By 2035 there will be 78 million people in the United States over the age of 65, according to the US Census Bureau’s 2017 National Population Projections. That has many implications, including that finding affordable, quality care for older adults will become a necessity for those who have aging loved ones.
More and more people want to age at home, and there are many benefits to doing so. In addition to remaining in familiar, comfortable surroundings, aging at home is often more affordable than an assisted living facility or nursing home—and less crowded. Allowing someone to remain independent as long as possible can contribute to more confidence and self-reliance, which could alleviate developing depression and memory loss.
However, it can present some challenges to ensuring loved ones have the support they need. Finding reputable, trustworthy in-home care can be difficult, particularly for the increasing number of adult children living in different cities from their parents, who have to navigate the process long distance.
There are two types of in-home care options: home health care (assistance with medical needs) and home care (help with activities of daily living). Look for an agency that meets the desired need. Then ask the following questions to make sure it will be a good fit:
- Are caregivers or nurses available 24 hours a day? Do you guarantee replacement if an aide cannot report to work?
- Are family members included in the creation of care plans?
- How are problems addressed and resolved?
- Are caregivers vetted and trained by the agency?
- What is covered by insurance and what is out of pocket?
- Do you have client testimonials or clients I can call for a reference?
- What range of home care services does the agency provide?
Sometimes, it can be hard to even know where to start. Locally, that starting point is easy: AgeWell Cincinnati, which connects older adults, their family members, friends, and family caregivers to the services in Jewish Cincinnati that meet their needs. With credentialed resource experts, the program delivers personalized solutions—and can provide ease of mind.
One local community resource is StarPoint Home Care, a division of Jewish Family Service. Not only do they have well-trained, reliable aides who are available 24/7, but they train their employees in Jewish traditions and observances as well as dietary laws. Their caregivers can help older adults shop for and prepare kosher meals, light Shabbat and holiday candles, and get to synagogue or temple services.
“Finding reputable, trustworthy in-home care can be difficult, particularly for the increasing number of adult children living in different cities from their parents, who have to navigate the process long distance.”
StarPoint aides also: help with bathing and grooming; dressing and toileting; laundry; light housekeeping; cooking; running errands and shopping; medication reminders; accompaniment to appointments; provide companionship both in the home and in-patient as needed. Most importantly, aides can help older adults maintain their current lifestyle and stay engaged in the community.
Home care options include hiring a private caregiver or using an agency. While a private hire can be more affordable and may feel more personal, there are a few things to keep in mind:
You are the employer. There is no intermediary agency between the care recipient and the caregiver, and a private caregiver is less likely to have current training. If you decide the caregiver is not the right fit, you will have to begin searching, interviewing, and hiring someone new on your own. You will have to perform your own background checks and manage the payroll and withholdings.
You are liable if they’re injured. Private caregivers will likely not have professional liability insurance; you will be responsible for workers’ compensation insurance in case a paid caregiver gets injured in your home.
You troubleshoot scheduling conflicts. With an agency, the hiring, vetting, and training is done by them. They will schedule and provide the caregiver; if a caregiver calls in sick or cannot make it to work, a replacement is sent immediately. There is no need to scramble to find someone else to take care of your loved one on short notice. Also, if you need someone during off-hours, an agency has someone on call. If the care recipient and the aide are not a good fit, a new aide can be readily dispatched to take over the loved one’s needs.
What else? If you plan to use long-term care insurance to pay for services, it will only be accepted by an agency. In addition, caregivers with an agency are trained to be in compliance with all state and federal laws.
An agency is licensed, has insurance, and can provide a wealth of references and information about their business. It provides a peace of mind you are less likely to get with a private hire.