June 26, 2019

You know it’s time to get help caring for your senior loved one — so where do you get started?

For the millions of family caregivers across the country, this can be a daunting question. As a family caregiver taking care of an elderly parent or another senior family member, it’s only natural to want to help provide support and care for as long as possible. Often, however, family caregivers find that the responsibilities of senior care are just too much to take on alone.

Many family members start to notice “yellow flags,” suggesting that their senior loved one needs more care than they can give on their own.

For others, the decision to reach out for help comes after stress and burnout take their toll, and begin to impact their personal life, health, and well-being.

For many members of the Sandwich Generation, there comes a point where the realization settles in that there are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done alone.

At this point, many people begin their search for senior care. Now, all too often, this important process raises its own set of challenges. Do a little research, and you’ll find that there are many senior care options out there. Many different sources provide different ideas, or even conflicting advice. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed!

As a family member looking for assistance caring for an aging loved one, finding the right solution is often going to mean finding the right care process — and the care provider — that will be the best fit for you, your senior, and the other members of your caregiving network.

While it can be daunting, know that by even getting started with this search, you’re making a giant step forward. Planning for long-term care and support for your senior loved one can be tough. We know that this is an emotional process, and that it can be time-consuming. Remember to recognize that reaching out for assistance is a sign of strength. In the long run, starting your search for senior care help may just prove to be one of the best decisions you will ever make — for the sake of your senior loved one, and for your own peace of mind!

Let’s see if we can help to simplify this process. Getting started with senior care will come down to understanding your family’s unique needs, looking into local care providers, and finding the right match for you and yours.

Here are five steps to take as you start searching for senior care services near you:

1.) Look Into Your Long-Term Care Options

According to recent findings, about 70% of older adults can expect to use some type of long-term care during their lifetime. As a family caregiver looking for services and support on behalf of your senior loved one, it’s important to remember that there are different types of long-term care services available.

Ultimately, finding the one that’s right for your senior loved one is going to come down to understanding their wants and needs.

For instance? For senior adults who need significant health care and ongoing treatments, an in-home nurse may be the right fit. For others who cannot or do not want to live at home any longer, transitioning into an assisted living facility may be the right course of action.

In many other cases, in-home care — also called non-medical home care — may be the proper way forward. This arrangement allows older adults who are relatively independent to remain in the safety and comfort of home, supported by a companion or caregiver who works on a part-time or full-time schedule. Home care is often significantly more flexible, affordable, and convenient than other costly, institutionalized care options.

With home care, an experienced professional caregiver can assist older adults with activities of daily living (ADLs), like grooming, sitting and standing, and dressing. A companion can also lend a hand with meal prep, provide assistance with housekeeping, and offer driving services. Just as importantly, this caregiver can be a true friend, helping older adults to stay social and keep in close contact with a trusted, friendly face.

2.) Know What You’re Looking For

Often, when starting the search for senior care, it’s easy to get so bogged down by the little details that you end up missing the big picture. At the same time, searching for help can also mean going down lots of little tangents, without ever actually reaching a solution.

As you begin your search for senior care, keep it simple. One of the most effective first steps you can take is to list out your wants and needs in a senior care service or agency. The more you and your elderly loved one brainstorm ideas early on, the more productive your research and conversations can be down the line. Working with your senior loved one and other decision makers, jot down a list of what you’re looking for, asking questions like:

  • What are our parent’s or loved one’s day-to-day care needs?
  • What does our typical schedule look like? How much time do I need for respite as a family caregiver?
  • Realistically, what level of care does our elderly loved one really require?
  • What kinds of personality types will be a fit for our senior family?
  • What is our budget, and what are our preferred payment options? Will we need to use long-term care insurance?

3.) Talk to Friends, Family, and Trusted Sources

As you start searching for senior care, don’t be afraid to reach out to people you trust to get their opinions. A recommendation that comes from someone who knows you and your senior loved one could go a long way toward helping you find the personal solution you’ve been looking for!

Your church or temple, or a local community center, may have listings of recommended senior helpers, for example. If you’re a member of the Sandwich Generation, you may have other friends and neighbors who have also found themselves right where you are. Don’t be afraid to ask for input or insights, to see if there are any care providers that come highly recommended near you. Your senior loved one’s doctor or specialists may have some partnerships with local companionship services worth exploring, as well.

Asking around and getting personal recommendations can be a great way to start your search, allowing you to find options that you can look into in more depth later.

4.) Look Online

Starting your search for home care, or another senior care service? These days, many of us are bound to start the process by picking up our smartphone or opening up a new internet browser window. The internet can be an effective resource for finding care providers — but it’s important to know what you’re looking for, and where to look.

In many cases, you may want to look for care providers using review sites and services, such as Yelp, Facebook, or Google Reviews. You can also check with services like the BBB, to ensure that the company you’re researching is accredited and legitimate. As you find new providers in your local area, you can continue to explore your options by researching them on social media, or exploring their company websites. As you look around and start to find more information about a care provider, ask yourself:

  • How much information is out there?
  • Is this person or organization easily accessible, across multiple channels?
  • Do they seem trustworthy and honest? Are they forthright about things like pricing, accepted payment options, and the services they can offer?
  • Are there positive reviews and testimonials out there about this brand?
  • Do they seem committed to providing education and resources?
  • Are they easy to contact?
  • Does it seem like their service offerings will align with your needs?

5.) Plan the Questions You Want to Ask

Whether you’re reaching out to a prospective care provider, or sitting down for an interview with someone you’ve already looked into, it’s important to know what questions to ask.

The most important thing to remember? Don’t be shy, and don’t hesitate to speak up! Getting answers is a key step in the process of getting help for yourself and your senior loved one, and it’s important to get a sense if the company or individual is ready to listen, respond thoughtfully to your ideas and requests, and really make care a two-way street — as it should be.

When you talk to caregivers and other senior care providers, be ready to ask questions and find out more about the topics that matter to you, like:

  • Professional certifications, associations, and accreditation
  • Staff training requirements
  • Insurance, bonding, licensing, etc.
  • Past experiences, reviews, and references
  • Information about costs, payment policies
  • Availability and scheduling
  • Experience and personality

Starting Your Search for Chicagoland Home Care? Get In Touch With Companions for Seniors

At Companions for Seniors, our mission is to help seniors live independently and with dignity in the comfort of their own home by empowering them to lead an active and enriched lifestyle, connecting them with their community, and nurturing meaningful relationships.

We are locally owned in Chicago, Illinois, with clients in both the city and suburbs. All of our companions are trained, bonded, and insured, and we offer personalized care plans to ensure that every client’s specific needs are met. Companions are available on a full- and part-time basis, and can offer assistance with activities of daily living, housekeeping, driving services, and so much more.

Have any more questions about finding the right fit for your senior loved one’s care needs? Looking for an experienced guide to help you find the solutions that will work for you and yours? At Companions for Seniors, caring for the elderly is our true passion. We’re always here to lend a hand and field any questions you may have, and we’d love to keep the conversation going! Don’t hesitate to reach out online or give us a call at 866-910-9020 today!