Finding Help for Home
Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work
MAY 08, 2017
Finding good and appropriate help is never easy, and it is really difficult when you are in need of help or services at home during an illness. At a time when things are already fragile and upsetting, having to carefully consider needs, resources, finances can be overwhelming. Add to those details the worry about having someone in your home to care either for you or a loved one is tough. Is this person really honest? Do I need to be worried about anything beyond the obvious can s/he do the job? Did I adequately check references?
If you are in this market, you have already learned that insurance does not really help much. Yes, most insurances will cover the cost of a visiting nurse and possibly a home health aide for a while. But they generally won't cover ongoing services. Long-term care insurance can help, but, if you don't already have it, you can't buy it now.
This is an excellent summary article from the Family Caregiver Alliance. Even if you don't this now, you might save or bookmark it in case you do in the future.
Hiring In-Home Help
Most family caregivers reach a point when they realize they need help at home. Tell-tale signs include recognizing that your loved one requires constant supervision and/or assistance with everyday activities, such as bathing and dressing. Caregivers also find that certain housekeeping routines and regular errands are accomplished with great difficulty or are left undone. It may become apparent that in order to take care of any business outside the home, more than one caregiver is required.
Assessing Your Home Care Needs
A number of options are available for finding help at home. It is often best to start by assessing both your needs as a caregiver and the needs of the person you are caring for. There are a variety of online checklists to help you evaluate what types of help are needed. Search “assessing home care needs” on Google and in general, consider the following areas:
- Personal Care: bathing, eating, dressing, toileting
- Household Care: cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping
- Health Care: medication management, physician's appointments, physical therapy
- Emotional Care: companionship, meaningful activities, conversation
It is also important to evaluate the values and preferences of the person receiving care. He or she may be more comfortable with a home care worker who shares his or her cultural background and/or language. The care recipient may also have a preference between male and female caregivers, particularly if the worker will be helping with personal care. This assessment may also enable you to include alternative (and possibly less expensive) approaches to care such as adult day care, friendly visiting services, home grocery delivery, pharmacy delivery services, and meals-on-wheels programs. For more information on these and other services, see the FCA Fact Caregiving at Home: A Guide to Community Resources.