Last updated on December 14th, 2023 at 11:00 pm
As life unfolds, many of us will encounter the need for long-term care services, whether for aging, recovering from surgery, or specific health challenges. At Sunrise Services, we understand the importance of making informed decisions about your loved one’s caregiver.
In this guide, we will give you valuable insights on how to choose the right caregiver for your loved one. The first thing you need to consider is the level of care you or your loved one needs.
The decision to hire a caregiver becomes crucial when an individual’s care needs exceed what their family can provide alone. Signs that it’s time to consider home care or assisted living include:
- Growing care needs
- Caregiving becoming a full-time job for a family member
- Special care requirements beyond family capabilities
- Lack of mobility interfering with the individual’s social life, creating a need for increased social interaction to combat loneliness and depression
Don’t hesitate to seek caregiving assistance when needed. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 70% of adults over 65 will require long-term services at some point.
What Level of Care Do You Need?
Many people seeking a caregiver assume they can use a home caregiver service. However, that’s not always an option for people with more significant care needs. You or your loved one may need to move into a facility that offers more comprehensive care, such as an assisted living home or a specialized adult family home.
Home Care vs. Assisted Living
Home care is a versatile caregiving option designed to assist individuals with daily living tasks while allowing them to remain in their own homes. It covers a broad range of services tailored to individual needs:
- Assistance with bathing and getting dressed
- Housekeeping tasks like cleaning, laundry, and yard work/li>
- Cooking or meal delivery
- Medication management and reminders
- Accessing healthcare, including transportation to medical appointments
- Regular companionship
The primary goal of home care is to help individuals live safely in their own homes, avoiding unnecessary hospitalization and promoting independence.
Assisted living occurs in residential settings with additional amenities. These homes generally include more direct access to health care and round-the-clock care, as well as everything a home caregiver would provide and more — including exercise opportunities, community activities, housing, meals, and daily personal assistance.
Choosing between home care and assisted living often depends on the level of care a person needs. Home care is usually preferable for people who need minor to moderate assistance or short-term care, allowing them to stay in familiar surroundings. Assisted living is suitable for individuals needing 24/7 supervision and extensive care beyond what their family can provide.
Adult Family Homes
Adult Family Homes (AFHs), also known as Adult Care Homes or Residential Care, are homes that provide care for a small number of residents. They offer a comfortable living space where older adults and people with disabilities can receive the care they need in their daily lives.
AFHs offer many of the same services as home care, plus room and board as well as access to social services. Many AFHs also offer social activities, which can be a large advantage over home care.
In Washington State, AFHs are required to be licensed through the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). They are usually operated by caregivers, medical professionals, or para-professionals such as certified nursing assistants. Every staff member at an AFH must be certified in caregiving, CPR, and first aid.
Some AFHs specialize in certain populations, such as people with memory loss or people who are dependent on insulin. Three specialty certifications can be noted on a provider’s license in Washington State: Developmental Disabilities, Dementia, and Mental Health. You will need to check with the individual home provider to find out what services they offer.
AFHs provide a home setting that many people find relatively familiar, comfortable, and secure. They can provide the adults living in the home with one-on-one attention, and some of them even offer round-the-clock care.
AFHs are often a good choice for people who have less predictable care needs. However, they may not be able to offer sufficient care for complex medical issues or for people who pose a safety risk to others or themselves.
Mental Health and Caregiving
Finding care can be more complicated for individuals with mental health concerns, but there are still plenty of options. Many home care providers and residential spaces offer support by monitoring mood, assisting in recovery, and providing companionship. Some specialized residences can offer more in-depth mental health care in the home.
At Sunrise, we can help you find a good care option for you or your loved one with mental health concerns. We help individuals throughout the Puget Sound area. Contact us today if you need help finding care resources.
Is the Caregiver Trained and Certified?
When choosing a caregiver, it’s important to check that they are trained and certified. Look for the term HCA-C (Home Care Aide-Certified) in Washington State, which indicates 75+ hours of proper training and certification. You may also want to consider:
- The caregiving agency’s reputation
- Alignment with your financial situation
- A caregiver who measures success by their clients’ health and happiness
Take the time to assess your comfort level with potential caregivers, and don’t hesitate to request a replacement if needed. Hiring through an agency can simplify processes such as pay, taxes, scheduling, and insurance.
Is the Caregiver Committed to Your Loved One’s Health?
Beyond training, the caregiver’s commitment to your loved one’s health is crucial. Look for caregivers who prioritize the well-being and happiness of their clients. Before hiring them, check that they have the expertise and willingness to handle whichever specialized tasks your loved one needs.
Home Care Financing Options
Home care can be expensive, but there are often financing options available:
- Life insurance policies
- Home equity loans
- Assistance through Medicaid, Medicare, or other government programs
It’s important to check that the chosen agency or caregiver can work with your financing methods. While Medicare covers certain skilled care services, it may not cover every type of care you need.
Looking For a Home Care Agency in Western Washington?
Sunrise Services provides compassionate home care, adult family homes, health homes, supported and community living, and other services throughout the Puget Sound Region. Our goal is to maximize independence and comfort for each individual we serve. Contact us today to see how we can help you find the right caregiving partner for your loved one.