It's hard enough for caregivers and their loved ones to agree that some additional help is needed. But once that bridge is crossed, the task of finding just the right person can be just as challenging. What questions should be asked?  Are special credentials required? Can we trust them? What are the laws? It's mind boggling.

That's exactly how I felt when I started out on the caregiving journey, and it is the major impetus behind Seniority Matters and our directory of service providers.

An important piece of advice I can give is: Know what kind of help your loved one needs.  I know this sounds over simplistic but take it from me, it's not.

Think about it. Is your parent lonely and in need companionship, and, perhaps a little help around the house, or with errands? Or do they need assistance with bathing, dressing, and taking their medications? There's a big distinction between these two types of needs, and the basis on which companies that provide "caregivers" are licensed. Getting the wrong type of help can not only be a waste of financial resources but deterimental to the health and well-being of your loved one.

So how do you figure it out and make sure you get it right on the first try? Here are a few suggestions.

1.   Check out the Seniority Matters Provider DirectoryIt is designed to help you to identify your specific needs. Each Home Health company listed is accompanied by a detailed list of services it provides. Some companies specialize in companion care, and others provide more hands-on and medically-oriented services. Read each service provided very carefully and think about your need for that particular service. This will help you to get to the right company the first time.

2.   Get some objective and individual advice. Unfortunately it's not always so simple. Perhaps as you read the list, you're not sure---and maybe the list raises more questions than answers. Here are some people you can turn to for answers:

  • Your parent's physician. Ask him or her their opinion. This may necessitate written permisison from your parent to speak with their physician about them. But it's good to have these forms in place.
  • If your parent has been hospitalized, try to meet with a discharge planner. Make sure you understand what specific needs your parent will have when they return home, and if they recommend a person or company, make sure they're both licensed and trained to provide the services.
  • Call us at Seniority Matters. We can refer you to an appropriate company from our pre-vetted directory, or direct you to a community program or local resource such as a geriatric care manager than can perform an independent assessment. Or maybe you just want to bounce your thoughts off to someone and get some feedback and advice. Whatever you choose, we will help you to identify your needs and access the appropriate service that will fulfill them. 

The first step is the hardest one. Don't be afraid to ask the hard questions. We're here to help you find the answers.

Tags:Aging Parents Boomers Communications

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Nancy Stein

Nancy Stein is the founder of Seniority Matters and lead author of the Seniority Matters Blog. This is where you can turn to read about new service providers, enhancements to the website, and updates and commentaries on issues and events that are of interest to the South Florida senior communities. Of course, no blog is complete without feedback from readers, so don't be shy! Leave a comment and let us know what you think

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