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Home Care Checklist: What Questions to Ask

Here’s what to ask to make sure your loved one gets the best care possible.

As we get older, day-to-day activities can become a challenge. At a certain point, whether it’s for you or a loved one, it may be time to think about finding a home care provider.

The right senior at-home care provider can help ensure that both you and your loved one can continue to enjoy a high quality of life.

But when it comes to choosing a home care provider, how do you make sure you find the right one? Here are some things to consider, and a checklist of questions you should ask.

What senior home care provides

Senior home care helps fill in the gaps that start to form as people get older and daily activities like getting dressed, bathing, eating, cleaning, and running errands become a challenge. As the name suggests, one of the great benefits of home care is that you have a professional caretaker coming to your home, rather than having to move somewhere else.

In addition to helping with specific tasks, home care can also provide critical companionship to older people. Social isolation is a real issue for many seniors, and studies have shown that seniors who are lonely and socially isolated die sooner, and have a higher risk of dementia, heart disease, and many other ailments. Having a caregiver that is checking in on your family member regularly not only means better care, but more social interaction.

To get an idea of what a high-quality home care business should provide, you can take a look at our home care services. Notice the focus on client safety, proper training and certification of our caregivers, and consistent caregiver placement.

Home Care Checklist

Important questions to ask about at-home care

When looking for a home care provider, there are key questions you should ask to get a feel for whether a provider is a good choice for you. Make sure you get satisfactory answers to all your at-home care questions before making a decision.

The right questions to ask can be divided into two main categories:

1. Questions about the business

Important questions to ask about the home care business include:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • What makes your senior home care business different from others?
  • Do you have a waitlist for care services?
  • Are you licensed and insured?

You want to get a good feel for how experienced a home care business is. Making sure they have a track record of high-quality care means they are a lot more likely to provide you with the care you will expect.

Every business will have a pitch for why they are the best, but what they choose to highlight can tell you a lot about whether they really have something different to offer.

Finally, ensuring the business is properly licensed and insured seems basic, but unfortunately not all home care businesses are.

2. Questions about the caregivers

In addition to general questions about the business, you want to ask some specific questions about the caregivers, including how they are trained, vetted, and what you can expect in terms of time and access.

Important questions to ask about the caretakers specifically include:

  • How often do your caregivers complete training? By who?
  • How do your hours work? Is there a minimum each week?
  • Will the same caregiver come or will it be different each week?
  • What background checks do you have in place for your caregivers?
  • Who do we talk to after hours about urgent issues?

Things such as the frequency of training and number of hours caregivers work each week can lead to big differences in the service you receive—and it’s unfortunately where some home care businesses try to cut corners.

Finally, issues like whether you will be assigned the same caregiver each week or not can have a big impact on the quality of care. Having the same person each means they will get to know you and your family, your individual needs, and can build a relationship with you. That’s just not possible if it’s a new face every week.

what to ask when looking for home care

Decide what additional care services you need

In addition to questions about the business and caregivers, you’ll want to ask questions about specific services. So before choosing a home care provider, it’s important to sit down and ask yourself what home care services you or your loved one will need.

Each senior is different, and not every home care provider may offer everything you want, so it’s important to have a list and ask relevant questions about each item you’d like.

As mentioned earlier, senior home care can be divided into four main categories:

Personal care

Personal care includes things like:

  • Bathing and toileting
  • Dressing and grooming
  • Bedtime support
  • Feeding
  • Incontinence care

Housekeeping

Housekeeping services include activities such as:

  • Light cleaning
  • Cooking and dishes
  • Laundry & ironing
  • Pet care
  • Trash removal

Companionship

For many seniors, social isolation is a real problem and one that only tends to get worse with age. One of the most appreciated services a caretaker provides is companionship. Just having someone around to talk to on a regular schedule can make a big difference. It provides things like:

  • Conversation and social interaction
  • Emotional support
  • Activities
  • Monitoring and protection

Errands/Transportation

Finally, a caretaker can help with things outside the home that you or your loved one may not be able to do anymore, or just want help with:

  • Doctors appointments
  • Grocery shopping
  • Prescription pick up
  • Personal appointments and events

RetireEASE Checks Off Your Home Care Checklist

Choosing a home care provider is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for the care and happiness of seniors later in life. It can seem overwhelming, but arming yourself with the right questions can help you focus on what is important and narrow down your options.

If you’re thinking about home care for someone in your family, RetireEASE provides families throughout the Midlands quality-trained caregivers and comprehensive home care service options from a locally family-owned care provider.

If you’re looking for high-quality, personalized senior home care in the greater Columbia, SC area, we’d love to talk. You can contact us here.