If your loved one currently resides in an assisted living community, there may come a time when the on-site care services don’t match their growing needs.
For some situations and conditions, such as a new diagnosis, changes in mobility, or the need for rehabilitation after surgery, supplementing your loved one’s care with a third-party home care agency may give them the most suitable option for continued independence. Home care services in an assisted living community allow for all unique situations to be accounted for, so seniors can age in place without the worry of moving to a memory care or skilled nursing facility. Assisted living home care services can also help couples age in place together. If one partner is diagnosed with a new condition, a home care aide can help them retain their shared lifestyle.
If your loved one needs options, assisted living home care services — meaning in-home care provided within an assisted living community — could be the solution. Home care services can help bridge the gap between assisted living and specialized care. Read on for tips on researching assisted living home health care agencies.
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Local home care agencies often partner with area assisted living communities to help seniors age in place despite minor health changes. Depending on the services required, agencies are happy to provide home care or home health care in assisted living facilities. Available assisted living home care services may include medical services as well as nonmedical services.
Some home care agencies only offer home care services in residential homes, while many agencies offer care wherever a senior lives. When doing your research, look for a senior living home health care agency that can accommodate your loved one’s specific situation and condition.
There are several types of in-home care agencies. Make sure to learn their specialties so your senior loved one gets the care they require without overpaying. To find an ideal home care aide or caregiver, it’s important to recognize what your family member needs and how an agency will address those needs.
The first step is to understand the difference between home care and home health care. If your loved one requires nonclinical assistance — such as housekeeping, companionship, help with activities of daily living, or incontinence care — they’re looking for a general home care agency. If they need clinical assistance — such as physical therapy, shots, medication administration, or wound care — they’ll need a home health care agency that provides health care by a licensed professional. Some home care agencies may have licensed professionals on staff, such as certified nursing assistants or physical therapists, so make sure to inquire with each agency to learn what they can provide.
To help ensure proper measures are taken in the care of your loved one, you should ask how assisted living home care agencies train their staff. Agencies may require their care staff to partake in specialized training programs to make sure they stay up to speed on the latest care practices.
Specialized caregiver training covers a wide range of topics:
Agencies should assign caregivers or aides based on specializations. For example, if your loved one is in the early stages of dementia, their caregiver should have prior experience in dementia care. On the other hand, if your loved one requires end-of-life care, their caregiver should be trained in supportive hospice care practices. Be sure to verify that the caregiver is trained in the needs or condition of your loved one.
When evaluating different senior living home health care agencies, be sure to find out how caregivers are assigned. Some agencies will have you fill out forms that gauge your relative’s needs, preferences, and personality, so that a good client-caregiver match is made. The agency should do its best to narrow down your search to a few aides that not only specialize in the care your loved one needs but complement your loved one’s personality.
Top home care agencies will assign more than one caregiver so care is available in urgent situations. Becoming familiar with more than one caregiver will secure your loved one’s comfort if their primary caregiver isn’t available due to emergencies, time off, or leaving the agency.
Multiple caregivers can also help make reassignment easier. If your loved one is unhappy with a certain caregiver, you should be able to let the agency know. Most agencies prioritize client happiness, so they will gladly address concerns and find a more suitable match.
A new caregiver can be worrisome: You don’t know anything about them, yet you’re trusting them to care for your elderly loved one. To minimize these valid concerns, it’s crucial to do some research on how an agency vets its home care staff.
There’s no federal law requiring home care agencies to conduct background checks, but most states do set requirements. However, some agencies will go the extra mile to earn your trust and implement thorough procedures on their own. Be on the lookout for agencies that review the following during the background check:
To ease any other concerns, be sure to ask questions you have about a home care agency’s hiring process. For example, you can ask if an agency performs its background checks through a consumer reporting agency that has been accredited by the Professional Background Screeners Association.
Collaboration is key when coordinating care with your relative’s medical and senior living care team. The assisted living community remains the responsible party in the care of the senior resident, so the hired caregiver or home aide must respect the rules and boundaries set forth by the community.
If your loved one’s assisted living facility already partners with a home care agency, then that home care team likely knows the community rules. However, if you hire a home care aide from an outside agency, it’s important that the aide, resident, resident’s family, and assisted living facility staff get on the same page. The third-party aide must also remember that they can help their client interact with fellow residents in social ways, but they should never solicit services to other residents throughout the community.
Our advisors help 300,000 families each year find the right senior care for their loved ones.
As the home care provider becomes involved in the care of a resident, it’s crucial to keep the assisted living community staff informed on any changes in the care plan and vice versa. Changes in a resident’s routine, such as new behaviors or patterns, must be relayed across the senior’s entire care team to make sure their health and well-being are prioritized.
There are thousands of home care agencies across America, so be sure to incorporate the aforementioned tips into your search. Finding an agency that collaborates with assisted living facilities, continually trains its caregivers, and has your loved one’s best interest at heart will be crucial.
Home care agency websites and brochures can help you get a gist of their values and services. From there, you’ll be able to pick out a few agencies to research further. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you can email, call, or schedule a visit with the agency directors to learn exactly how they can address your family member’s specific needs. Some agencies will even offer a free in-home visit to assess a client’s needs, environment, etc., to see which plan, services, and caregivers would best suit your loved one.
When searching for assisted living home care services for your relative, be sure to keep them involved in the process — so their needs are met and comfort is assured. If you need help finding home care services for your loved one’s assisted living facility, reach out to a Senior Living Advisor at A Place for Mom. Our free service can help you find quality in-home care providers in your area, meaning aging in place can remain easy.
The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal, or financial advice or to create a professional relationship between A Place for Mom and the reader. Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney, or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter, and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site. Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; A Place for Mom does not endorse the contents of the third-party sites.