When you need to find a caregiver for a loved one, it can be hard to know where to start.
Questions abound and the number and gravity of decisions can be overwhelming. Do you use a home-care agency, hire on your own, or both? Are there safeguards to protect your loved one from being abused or neglected? What will it all cost and how will you pay for it?
Although every family has different needs, there are basic steps everyone should consider, says Jennifer Olsen, chief executive of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers.
Start by identifying and ranking your care needs. A loved one may need help with housekeeping, errands or meal preparation only, or more involved help managing medications and bathing. Higher levels of care cost more, so don’t pay for a level of care that isn’t needed. And consider how important soft skills are, such as sharing a common language, cultural and religious backgrounds.
Recognize that you may not find everything that you’re looking for in one person, so you’ll have to prioritize, especially given the shortage of home-care workers, says Dr. Olsen.