Seniors, especially those requiring memory care services, are vulnerable. It’s important they receive trustworthy, experienced and knowledgeable caregiver support. Fortunately, when you are searching senior care services, you’ll quickly find plenty of quality options are available.
The choice is yours to choose from trusted friends and relatives, free-lance caregivers or agency professionals. You’ll also be faced with deciding whether you’ll save money on a less-expensive provider, or go with one who charges more, but holds senior care training and experience.
While no one can tell you who to hire, it is wise to create a checklist to help you sort through the options as you narrow down prospects for senior care services.
Read, At Home Care Services Guide, for a comprehensive review of the types of senior care services that can be tailored to your loved one’s needs.
7 Tips for Finding a Qualified Senior Care Provider
There are several factors that should apply to the senior care options you are considering. These will help you make the best choice for yourself, your spouse or a loved one.
1. Get a long-term senior care plan
The elder care services you require now will evolve and change in response to the natural effects of aging, as well as with any existing or developing medical/health conditions.
Service providers should be able to provide you with a clear outline of how the senior’s long-term care plan will progress. This plan provides a fact-based assessment outlining:
- Where you are now
- What is expected in the short-term
- Projection of changing needs over time
- Services offered to support increasing needs
2. Always Seek Consistency and Reliability
Change is never easy for anyone, so the more consistent the senior care plan, the more secure and safe older adults feel.
Take time to assess which senior care options make the most sense for your senior now and over the course of the next 5, 10, or 15 years. The more reliable the long-term plan, the greater sense of security and peace of mind you can provide.
Not sure which type of senior care makes the most sense for your loved one? We recommend reading:
- Home Care vs. Home Health Care
- Is In-Home Care the Right Choice?
- 6 Common Problems Nursing Homes Face
3. Verify Licensure
A home care services license is required when hiring any caregiver or home senior care aide. Not only is a license a sign that the agency or caregiver is serious about what they do, it gives you a resource of who to seek action from if anything goes wrong during the course of care.
Also, there is a sense of professionalism involved with licensed caregivers because it is proof that the agency or individual goes the extra mile to fulfill licensing requirements. Licensing requirements cover the following:
- Professional training
- Health standards
- Safety requirements
A commitment to licensure also reflects a willingness to be registered with various authorities and to submit to unscheduled inspections. These are additional factors that indicate a senior care provider is trustworthy and accountable.
All licensed healthcare providers should include license numbers on their websites, letterhead, business cards, background checks and/or upon request. Licenses can be verified online or via phone. Ensure licenses are current and research whether or not there are violations associated with that particular license number.
For example, if you scroll to the bottom of the Georgetown Home Care homepage, you’ll see the text: “Licensed as a residential service agency by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Health Care Quality. License Number R3525. Virginia License Number HCO-141042. DC License Number NSA-0401.”
4. Obtain a free, no-obligation assessment
There is no homecare agency or private caregiver in the world who can give you a complete, service-relevant assessment over the phone or via email.
In-home professional assessments are critical in establishing the baseline of senior care, especially for those who want to maintain their quality of life and stay at home. In order to make recommendations, a tour of the home is necessary to assess its safety and accessibility. They may also see signs that you have missed in terms of a senior’s overall care needs.
Assessments should have no strings attached and be free of charge. If anything, you’ve gained tips for how to make the home more safe and accessible for your loved one, as well as insight on senior care services that may be helpful now and in the future to help provide the best care at home.
5. Check for industry-recognized affiliations
Just as a license is a sign of professionalism, so are industry affiliations and/or recognitions. Things to look for include local affiliations, awards and/or recognition from organizations such as:
- Uber Health
- The Better Business Bureau
- The Senior’s Choice
- Long-term Care Community Coalition
- Doctors to You
- or similar affiliations
6. Get a full list of services and referrals
If your loved one requires senior care services beyond what’s offered by your current prospects, those prospective providers should be able to offer referrals or other informed suggestions.
For example, your loved one may require medical care/treatment outside of what an in-home caregiving agency can legally provide. In this case, they’ll have specific recommendations about how to combine home health care and compassionate home care services for a better outcome.
7. Have 100% confidence
Always trust your instincts when choosing a senior care services provider. In addition to providing necessary services to keep your senior loved one healthier and more independent, you are forging a long-term relationship. As with any relationship, it should be based on trust, open communication and a sense of security.
Never feel obligated or pressured to make a quick or uninformed decision. Remember, minimizing change and establishing consistency is always the better decision. Stay focused and continue your search for the best senior care service provider.
The Best Senior Care Options for Your Loved Ones
Are you feeling unsure or confused about your senior care options, or what may (or may not) be needed at this time for yourself or a loved one? We’ll help you learn everything you need to know to enjoy peace of mind and the best care options available.