You’re concerned for a senior loved one who lives at home alone or with a spouse/partner (for whom you may also be concerned). Maybe you’re providing care for a few hours a day or a few hours a week. Maybe you’re checking in long-distance. Maybe your sister is the primary caregiver and she seems overwhelmed, stretched to her limits, and in need of support.
No matter where you stand, knowing when to get more help and how to start the search for home care doesn’t have to be a difficult task.
First, consider these tips on knowing when it’s time:
- If you’re losing sleep because you are worried that Dad left the stove on, or Mom wandered out in the cold at night, don’t wait for a crisis to happen before taking action. In the case of dementia or Alzheimer’s, when confusion increases and memory loss begins to impact their safety and ability to manage simple daily tasks, consider a home care companion — even if it’s just for the sake of having someone else around when you can’t be.
- Feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to help Mom with transportation to her doctor’s appointments, laundry, meal prep, and other tasks? You probably need help (or you need to delegate tasks to other family members and friends).
- Are you exhausted, angry, bitter or feeling resentful about providing care? Don’t burn out or snap at your loved one. You can’t fully care for someone else if you’re not caring for yourself, too.
- Missing your son’s basketball games or date nights with your spouse on a regular basis? Can’t remember the last time you did something for yourself? Get help.
- Noticing that Granddad’s house is messier than usual, or that most of the food in the fridge has expired, or that he’s been wearing the same clothes for days because the laundry hasn’t been done for weeks? Even if he’s healthy and able to get around with ease, he may need some basic household help. Home care can provide these services.
- Does Grandma seem lonely, withdrawn, maybe even depressed? She may need some company — and don’t take this personally — from someone other than you. Many home care agencies provide companion care services to meet this need.
Now, check out these resources for finding the right home care provider in your neighborhood:
- SeniorsforLiving.com: You can search for agencies and providers by city, state or zip code right here at our site.
- Find the Area Agency on Aging serving your county via the Eldercare Locator. These federally-mandated and state-run organizations offer a wealth of resources for caregiving families, including information on/referrals to local home care agencies. You may also be eligible for elder care financial assistance; the AAA can help determine your eligibility for a number of support programs available in the state/county.
- Support groups. From virtual forums and caregiver groups that meet online to those who meet face-to-face in senior centers, hospitals and other community-based locations, support groups are one of the best places to learn about local providers and agencies. How do you find them? Refer to this post: Support Groups Vital in All Senior Care Settings.
- Social media. Yes, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn can be used to find valuable home care information and recommendations. Check out How to Use Social Media for a Senior Living Search for advice on how to do it best.
- Word-of-mouth referrals. Ask doctors, friends, colleagues, neighbors and others you know who have researched or contracted with home care agencies before. Read When to Let Friends Recommend Senior Care for advice on who to talk to.