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The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
Linda Bell Middleton
Cost of Caring For Loved Ones
Comfort Keepers - Largo

Cost of Caring For Loved Ones

National studies show that the overwhelming majority of seniors prefer to stay in their own homes. As a result, home care is one of the fastest-growing options for care.
Many seniors do not require skilled care around the clock; rather they just need assistance with activities such as meal preparation, light housekeeping, bathing, dressing, and incontinence. Home care can be tailored to the seniors needsfrom the number of hours of care needed, to the days of the week that they need assistanceand provided at a fraction of the cost of traditional care options.
However, choosing home care should not be based on price alone. Before deciding on home care, you should review your options. The first step is find out what services are available in your community. Speak with your local social service agencies or community organizations. These agencies can provide assistance in narrowing down your options.
The next step is to start asking questions. To help you find the best fit for you and your loved one, here are some questions that you should ask
What types of services does the company provide? Some companies provide companionship and homemaking services such as meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation (e.g. to doctors appointments) and dressing and grooming guidance, while others provide personal care services such as bathing, feeding, incontinence care and toileting. Can the company provide the level of care you or your loved ones need?
What is the background of the company? Find out who owns and manages the company. Does a nationally known and reputable firm back the company?
Does the company have insurance? Does the company bond and insure its caregivers? Ask to see a copy of the current policy.
Are caregivers employees of the company or independent contractors? Some home care companies provide caregivers who are independent contractors, not employees of the company. This will affect who is responsible for filing tax reports and paying federal and state withholdings such as workers compensation, FICA and unemployment insurance.
Does the company conduct background checks on its caregivers? Caregivers should be screened via a series of criminal, credit and driving record background checks.
Is the same caregiver assigned to a client? A reputable company will take pride in matching their caregivers and clients. This not only provides continuity of care, but also provides a sense of ease and familiarity for the client.
Does the company conduct a home visit before initiating services? The home visit is a time to assess the needs of the senior and their environment. Family members who are involved in the care of their loved one should be present as well.
The stress and emotion that are involved in this important process can sometimes overcome your ability to weigh the factors and options that are most important to your aging family members. Planning ahead, before a need arises, can lessen the stress and emotion. By taking the appropriate steps and weighing the options that are available to you and your family, your loved ones can remain independent in their own homes for many years to come.

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