We’ve all seen the commercials and pop ads for senior care in-home care and live-in care. We all know someone who has an elderly parent or loved one who is going through an illness or needs help getting around their house.
We all know that the baby boomers are reaching the age where the thought of moving into a senior living community or getting help with daily activities is overwhelming. But what exactly do you know about live-in care? When it comes time for you to hire a live-in caregiver, would you know where to start? Would you know how much care your loved one would need? What activities the caregiver will do?
Let’s start with the definition of a live-in caregiver. A live-in caregiver is someone who is trained to provide care for a senior who cannot do everyday tasks such as:
- Brushing teeth, bathing and/or dressing
- Preparing meals
- Taking medication (on time and the right dosage)
- Handling the stairs by him or herself
- Driving to appointments or running errands
- Doing the dishes or laundry (keeping the home clean)
The live-in caregiver can provide round-the-clock care or care for just a few hours a day in the senior’s home. Having a caregiver come into the home is less stressful than having the loved one move into a nursing home or an assisted living facility.
The caregiver can be a certified nursing assistant, a licensed practicing nurse, a home health aide, a registered nurse or someone who has received specialized training from a home caregiving agency.
It is crucial that the senior and the caregiver have a good rapport from the start. And it is also crucial that the loved one and family approve of the caregiver.
Here are Ten Things You Should Know about Live-in Care
There are numerous ways to find a live-in caregiver: home care agency, nursing registry, referrals, the local agency on aging and online job boards. But when you are ready to hire live-in care, here are ten things about the live-in care you should know:
- You need to create a care plan for your parent or loved one to determine the number of hours of care are needed and what daily activities will need to be done (i.e. grooming).
- Medicaid can help pay for a live-in caregiver.
- If hiring privately, the caregiver candidate should come to the interview with a social security card, valid driver’s license, a list of references and a resume.
- The caregiver should have a background check done before considering them for the position.
- There are many care services a caregiver can provide, such as live-in care, respite care, in-home care, medication management and personal care. Make sure you ask your caregiver what services he or she provides.
- You need to check in with your parent or loved one, meaning stopping by unannounced to see how your loved one is doing, how he or she is getting along with the caregiver and checking the home. Does your loved one have a change in appearance and/or mood? Are there services not being done (e.g. light housekeeping)? How does the caregiver speak to your loved one?
- Many in-home health care agencies have a procedure for matching clients with caregivers. Does the agency you have chosen have one? What is the success rate?
- If you have a live-in caregiver whose shift is at least 12 hours, you will need to provide the caregiver a place to sleep, towels, beds sheets and blankets.
- If hiring privately, there will need to be a legal agreement between the client and the caregiver. The agreement states what is expected of the caregiver and of the client. It will also clearly state the specialized care for the client (e.g. dementia or incontinence).
- There will be resistance from your loved one when hiring a live-in caregiver. This is an emotional issue not just for your loved one, but for the family members as well. It is important to talk to your loved one about the idea of a caregiver prior to hiring one and then ease into it by letting your loved one make some decisions during the process.