Avoid These 3 Elderly Care Mistakes
Everyone wants to do their very best when providing or choosing elderly care their senior loved one. There can be so many pressures from all sides (family, friends, employers, personal finances, etc.), and your time is both limited and usually filled with raw emotions. It’s easy to make choices which may seem good at first, but are later regretted.
There are many factors to consider. Here are some important points to consider in helping you to avoid the most common mistakes and get you off to a promising start in this new phase of your loved one’s life.
Mistake #1 – Too Little Elderly Care Research
Whether it’s the type of care available or the organizations that provide that care, make sure you research your options.
You may not always have enough warning time when a loved one’s mental or physical health drastically declines. If, however, you are able to see it coming, don’t procrastinate or you will end up feeling too rushed to weigh all of your options. For instance, making multiple and unscheduled visits to care facilities can help you spot in advance the hidden problems with the poorer ones. These visits can also make you acquainted with the particulars of the exemplary ones as well. Consulting with a Senior Advocate will inform you of some options you might not have known were available. It is very important to not assume that help is unaffordable until after you’ve investigated your options with someone who is both knowledgeable and caring.
Failing to check up on the owners, the management, and the staff of a care facility or home care agency can mean contracting for poor service. In the case of a care facility, look into their typically available supplies including food quality, activity materials, linens, and more. You can check with your local Ombudsmen, Adult Protective Services Association, or a Senior Advocate for both complaints and for recommendations about various care providers. Speak to individual caregivers, or to clients and their clients’ family members. Ask about the caregivers’s job satisfaction and turnover rates and listen to their additional comments for clues that might help you to make the best choices for your loved one’s specific needs.
Failing to read the contracts can also lead to costly surprises. The fine print might specify extra fees or limitations you would not otherwise expect. For instance, some in-home caregiver agencies expect you to pay for a full day of service even if they send you an unacceptable employee whom you end up having to reject shortly after they arrive at the home. For example, Home and Hearth Caregivers offers hourly care and always lets you interview caregivers before scheduling them.
For caregiver agencies, you’ll want to be specific about language. Even if you are assured that their staff speaks English, or whatever language you require, you will still want to make sure accents aren’t so strong as to prevent clear communication between the caregiver and your loved one.
You will also want to ask in advance about backup caregivers if the regular staff is sick or on vacation; if you can’t return home when you usually do; or if you need to leave home for something unplanned. You don’t want an understaffed agency’s inability to send a fill-in caregiver to cause your loved one to be left alone. And you don’t want to be the surprise fill-in person who has to either miss work or a special event.
Mistake #2 – Not Thinking Longer Term
Resist choosing elderly care from a limited perspective. Making plans based on an underestimate of your loved one’s future care needs can lead to unnecessarily frequent changes in care facilities or caregiver personnel. Look ahead and be realistic about your loved one’s abilities in the near future. Another misguided approach is choosing a facility or caregiver that you think you would like or that your loved one would have liked a few years ago. Instead, identify candidates that your senior actually finds to be comfortable with her current or near-future situation.
Always remember that the personalities of caregivers and the way their employers treat them are the two most important factors having the most impact on the care level your senior will receive. These two factors are by far more important than the appearance of offices, care facilities, or even that of staff.
Mistake #3 – Stay With A Service That’s Not Working
A provider who fails to show true respect or is unable provide effective elderly care will likely upset rather than improve the outcome for your senior loved one.
When an in-home care agency makes no effort to schedule the same few employees to care for your loved one, the result can be constant frustration. One rule of elderly care, seniors don’t want to see a new stranger in their home every day! Alzheimer’s or dementia patients can be especially upset by not seeing the same familiar faces on a regular basis. A high turnover in caregivers can also leave you feeling stressed and wondering if your loved one is truly being cared for while you’re gone. Asking an agency questions in advance can often prevent this problem. Should, however, you find it occurring later on, don’t hesitate to change caregiver agencies.
Aging causes many seniors to share some real commonalities, but each person’s unique emotional, spiritual, and physical needs should be respected and considered when choices are made regarding the care they receive. At Home and Hearth Caregivers, we take special pride in matching our employees to our clients so that your loved one will receive the absolute best possible level of care. We also employ caregivers within a wide range of ethnicities as well as possessing second language skills, cooking skills, and other attributes that help us allow for truly great matches.