July 10, 2019

As a loving family caregiver, you want the best for your senior loved ones. You want them to remain independent, stay healthy, and live a full and fulfilling life, all from the comfort and safety of home. Now, helping your senior loved one achieve all of this? That can be a tall order to take on alone. That’s where home care can help. 

Home care and companionship care are flexible, affordable long-term care solutions, designed to empower the elderly to live independently at home. With home care, a companion can come to you, providing the services your aging loved one needs on a schedule that works for their lifestyle, and for your own goals as a supportive family member.

For the millions of family caregivers who are feeling stressed and tired, home care can be a great option. Adding a senior companion to your caregiving network can give you back valuable time to recharge, all while ensuring that your loved one is able to be social, remain active, and live independently.  

As you look into home care, it’s important to take some time to understand the benefits of this long-term care strategy, and get a handle on what it can and cannot offer. You’ll also want to spend some time looking into caregivers and companionship agencies in your area, interviewing care providers to see who will be the right fit. 

At this point, you will also want to sit down and have some important conversations with your senior loved one, including determining their care wants and needs.

Once you’ve done your research and made your choices… What comes next? 

At this point, you and your senior loved one are ready for home care. Now, it’s time to make getting started as smooth as humanly possible. As you begin working with your new senior companion or caregiver, here are eight major things you can do to prepare:

  • Collect important paperwork. As you and your senior loved one get ready for home care, take some time to gather up important documentation and paperwork, so it’s easily accessible to you, your loved one, and your new senior companion. Depending on your senior’s care needs, this may include having power of attorney forms, healthcare directives, and financial forms accessible. To help make things easier for your senior and their new companion, make sure to have an emergency contact list, medication list, and  appointment schedule/calendar on hand. 
  • Gather supplies and important items. Make it as easy as possible for your new home care provider to get their care plan up and running by having all of the supplies they’ll need on hand. Talk with your caregiver before their first visit to discuss expectations. Often, you’ll want to prepare a copy of your senior’s house keys; make sure your senior has all of their medications available and provide a list or schedule to the companion; and ensure that the fridge, pantry, and cleaning closet are well-stocked and accessible.
  • Discuss payments and money handling. Discuss payment schedules, care costs, and service expectations with your caregiver ahead of time. If applicable, provide the companion or agency with long-term care insurance information, so they can connect with your insurance provider. If relevant, you’ll also want to work with the companion to come up with a plan and set expectations for day-to-day spending. For instance, if a senior companion is taking your loved one grocery shopping, or on a museum outing, who will handle the money, and how? Do you want to see all receipts, or track payments online?
  • Give your new caregiver a walkthrough. Don’t forget to give a tour! Prior to starting home care in earnest, make sure you take some time to get your senior’s new companion acquainted with your loved one’s home, including the important areas they’ll be using day-to-day, like the kitchen, living area, bathrooms, bedroom, and laundry area. Take some time to explain your household’s process or preferences when it comes to laundry, meal prep, and housekeeping, so that your companion feels more comfortable getting started. 
  • Make a space for the caregiver. If a senior companion will be spending several hours a day with your loved one, or staying overnight, help make them feel welcome by creating a space for them to store their things, and making up a place for them to sleep or take their break. You can also feel free to set certain areas in your loved one’s home as off-limits, if preferred. 
  • Prepare your loved one’s home. Home care is all about empowering your senior loved one to age in place in comfort. As you get started with home care, it’s important to make sure that their home is going to be up to the task! Consult with your new companion or agency to see if they have any recommendations about your loved one’s living environment. Assess the space for yourself. Focus on safety. Get rid of obstacles and hazards, and clean to remove allergens and irritants. Consider making bigger changes that can enable your senior loved one to live more independently, such as adding grab bars in the bathroom and shower, adding a ramp to the front entrance, moving the master bedroom to the ground level, or so on. 
  • Have a list of questions ready to go. No matter how much work you put into preparing for home care, you’re still bound to have some important last minute questions. As you think of any topics to address with your new senior companion, jot them down, and be ready to bring them up with your caregiver. The more you foster an open dialogue early on, the better off you, your loved one, and the senior companion will be down the line. 
  • Don’t forget to take care of yourself. As a family caregiver, you may feel accustomed to always putting the needs of your senior loved one first. It can be difficult at first to let go, and allow someone else to step in and help care for your loved one. Check in with your feelings, and don’t be shy to reach out for help to your support network of friends, family, or other local family caregivers. Keep lines of communication open with your senior, and their new companion, but resist the urge to “helicopter” over things. Instead, take back this time to care for yourself, check off other important items on your to-do list, and prioritize your own well-being and peace of mind. You deserve it. 

Companions for Seniors Makes Home Care Easier, at Every Step of the Way

At Companions for Seniors, our mission is to help seniors maintain a higher quality of life by empowering them to lead an active and enriched lifestyle in the comfort and safety of home. Our aim is to help seniors live independently, connect them with their community, and nurture meaningful relationships.

Here at Companions for Seniors, providing exceptional care for the elderly is our passion. If you have any questions or want to talk about starting with home care for your family, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re always here, and happy to help guide you in the right direction. 

Locally owned and operated in Chicago, Illinois, we offer a wide variety of full- and part-time services designed to make life more convenient for your senior loved ones, and for you. We can provide transportation services, assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), meal prep, and housekeeping assistance, all on a flexible schedule that works for you. Getting started, we can provide a free in-home assessment for your loved one, and help develop a unique and personalized care plan tailored to your aging loved one’s needs. As the senior’s needs change with time, so will our plan of care. In most cases we can be up and running in just a few days, sparing you from the laborious application process, hidden fees, and extensive paperwork attached to assisted living facilities.

Curious about what sets Companions for Seniors apart? Want to talk over any aspect of home care? We’d love to keep the conversation going and help point you in the right direction. Get in touch online or give us a call at 866-910-9020 today to get started.