When families begin to explore care for their aging parents, a few questions come to mind immediately. What level of care do we need, and how much will it cost? Beyond this, it’s easy for families to feel unsure as to what else they should be asking or discussing. Most of us know it’s a serious discussion, but have trouble preparing ourselves and our mom and dad for the conversation.
However, this is definitely a situation where planning ahead is enormously valuable – the earlier you can have these conversations, the easier the path will be when care is actually needed.
There are some things that should be discussed as a family to get to some agreement of what you need, and why you’re exploring support. If you can do so before reaching out to an agency, you’ll be far better prepared.
Helpful tips to consider prior to contacting an agency:
- What is most important to you and your mom and dad when it comes to their care?
- Have you planned out what type of support you might need?
- Do you have a budget in mind for private care?
- Will your decision be based on price alone or quality of service; what is most important?
- Do you have an estimated number of hours a week you would like coverage?
Considering care for seniors comes with special considerations – namely, families making decisions in coordination with, or even on behalf of, your parents or grandparents. Handling this balance in a sensitive manner is key to help move conversations forward and smooth future transitions.
- Have you included your mom and dad in on the conversation prior to contacting an agency?
- How will you overcome objections from your parents about accepting help?
- Do you have power of attorney or guardianship (if you’re the one making the decisions?)
- Where do you go if you need a power of attorney? Most agencies can point you in the right direction, and have excellent contacts in the industry, so don’t hesitate to ask.
Once you have a few of these conversations, you should reach out to agencies with a list of questions. Having a checklist at the ready can ensure you review the same questions and information with all of them, giving you a comprehensive view of their services. It can also help you ensure you don’t miss getting important pieces of information about the agency itself.
Inquire about the levels of care and types of service they offer:
- Do they offer daily, weekly, casual, respite care and/or a custom schedule based on your needs?
- What do they offer for a menu plan for meals – time of day, likes, dislikes, allergies?
- How is communication handled between caregiver/agency and family?
- Will you have real time access to how the visit went with your loved one?
- How important is it that you have final say on the caregiver providing care to your parents?
- How important is it that the same caregiver provide ongoing care to your mom and dad?
Ask about hiring practices and service philosophy:
- What inspired them to work in senior home care?
- Do their caregivers require transportation?
- What qualifications do they require?
- How do they verify accreditation and experience?
- Does the agency carry insurance?
- Are your Caregivers bonded or insured for theft?
- Will they provide a written agreement with all pertinent details noted for you both to sign?
- What are the hours of operation for the agency, and can they be easily reached?
Getting the most from elder care is often as simple as being prepared, asking the right questions, and opening the lines of communication between family members and agencies being considered. Most agencies will be very happy to discuss their policies and services with you, so don’t hesitate to bring your questions to them. The clearer you can be about your needs, and the more information you get from the agency you’re considering, the easier it will be to make your decisions about next steps or future plans.
If you haven’t discussed care with your mom and dad, don’t hesitate any longer. These conversations are often easier if you have them before a decision is needed. We’ve got suggestions on how to make discussions about in-home care with seniors as easy as possible.
Have questions or feedback on what you just read? Please don’t hesitate to contact us, we’d love to chat with you.
~ Senior Homecare by Angels Calgary team