Caregivers For The Elderly

There are many choices today when seeking caregivers for the elderly in need.  And need would be determined if a senior requires assistance with one or more of the Activities of Daily Living.  Commonly known as ADL’s, these are everyday functions and activities that individuals usually do without help. ADL functions include bathing/showering, continence (controlling the urge of going to go the bathroom), dressing, eating, toileting, and transferring (getting in or out of bed or chair).

As a consideration, many long-term care policies use the inability to do a certain number of ADL’s (such as 2 of 6) to decide when to pay benefits. Persons are considered to have an ADL limitation if any condition(s) causing the respondent to need help with the specific activities was chronic, meaning, they couldn’t perform the activity daily, on their own by themselves, without help or supervision.

If a senior loved one needs assistance, then considering a caregiver for the elderly would be the most helpful option.  Specialized care providers can make home care a preferred alternative to institutionalized care.  If you are unsure as to what kind of help is needed, where it comes from and what it will cost, there are a number of online assessment tools that based on your answers, will help you determine which type of caregiver you may need.  For instance:

Home Care – Companion Helper.  These services are usually provided by a Home Health Care Agency, and provide non-medical services for an elderly individual.  Services often involve but are not limited to, companionship, errands, light housework, possible grocery shopping and/or home meal preparation.

Home Care – Nursing Services.  These in-home medical services, which are provided by a in-home nurse, are at a level much less intensive than the medical services provided in a skilled nursing facility.  Often the caregiver is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or a Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA), which have their education and skill level below a Registered Nurse.  In addition to companion helper services, they may provide help with the scheduling and administration of drugs, bathing, emergency assistance and more.

Adult Elderly Day Care.  These senior center locations provide geriatric services during the day for a senior out of their home.  Types of services include social interaction, nutrition, nursing and sometimes physical rehabilitation beyond exercise.  Often you will need to provide or find transportation to/from an adult day care facility, but more and more are providing transportation as part of their service.

To find some options for reliable and competent in-home helpers, talk to people in your personal network who have had successful dealings with service providers.  Also, ask for recommendations from doctors, licensed homemaker and home care agencies, home health care agencies, you local area agency or chapter on aging, the hospital discharge person, social service agencies, licensed nursing agencies, social workers, clergy and even employment agencies.

Another resource is the Situations Wanted section of a newspapers classified ads, or even online at Craigslist.org is an option if you’re looking to hire a private, self-employed home care worker.  Independent workers tend to have more flexible schedules and charge less than an agency, but you still would want to do a background check on anyone you hire ‘off the street’ before entrusting them with the life of your elderly loved one.  If none of these leads proves successful, put an ad online or in the paper, where you can have resumes and references sent to you for your review, before arranging a personal interview.

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One Comment

  1. Posted June 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Melissa,
    You definitely hit on some great point here!
    I would discourage people to use Craigslist for Elderly Day Care. More times that not, I have heard about seniors having a hard time and being treated poorly. If someone was to use craigslist to find adult day care, I would hope that they would send somone to check out the care center and read testimonials.
    Companion helper is a must for seniors that have lost their significant other. It can definitely help keep their spirits up!
    Have a great day

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