Choosing an In-Home Care Provider for Your Parent

When parents reach a certain age, their children begin to worry about leaving them home alone. I know, because my brother and I did. This is especially true when your parent has an ongoing health concern like heart failure and diabetes, like my dad. I would think of the occasions where even getting up from the living room couch could be a time-consuming ordeal for my dad. But despite that, no one was quite ready to move him into a facility. Instead, it was time to consider our in-home senior care options.

Privately-hired in-home care

The first option we considered for my dad was hiring an independent home care provider, privately. We had no idea what to expect, but we were hoping to find someone recently retired who could offer a little extra empathy as well as a more personal touch with a whole lot of heart. But we didn’t have much luck, despite several ads in the local online classifieds.

Our potential hiring pool was small – probably the result of living in a small town like Reading, PA. We found a few candidates with seemingly reasonable qualifications and job experience. But some of these candidates were hard to vet properly. Other candidates would have cost as much as working with a senior care agency directly. Given that I would be responsible for time-consuming tasks like taxes and payroll, I was hoping that working privately would offer some savings. Maybe you would have better luck.

In-home care agencies

When we decided to look at local agencies, we were pleased to see that our potential pool of care providers was larger. There were several providers to choose from, and each had at least a few candidates. This was both a positive and a negative. While we could be pretty certain that we would have care when needed, we got the sense that we might have to regularly work with different caregivers. My dad, at this point in his life, feels more comfortable with familiar faces and a set routine.

But for the most part, we appreciate what the in-home care agencies had to offer. They are used to interviewing, background checking, and otherwise vetting potential hires. We felt pretty sure that our care provider would be reliable and ethical. We also liked the fact that a number of providers had some formal training – even if they didn’t have long backgrounds in the senior care field.

We were also pleased to see that some in-home care agencies use seniors to provide care. We thought this was pretty neat. My dad moved here two years ago, not long after our mom passed away. Since then, the company of fellow seniors is something my dad only rarely gets to enjoy. We thought it would be nice for him to spend some time with someone his age and maybe have a little more to talk about.

After looking at both the private and agency sectors of in-home senior care, I think that both are worthwhile to investigate. Private care will entail more work for you – and maybe a little luck in finding the perfect candidate – but I think that the effort is worthwhile. We went the in-home care agency route, and two months in, we couldn’t be happier.