If you or your family has decided the time has come to hire help for your in-home senior care, there are some things you should know before you set out. First, unless you need intensive home health care services, it's most likely not nearly as expensive as you're afraid. The median wage for a Certified Nursing Assistant in the U.S. is $18/hour. On the other hand, if your health requires the services of a Registered Nurse on a regular basis, you'll need much greater financial resources. Either way, finding in-home senior care is manageable, even convenient, if you take into account some of the following considerations.
Senior Care Agencies vs. Independent Services
Few people realize just how easy it is to find in-home senior care, or just how difficult it is to maintain this care. Most senior care agencies are equipped with an entire system of primary caregivers and home health care professionals. These agencies can consistently deliver primary caregivers to your home.
You can also search for in-home health care services on your own by putting ads in the paper and online. In times of high unemployment and economic turmoil, you have a better chance of finding honest and competent candidates. Regardless, expect this route to carry with it a good number of headaches and initial setbacks that are unlikely to justify any cost savings. That said, if your situation requires a lot of custom care, finding independent services may be advantageous. We talked to one woman with psoriatic arthritis and a neck injury who found in-home care agencies were trained to do tasks transfers, toileting, etc. in a certain way that was incompatible with her various health ailments.
High Turnover Rate for Primary Caregivers
No matter which path you take, you should plan for a high turnover rate for your primary caregivers. You may quickly find a senior care agency that you like and stick with for years, but the specific health care staff is likely to change on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis. As such, you'll need to create an efficient training program that effectively educates new staff on your daily routine and peccadilloes.
You also need to be careful not to become too dependent on any one member of your in-home senior care. Life happens. Maybe the person decides to go back to college, starts a family, or suffers his or her own health care setbacks. You don't want to put yourself in a situation where your daily routine and life completely falls apart with the absence of one particularly skilled caregiver.
Show Patience for Long-Term, In-Home Senior Care
The process of setting up your in-home care is going to require a good deal of patience, as is the year-in, year-out maintenance of this care. The more patience you show your in-home care staff, the better your care is likely to be. Yet, continually suppressing your bad moods, personal preferences, and sense of control over your life can have its own detrimental effects on your mental health. Be sure to let your staff know that you greatly appreciate their help, but that there will be times when you feel the need to yell, be left alone, and have exhausted your ability to be a pleasant person. Finding a balance between showing your staff the patience and respect they deserve without losing your identity is one of the most important things to keep in mind as you enter this new phase of your life. For more info on the costs of care, check out the Genworth 2010 Cost of Care Survey PDF Here