Try as we might, we can’t always be all things to all people. One situation where that is especially true is taking care of the day-to-day needs of our elderly parents. Two of the most important issues for seniors are to remain independent and in their own homes. However, health and safety issues can sometimes make normal day-to-day living more challenging – if not impossible.
Seek Professional Help
In some cases, it may be necessary to move your parents to a skilled nursing or residential care facility. Instead, many seniors are able to remain in their own homes with the assistance of hired care providers. Hired care providers can either be independently contracted or individuals employed by a professional agency.
Hiring an independent care provider is typically a less expensive option. While there are many talented and experienced care providers who work as independents, there are certain risks and considerations to make in hiring an independent:
- You are responsible for performing a criminal background check.
- You are responsible for finding a replacement if the care provider is absent.
- You bear the burden for withholding payroll taxes, and providing state mandated workers compensation insurance coverage.
- You bear the burden for liability problems like theft from or damage to your property.
- You must verify their references and level of experience and training.
Choosing the Right Agency
Santa Cruz County is home to several agencies that specialize in providing professional non-medical, in-home care. These agencies provide a wide range of services including light housekeeping, meal preparation, laundry, transportation, medical reminders and assistance with personal care. The one-on-one services offered can continue should your parents move out of their home and into an assisted living or nursing facility.
Care providers employed by these agencies are bonded and covered by liability insurance to prevent any personal liability to you or your loved ones. Care providers are provided with ongoing training and scheduling is handled by the agency to prevent situations in which your parents might be left alone in an unsafe environment. While the services of a professional agency are typically more expensive than hiring privately, there are several benefits that come with the increased cost:
- Services are customized to each client’s needs.
- The agency provides training and thoroughly vets employees by performing criminal background, checking professional references and conducting interviews before hiring.
- The agency is responsible for all employer tasks such as payroll, taxes, workers compensation, liability insurance and bonding.
- The agency is responsible for providing a replacement should the assigned care provider fail to arrive or need a day off.
- Many agencies will offer the ability to meet and interview the care provider before beginning services.
Determine the Factors that are Important to You
Fortunately, there are an abundance of options when it comes to finding care for your parents to remain safe in their own home. Determine what factors are most important to you in selecting a trusted partner. Take your time, do your research and hopefully you will find an in-home care provider that can make that final phase of your parents life as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.