Setting up a professional senior care plan starts by getting to know the senior and their family caregivers — their health, their lifestyle, their goals, and more. The more information we have, the more effective we can be in creating a customized care plan that is tailored to the senior’s wants and needs.
Getting started with a care plan usually begins with asking a lot of questions.
Once we have this background information, we can start finding the best way forward — including matching the senior with the caregiver who will be the right fit; getting the senior’s entire “caregiving network” on the same page; and finding ways to connect and start communicating.
So, what type of questions can you expect? Getting started with in-home care will generally involve:
Getting to Know the Senior
At Companions for Seniors, we don’t call it work — we call it friendship. Our companions and caregivers view working with the elderly as an incredible opportunity and privilege, and we make it a point to truly get to know all of the senior clients in our care as people, above all else.
As we get started with setting up a care plan, we understand the importance of asking:
- “What do you like to do?” Is the senior a painter, or a musician? Do they have a favorite board game or card game? Are there any other hobbies we can help them enjoy?
- “What are your favorite TV channels?”
- “What kinds of movies and music do you enjoy?”
- “Do you like going on walks? What other activities and exercises do you enjoy?”
Discussing Indicators of Health
While we provide non-medical home care, it is still important to get a baseline understanding of the older adult’s health — and how this may be affecting their day-to-day life. As we get started, this will involve asking both general and specific questions, including:
- “How are you doing? How are you feeling?” Showing a genuine interest in these simple questions can get seniors to open up and start sharing.
- “How are you sleeping?”
- “How is your appetite?”
- “How are you getting around?”
- “Have you been experiencing any pain or discomfort?”
Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
In addition to general health questions, it’s important to understand how we can best support seniors with routine activities of daily living, or ADLs. This may include asking some specific questions about mobility, personal hygiene, and how they spend their time at home:
- “When you walk, do you use a walker or cane to get around?”
- “Have you ever experienced a fall, or difficulty walking?”
- “Do you have any modifications around the house, such as a walk-in shower or a raised toilet seat?”
- “Have you been having any issues with toileting?” This might include asking if the senior uses adult undergarments, in case of accidents.
- “How often do you prefer to bathe?” Does the senior prefer a shower or bath?
- “Would you like a hand with dressing or grooming?”
Across countries and cultures, food has always been recognized as one of the cornerstones of good health. At Companions for Seniors, we recognize how important eating well and sharing meals can be for maintaining a senior’s health, happiness, and quality of life. To understand more about a senior’s habits and preferences, we might ask questions such as:
- “What kinds of food do you like to keep in the house?”
- “Have you noticed any issues with food spoiling or being left out for too long?”
- “What do you like to eat?”
- “When do you like to eat?”
- “Do you have any specific dietary restrictions we should know about?” For example, older adults may be on diets that limit their salt or sugar intake, due to a medical condition or prescription.
- Who usually does the shopping?” In addition to knowing if we should help the senior with grocery shopping, it’s also important to know how often the senior or a caregiver would like to have their shelves restocked.
Laundry and Housekeeping
We know how much of a difference it can make to get a helping hand around the house. In order to find the best ways to assist a senior and their loved ones, we may ask questions like:
- “Who typically does the laundry?” At the same time, we’ll get to know if there’s a specific way that the senior likes to have their laundry done, whether that means hanging clothes to dry or using a specific detergent.
- “Where is the laundry room?” If the laundry room is in the basement, this can be a major safety hazard for the elderly, and it’s a good thing to know and plan for as soon as possible.
- “Do you keep cleaning supplies on hand? Where do you store them?” As with laundry, it’s also helpful to know when and how the senior prefers to keep their home clean — such as their preferred way to vacuum, launder towels, and do the dishes.
We know that taking prescriptions and over-the-counter remedies and supplements is an important daily task for seniors. Professional caregivers can offer helpful medication reminders, and help alert a doctor and the senior’s family in case of an unexpected medical emergency. In order to get started, it may prove important to ask some specific questions:
- “Where do you get your prescriptions filled? Do you have a favorite local pharmacy or drugstore?”
- “Who generally picks up and pays for any pills or medical supplies?”
- “How do you prefer your medication reminders?” For example, does the senior use a pillbox? Do they get alerts or reminders through an alarm, or write down times on a calendar?
- “Does your pharmacy deliver?”
- “Do you have a list of all of the prescription and OTC medicines the senior is taking?” This includes dosages and potential side effects to be on the lookout for.
Aging in place is significantly easier when the senior’s home is safe, comfortable, and accessible. Reviewing a senior’s home environment for hazards and dangers will be an important first step in getting a care plan up and running. This will include:
- Looking for potential trip and fall hazards. This might mean a loose rug on a hardwood floor, an overflowing bookcase, or any other situation that could pose a danger to the senior.
- Understanding how the senior uses their home. Where do they like to spend their time? Are there any rooms or parts of the home they avoid? How comfortable are they on the stairs? Is there enough lighting around the house? Is everything the senior needs within reach?
Maintaining a Calendar, Contacts, and Emergency Numbers
At Companions for Seniors, we know how important community is. We want to help empower seniors to live a more full and enriched life, and that often starts by understanding their calendar:
- “What appointments and outings do you have coming up? Do you have any regular standing appointments?” This might include doctor’s visits, as well as social and community events such as religious services or a reading group.
- “Do you have a calendar or organizer? Would you like help maintaining it and keeping it up to date?”
- “Who is the closest family member? Who should we contact first in case of an emergency?”
- “How often do friends and family members like to stop by?”
- “Can you prepare a list of neighbors, friends, doctors, and other emergency contacts and store it somewhere we can find it?” Usually, we try to have these important names and numbers kept on the fridge for quick access.
Driving and Transportation
A core part of what we do is offering reliable, safe transportation services in the comfort of an insured company car. As we start setting up a care plan, it will be important to know whether or not the senior will need a driver, and how often. To get organized, we may ask questions on topics like:
- “Would you like to be paired with one of our drivers?”
- “How often do you like to go out? Where do you like to go?”
- “What kind of errands, events, or gatherings do you need help with? Where are they held?”
- “Who currently organizes your trips and outings? Would you like help making arrangements and organizing events?”
Logistics, Scheduling, and Billing
In all of these initial conversations, we will also include the primary family caregiver if they wish to be involved. Having another person present can make it much easier to fill in the information gaps when needed, and help make the transition easier for the senior. At the same time that we are getting to know the senior and developing an appropriate plan of care, we will also work with chief decision-makers to handle the logistics — including their preferred method of payment, their billing date, insurance information, how they would like to receive invoices, scheduling, and any other subjects that need to be addressed in order to get started in earnest.
We’re here to make setting up a care plan easier.
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 believe in the importance of building relationships; fostering an open dialogue and celebrating ideas; always going the extra mile to provide for our clients; and providing trusted, reliable, and flexible service at the right price.
Locally owned in Chicago, Illinois, we are ready to work with clients in both the city and suburbs. All of our companions are trained and bonded, and we offer personalized care plans that can be modified to suit every client’s unique needs. Companions are available on a full- or part-time basis, and can offer assistance with activities of daily living, housekeeping, driving services, and so much more. As a client’s needs change with time, so can our plan of care.
Ready to get started? Companions for Seniors provides a free in-home assessment of your current situation, and in most cases we can be up and running in just two days. We are taking all appropriate action to protect the health and safety of our clients and our care professionals throughout COVID-19.
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 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!