NORMAN — Dear Savvy Senior, What’s the best way to find a good in-home caregiver for my elderly mother?
— Looking for Care
Finding a good in-home caregiver that’s dependable, likeable, trustworthy and affordable can be challenging, to say the least. Here are some tips and resources that can help.
Know your needs: Before you start the task of looking for a caregiver, your first step is to determine the level of care your mom needs (see NCLneedsassessment.org for a checklist). If, for example, she only needs help with activities of daily living like preparing meals, doing laundry, bathing or dressing, a “homemaker” or “personal care aide” will do.
But, if she needs health care services, there are “home health aides” that may do all the things a homemaker does. Plus, they also have training in administering medications, changing wound dressings and other medically related duties. Home health aides often work under a nurse’s supervision.
Once you settle on a level of care, you then need to decide how many hours of assistance she’ll need. For example, does your mom need someone to come in just a few mornings a week to help her cook, clean, run errands or perhaps bathe? Or does she need more continuous care that requires daily visits or a full-time aide?
After you determine her needs, there are two ways in which you can go about hiring someone. Either through a home health agency, or you can hire someone directly on your own.
Home health agencies: Hiring a certified home health agency to supply and manage your mom’s care is the easiest but most expensive option of the two. Costs run anywhere from $12 up to $40 an hour, depending on where you live and the qualification of the aide. This is also usually a better way to go if your mom requires a lot of in-home health care.