How to Find Home Care for Seniors
You or your loved one need additional care, but you don’t know how to find it.
You’ve heard that home care may be the best option, but you know that there are so many options out there — and you’ve heard stories about them all.
Is it possible to find a good in-home caregiver? The good news is …
It is possible — and we’ll show you how.
In this article, we’ll guide you through how to find home care for seniors and what other options you have for senior care. Keep reading to learn more.
Table of Contents
What Is Home Care for Seniors?
You’re looking at the different types of senior care options, and home care is something you’re considering. It’s vital that you truly understand what home care for seniors is and what it involves.
Senior home care allows the elderly to “age in place.” This means that if you (or your loved one) choose home care, you can age in the comfort of your home while providers come and go as needed.
Home care for seniors involves everything from having someone assist you with errands to providing some medical services in your home. These services are from in-home caregivers instead of in an assisted living facility or a skilled nursing facility.
Is Home Care the Best Option?
Quality care in the comfort of your home? Sounds great, right?
Although it may sound great (and for some, home care works out nicely), the reality is that home care typically isn’t ideal for several reasons.
Reliable home care …
- Can be hard to find
- Is Expensive; and
- Difficult to retain.
This makes it less than ideal for families who depend on home care for loved ones looking for quality care.
Although the idea of home care for seniors seems like a safe way to monitor seniors who live alone or need assistance, the reality is, home care can be exhausting for both the senior and the caregiver.
Because of this, reliable home care is often difficult to retain.
Another drawback …
Home care isn’t always covered by insurance. This makes it an expensive option.
Even if your insurance covers home care, you’re still responsible for the regular expenses in your home. Are you (or your loved one) able to afford their household expenses in addition to home health expenses?
If you’re still considering whether or not home care is the best option for you or your loved one, let’s look at how to find home care for seniors.
How to Find Home Care for Seniors: 3 Common Options
There are several options that seniors (or their families) have when looking for home health care.
Let’s examine each and see if they may or may not be beneficial to you or your loved one’s well-being.
How to Hire Elderly Care Option #1: Use an Agency
One of the most common ways to hire elderly care is through a staffing agency.
By using an agency, the agency typically takes care of finding the “right” caregiver for your (or your loved one’s) specific needs.
Home healthcare agencies provide seniors with medical needs assistance to find and hire home health care workers who work for the agency.
State and federal laws regulate these agencies, so you may be able to receive some financial assistance for these programs.
Challenges That Arise When Using an Agency to Find In-Home Caregivers for the Elderly
This may seem like a convenient method. But because you do not have to hire the help yourself, it often comes with many cons, including:
- Cost — Choosing home care for seniors through an agency can cost substantially more than if you were to hire home health without the assistance of an agency, or by choosing other elderly care options — like assisted living or skilled nursing facilities.
- Limited choices — When working with a home health agency, the agency chooses who your caregivers are. They may change regularly, meaning building trusting relationships with the caregiver can be difficult and often stressful for the person receiving care. No one enjoys having a stranger in their home.
- Full-time care may be necessary — Many agencies do not allow part-time care schedules. If you (or your loved one) only needs minimal care for certain hours of the day, an agency may not be able to assist you in finding care.
How to Hire Elderly Care Option #2: Use a Registry (Independent Providers)
Finding home care for seniors can also involve using home health care registries, also known as private-duty registries.
These registries connect families with independent home healthcare workers — meaning these healthcare workers do not work for an organization.
When using a registry to find home care for seniors, the process is different from when you use an agency.
Instead, you tell the registry what you are looking for in a home health provider. The registry connects you with independent health care workers who seem like the best fit for your needs.
Unlike agencies, the only time you pay the registry is if they charge a one-time fee for matching you (or your loved one) with a caregiver successfully. The rest of your financial obligation is between you (or your loved one) and the caregiver.
Hiring home health through registries can be tricky, especially if you intend to have insurance help pay for care — but several other challenges come with choosing a registry to help hire elderly care.
Challenges That Arise When Using a Registry to Find In-Home Caregivers for the Elderly
Although the idea of hiring a home healthcare worker through a registry might seem like an easy route, there are often many drawbacks to using this method for finding home care for seniors.
It’s important to consider these factors:
- Time — When hiring home care for seniors through a registry, finding care can take weeks, sometimes even months, before you find the right fit.
- Limited coverage — When using a registry to hire an independent caregiver, you’re risking not having coverage when the caregiver is sick, goes on vacation, or chooses to stop working for you. You’ll have to have a fallback plan for care.
- Hiring Process — The hiring process falls on you (or your loved one). You’ll not only have to verify that your caregiver can legally work in the country you reside in, but you’ll also be responsible for getting an employer identification number (EIN) for tax withholdings from the caregiver, including:
- Unemployment; and
- Social Security taxes.
But the hiring process doesn’t stop there. Because you’ve chosen to use a registry to find a healthcare worker, you’ll have to verify all of their credentials and take care of any background checks. This can be done through your state’s health department, but it also can be time-consuming.
- Liability — By choosing to hire home care through a registry, you may become liable for any on-the-job accidents that occur. You may even consider purchasing liability insurance to cover the home healthcare worker. Some states even require that workers’ compensation insurance be purchased.
How to Hire Elderly Care Option #3: Ask for Personal Referrals
Another option you have to find home care for seniors is using recommendations from people you know or from an organization you trust.
This option gives you more flexibility and more trust. But it also puts more responsibility in your hands versus hiring home care for seniors through an agency.
You could look for home care for senior referrals through:
- Friends and family
- Your community
- The government’s Eldercare Locator
Challenges That Arise When Using Personal Referrals to Find In-Home Caregivers for the Elderly
Although using personal referrals to find in-home caregivers for the elderly might seem like a reliable option…
This method also has some drawbacks.
Remember that every situation is different. And although home care might seem like the best option, it isn’t one size fits all. What worked for Mary’s healthcare needs may not work well for Bob’s needs.
Choosing recommendations from friends, colleagues, or family members also has the potential to hurt your relationships with those people if the healthcare worker is a bad fit for your (or your loved one’s) needs.
No matter which route you take when finding home health care for seniors, there is an abundance of stressors that may leave you questioning that you’ve made the best choice.
But what if we told you there was an easier, more reliable way to find care for seniors?
Consider If Assisted Living Meets Your Needs Better Than Home Care
We’ve mentioned that home care for seniors isn’t one-size-fits-all.
That’s true for almost every type of senior care — but there is an easier way to find reliable care that may suit your (or your loved one’s) needs better than home care.
Instead of opting for home care which can be …
- Overly expensive
- Stressful; and oftentimes
… consider assisted living facilities for your healthcare needs.
But how is choosing assisted living any better than choosing home care for seniors?
Your Efforts to Hire Elderly Care End Once You’ve Chosen a Facility
A great assisted living facility values providing seniors with everything they need to live the most independent, safe life throughout retirement.
Unlike home care, assisted living provides:
- Daily assistance with activities
- Care that is accessible at any time
And everything is included in what you pay for assisted living — no more having to pay for meals, elderly care, transportation, or utilities.
When you choose assisted living instead of home care for seniors, you never have to worry about coordinating schedules with caretakers or hiring multiple people to ensure that each aspect of life is covered.
Assisted living facilities remove the stress of finding reliable care while letting seniors live their best, most empowering life in their later years — in the comfort of their new home.
As Care Requirements Evolve, Assisted Living Can Help With Transitions
When you choose assisted living, care doesn’t stop once your loved one’s needs change.
When healthcare needs change in an in-home care setting, it means having to go back to the drawing board and find more specialized home healthcare providers on your own.
This is usually inconvenient as it takes time.. Not knowing if you (or your loved one) will have the care they need promptly can become highly unnerving.
Assisted living facilities can help with transitions when additional care is needed because they typically build connections with other types of senior care facilities, like skilled nursing.
Unsure if Finding Home Care Is the Best Option? Senior Services of America Can Provide Valuable Insight
Still debating on whether home care or a facility like assisted living is the best option? Senior Services of America can help!
The advisors at our communities are here to help you choose the best option for your (or your loved one’s) lifestyle and specific needs.
We believe in providing quality, safe living while helping seniors remain as independent as possible and continue to live purposeful lives. We are committed to helping seniors stay engaged physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Find your nearest community to speak to an advisor and learn about which setting might be best for you (or your loved one).