home care experience have you had?
- What is your past experience working with someone who has dementia?
- Why are you interested in this type of work?
- What special skills do you have, such as singing, playing the piano, doing activities?
Entrusting your loved one to the care of others is a big step. We are the local experts who are experienced with all the challenges dementia presents. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. By taking the time to pinpoint your needs and identify the appropriate type of help, you can rest assured that you’re doing the best thing for yourself and your loved one. Call us today for a free consultation – 410-321-4267.