By Leslie Anderson, Contributing Writer
REGION – Home is a place like no other. It is the place where a person’s life foundation is constructed. It is the place where one returns at the end of the day. Understandably, home is also the first place you think of when pondering proper care for yourself, a spouse, or aging parents. And with people living longer, increasingly there’s two generations of older adults in a family – children in their fifties and sixties, and parents who are in their seventies, eighties, and nineties.
Fortunately, living at home during our later years has become more of the norm than the exception. And finding the best home care has become easier. But how do you go about finding the best home care for you or your loved ones?
Elder services organizations
One way is to contact one of the 25 Massachusetts Aging Services Access Point organizations, such as Elder Services of the Worcester Area, Baypath, which serves MetroWest communities, or South Shore Elder Services in Braintree. The process starts by contacting one of these agencies and being assigned a case manager. Then an assessment by the case manager at the potential client’s home is scheduled. From there eligibility for services is determined, and the agency can make recommendations and help coordinate services.
Additionally, you can take a few other routes.
Select a caregiver agency
One option is to find and narrow down a list of agencies by location, offered services, and client reviews. A positive aspect about agencies is that most require their caregivers to be licensed. Plus, they would have conducted the necessary background checks. Furthermore, family members can request this information while interviewing an agency’s representative.
Contract directly with a caregiver
This measure allows more management on the client’s part but presents more of a challenge. Family members would have to request (and possibly pay for) the background check. Along with this, they would have to conduct all interviews and scheduling.
Nonetheless, this option also offers many rewards when it comes to finding the perfect fit for whoever needs care. Furthermore, another step can be added to the vetting process which includes a visit with the client and his or her relatives in the home. Those who oversee the selection of a caregiver can see firsthand how well the situation would work.
You don’t have to post a job ad in the local paper to find a caregiver—though that is a viable option. Potential clients can find caregivers through sites such as care.com, joinhonor.com, and carelinx.com. A bonus to such sites is that they have already conducted the background checks and vetting. However, the caregivers present their own profiles and outline their services. Thus, the client still contracts directly with the caregiver.
Attempting to coordinate all care
Managing all aspects of care is possible but contains more complex obstacles. However, with careful planning and communication, barriers can be overcome.
For example, relatives who live in the same area as the elder needing services can coordinate with each other and plan a schedule of shifts. In addition to the “core team,” the caregivers can seek out respite through additional family members and friends. If communication is clear and consistent, loved ones would be cared for by those who are most familiar to them. Vetting would not be necessary.
Along the same lines, a combination of family members and hired caregivers offers a viable and affordable option. One individual or a small group of individuals would not have to go it alone while caring for aging parents. A trusted team, overseen by the family, would be in place.
What would this situation look like? As an example, the family cares for Mom and Dad during the day, and the home care person takes over at night. Or the opposite can occur. Nonetheless, flexibility can make this scenario work out for the person in need of care.
Finding the best home care for parents or for yourself can be a challenge. However, you can consider and even try various options for providers. With some help from loved ones and professionals, people can determine the best home care option for their families.
To find the Massachusetts Aging Services Access Point organization that serves your community, go to: www.mass.gov/location-details/aging-services-access-points-asaps-in-massachusetts.