Determining the Kind of In-Home Care Your Elderly Loved One Needs

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When it comes time to hire an in-home caregiver to assist with the daily needs of an elderly person, it can be difficult determining what kind of care is best. You need to assess the needs of the elderly individual, their family support system, current living arrangements, insurance coverage, and economic situation. Finding the ideal caregiver for your loved one is a complex process, so don’t rush any important decisions. Take time to determine what type of care is best to ensure a smooth transition.

The First Steps

Call a family meeting. Gather all relevant family members together, and try to get as many involved as possible. The more open communication you have early on will make decision-making easier and prevent disagreements later. Let everyone express their feelings and opinions; often this gives a well-rounded picture of the type of care the elderly person requires. If appropriate, include the elderly individual in the discussion. The purpose of hiring an in-home caregiver is to help the elderly person maintain as much control over their life as possible, so the more you consult with them during this process, the better the final outcome will be.

Look into your loved one’s health insurance to find out what type of coverage they have. Determining what type of benefits they are eligible for will help you narrow down what options you have open. Explore any other available financial resources like assets, savings accounts, Social Security, or investments.

Assessing In-Home Care Needs

The three basic areas in which your loved one may require assistance are household care, personal care, and medical care. Household care may include cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, yard work, and shopping. Personal care involves dressing, eating, bathing and toileting-type needs. Not all caregivers are trained or experienced in this type of care, so be sure you explain your expectations should this be a requirement. Medical care means getting your loved one to doctor’s appointments, managing medication schedules, administering medications, assisting with physical therapy issues, and other similar tasks.

Once you’ve reviewed the type of care the elderly person needs, draft a care plan. Consult with your loved one’s physician for advice and suggestions. Consider hiring a care manager. These professionals are trained to make recommendations about needed services and coordinate with paid caregivers. Throughout this entire process, keep good notes. Whenever you talk with a doctor, lawyer, insurance company, or caregiver, write down the name, date, contact information, and important points. These files will be valuable during family discussions and for easy reference later.

When it comes time to interview different caregiving agencies, get as much information as possible. Ask about medical background, criminal checks, and always speak with several references. Never assume the caregiver or agency you hire will always do what they promise. If you don’t remain actively involved in your loved one’s care, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment – or worse.

While caregivers likely have the best intentions, lack of skills or a busy workload may cause them to forget certain responsibilities or commitments. The best way around this potential problem is by insisting on real-time visibility to point-of-care. A web-based system like ClearCare allows you to keep tabs on the caregiver – not only whether they show up on time, but also whether or not they complete essential tasks throughout the day. While most agencies require their caregivers to fill out “paper care journals,” these documents are often incomplete. The more you are involved with the actual care of your loved one, the better the caregiving experience will be.

There is no doubt that hiring a caregiver is a challenging process, but if you stay calm and organized, you will be able to determine the best type of a care your loved one needs.


  • Clear Care: Point-of-Care
  • Elder Care: Overcoming the Challenges of Long-Term Elder Care
  • Boomers with Elderly Parents: In-Home Care for Elderly Parents

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.

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