Visiting Angels, Punta Gorda Blog

Four Questions to Ask When Choosing an In-Home Care Agency

Most older adults desire to stay in their home as they age. However, some older adults need more help in order to remain safely and independently at home. For some, help might mean a companion that keeps you company once a week while your family caregiver runs errands or enjoys a much-needed day off. For others, help at home might look like someone assisting with bathing and dressing a couple days a week in order to prevent a fall in the shower. Still others may need temporary assistance to help them get back on their feet after a hospital stay or while their loved ones are on vacation. Whether you’re an older adult seeking help at home so as not to be a burden to your family, or you’re an adult child who is ready to learn more about how in-home care could benefit your aging parents, here are a few questions to ask when exploring home care agencies.Couple choosing an in-home care agency

What type of services do you provide?

In-home care must accommodate the types of services that you need for home care to be a good fit for your aging loved one. Before meeting with an agency, sit down with your loved one and discuss the type of care that would be beneficial. Would it be helpful to have someone that can do basic household chores or meal preparation? Do you need assistance with bathing, toileting, or dressing? Would you like someone that can keep you company throughout the week? Would having someone to run errands for you or with you provide the assistance you’re looking for? When you meet with an in-home care agency, they should review all the types of services they are able to provide and discuss a plan of care that meets your needs.

Can I meet my caregiver?

While it’s important to meet the management team of an in-home care agency, the agency’s caregivers will be the ones to provide the care services. It’s somewhat intimidating to invite an essential stranger into your home, especially for the first few visits. While all agency caregivers should be vetted and provided with on-going training and education essential to their care responsibilities, it’s important that the client and care-giver mesh well from the very beginning. Ask how you are paired with a caregiver and what happens if it doesn’t work out. The caregivers are there to serve your needs, and sometimes personalities clash. A good in-home care agency understands this and works quickly with you to resolve any issues.

How long have you been around?

In-home care agencies are popping up all over the country. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2014 the number of in-home care agencies totaled 12,400 in the United States. That number continues to be on the rise. With so many options to select from, even within a county or city, it’s difficult to know for sure if the agency you select is up to par. Ask how long the agency has served the community it represents. In-home care agencies that have been around for a few years have had time to establish them-selves within the community. While newer in-home care agencies aren’t necessarily the wrong choice, they simply have not had time to build relationships within the community nor the time to work out any kinks they may have in their provided services.

What are others saying about you?

Finally, ask to speak to current clients and families and read online reviews, not only on the agency’s web-site, but other sites as well, such as Yelp or Facebook. Ask current clients and their families about negative experiences and how the agency worked with them to resolve the issue. Also ask about positive experiences and what makes that agency special. Similarly, to longevity in the community, note how long a client has been with the agency when interviewing them. A client’s opinion who has been with the agency for many years carries more weight than a client who signed up last week.

Visiting Angels Punta Gorda understands that choosing an in-home care agency can be overwhelming and exhausting. We’re here to help you navigate the options. We offer a variety of services, from personal care to companion care, and we can assist long-term or short-term. Our team works with each of our clients to provide services that are individualized to meet their personal needs. But don’t just take our word, see what our clients are saying about us. When you are ready to take that next step, please contact us today by calling, 941-347-8288 Punta Gorda or 239-226-1620 Lee County.

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.