4 Important Considerations When Planning for Home Care

At some point, you may find that you need home care services either for yourself, a family member or a loved one.

While there are a lot of options, taking a few moments to do your research will go a long way in gaining clarity and helping you and your family make the best decision.

Each person has his or her requirements for the type of home care needed, so it is essential that you gather information based on the following criteria:

1. Begin thinking about home care before your loved one needs it.

You don’t want to be put in a position where you’re reacting to sudden problems. The talk is hard enough as it is sometimes, so the more priming you can do before home care is needed, the less resistant your loved one will be when the time comes.

You’ve been talking about it for a long time, so when the day does arrive, there won’t be any surprises.

2. Consider your loved one’s specific needs.

While priming your loved one for the idea of home care, you should do everything you can to ascertain what your loved one needs. Talk to him or her about daily routines, if he or she experiences trouble in the mornings, in the bathroom (either using the toilet or bathing) or in the kitchen.

Trust your eyes. How is Mom or Dad’s house looking? If it’s usually clean, but the house now looks in bad shape, the laundry and dishes are piling up and he or she is wearing the same things every day, that’s enough evidence alone to know it’s time to consider home care services.

Don’t worry: A quality home care provider will complete a care assessment and identify all your loved one’s needs. It’s helpful, though, to begin thinking through this.

3. Identify reputable home care agencies

Look up ratings online because there are many resources available to attest to the reputations of home care services. ConsumerAffairs.com is an excellent place to start, but don't let that be your only stop while doing your due diligence.

Talk to friends, family. Word-of-mouth and personal experience are valuable. Anecdotal evidence, in this case, is excellent if you have also done your research online.

Selecting an agency for home care services must be an informed decision. Contact local agencies and conduct interviews to learn more about each agency and how they compare.

4. Financially planning for home care

The cost of home care services varies significantly by location. For example, the average hourly cost of home care costs $16 per hour in Montgomery, Alabama, but $23 per hour in Hartford, Connecticut, according to the John Hancock 2016 Cost of Care Survey. So, know that where your loved one lives will play a role in cost.

If you’re paying out of pocket, Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance can help, but they may still fall short. Long-term care insurance can address that gap.

If your loved one is a veteran, be sure to check in with the Department of Veterans Affairs and explore any benefits that may help.

Finding the right home care service does not have to be a chore. With just a little time and research, you will be able to identify an agency that fits you and your loved one’s needs.

See our complete guide to paying for home care here.

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