November 13, 2019

After carefully observing your senior loved one, considering their care needs, and starting the discussion about long-term care, your family has decided that the time is right to bring in an extra set of helping hands. Now the question becomes: how do you get started? 

It can be daunting enough to broach the topic of home care with your senior loved one and the rest of their caregiving network. Finding a home care company or senior care resource is a major step toward helping your aging loved one get the personalized care and support they need, while giving back valuable time to family caregivers who could use some respite – and this major undertaking comes with its own set of challenges. This time can be emotionally trying, and it can prove intimidating (not to mention confusing) to understand all of your options and stay on top of variables like scheduling, expenses, and so on. 

What can you do to make this process easier? Two key steps may be to determine where you can start your search for home care or senior companionship services, and then build a list of questions and considerations to bring to each prospective resource.

Starting the Search: Where Can You Turn?

Finding a home care agency or senior companion for your elderly loved one is no easy task. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of other people who have been exactly where you are now, and they’re a great resource you can turn to for assistance! There are many different ways you can ease into the process of finding help and support for a senior loved one. Often, families start the search by turning to:

Churches and Community Centers

If you’re part of a local temple or church, your faith community may be a great place to start the search for senior care; many religious organizations have relationships with senior care resources through older parishioners or community partnerships. Community centers, gyms, and senior centers in your area may also have connections and resources that can help you locate local caregivers. 

Friends, Neighbors, and Professional Networks

Tens of millions of people around the country are experiencing the changes and challenges that can come with caring for an older adult, so remember – you are not alone! While it may be difficult to start the conversation, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, neighbors, and other members of your personal network who may be able to help. You might be surprised by how enthusiastic and eager people will be to share their experiences and knowledge, including the contact information for companions or home care professionals with whom they have worked before. 

Online Resources

The internet can be a powerful tool for finding local resources! Turning to search engines, social media, and review and listing sites (such as Yelp) can be a great first step in identifying local professionals who may be able to help your loved one get the personalized support they need. Often, you can learn about a prospective senior care resource through their online presence. Do they have a lot of positive reviews? Are they easy to find on Google searches? Do they have an active and informative social media presence? Are they easy to contact, and happy to share more information when asked? 

Government Agencies and Community Resources

When you’re ready to make the first step in getting help for the senior in your life, but are not sure where to turn, remember that there are local, state, and federal resources designed to help you understand your options and begin moving forward. Here in Illinois, for instance, some noteworthy resources include the Illinois Department on Aging and the City of Chicago’s Area Agency on Aging, through the Department of Family & Support Services. If your loved one is experiencing specific health challenges, you may wish to contact an organization specializing in this area, such as your local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation or Alzheimer’s Association

What Information Should You Look For? Preparing a List of Questions

As you move further into the process, it’s important to refine your search, so you can determine the caregiver or company that will be the right fit for your aging loved one’s needs. In order to do this, it may help to start by building a list of “wants and needs” for your future companion or care provider, as well as a list of questions and qualifications that can help your get to know each candidate in a little more depth. 

To the first point? Consider what your ideal senior care resource will bring to the table, taking into account your loved one’s needs, and your own preferences as a family caregiver. Some important topics to consider include: 

  • Scheduling and flexibility. How frequently will you need your prospective caregiver to be available? 
  • Access to transportation. Do you need a senior companion who can provide safe, reliable driving services in an insured vehicle? 
  • Payment. What does this person or service charge, and how do they accept payment (e.g., cash, card, through care insurance, etc.)? 

Keep these important factors in mind as you interview and research different senior care resources. It may also help to build a list of general and specific questions to ask. Here are a few common, important questions to help inspire your personal list: 

  • “Are your caregivers bonded and insured? Have they been through a thorough background check?”
  • “Do you have credentials or certifications that I may see?”
  • “Do you have references I could contact?”
  • “Do you have experience working with clients with my loved one’s unique condition?”
  • “What got you interested in this line of work?”
  • “What are some challenges you’ve faced in caregiving? Success stories?”
  • “When can you start working?”
  • “What are your expectations about holidays, time off, emergency scheduling, etc?”
  • “What are your goals as a caregiver?”
  • “How would you respond if my loved one…?”
  • “Do you have a guiding philosophy or mission statement?”

Ready to Begin 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 homes 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 and bonded, 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 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!