It can be a difficult time for any family when a loved one begins to need help with personal care. If you have a loved one who is over the age of 65, it might be time to start watching for signs that they need some support or a home health aide.
In this article, we will give you some signs to look for and steps you can take in selecting a home health aide.
When to Look For A Home Health Aide
When it is time for a loved one to get some help with personal care, you will often start to notice a few tell-tale signs.
You may notice that your loved one starts to be more forgetful. It may begin with little things like forgetting to check the mail or lock a door, but it may quickly progress to dangerous things like forgetting to turn off the stove or blow out a candle. If your loved one is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia, they may also begin wandering away from home
Lack of Personal Care
You may notice messes piling up in your loved one’s home or that they may not be bathing regularly. They may also mention that they are forgetting to eat or choose to eat something less nutritious rather than prepare a meal.
Falls or Missing Appointments
If your loved one begins suffering injuries from falls at home, it could be time for some supportive care. Falling on the stairs or in the bathroom could lead to a catastrophic injury. Additionally, your loved one might begin to miss doctor or other appointments because they are not able to drive.
How To Talk About Home Health Care
It will likely not be easy for your loved one to admit they need support from home health aides, so it is important to approach the situation with sensitivity. When you begin to notice any of the indications your loved one might need a home health aide, try to engage them in a conversation about what is going on.
It is important to ask for their input on how to make sure they are cared for. Ask them what kind of help they are comfortable receiving and let them be involved in choosing their home health aide.
What Will A Home Health Aide Do?
In most states, home health aides are licensed medical professionals that are trained to provide medical care. A home health aide might help with household tasks like laundry, cooking, and shopping, but they are also able to provide services to keep your loved one safe.
A home health aide will monitor vital signs like blood pressure, respiration, and pulse. Changes in vital signs could indicate a larger medical issue. If the vital signs become concerning, the home health aide will take the necessary steps for care.
A home health aide can also be helpful in monitoring the physical and mental condition of your loved one. They will take note of things like nutrition and hydration to make sure your loved one is eating and drinking properly. They will also look for any changes in mental status, like alertness or confusion.
Home health aides cannot take the place of other medical service providers like physical or occupational therapists. However, a home health aide is an important part of your loved one’s care team because they will work collaboratively with other providers to provide notes on their general condition or help your loved one to perform any “homework” from the rest of the care team.
How to Hire a Home Health Aide
When you are ready to hire a home health aide, there are a few things to keep in mind. You could choose to hire an independent home health aide, or you could hire through a personal care agency. If you hire an independent aide, you will be responsible for verifying their references and credentials, as well as taking care of any tax paperwork that might be required for your state.
Hiring through an agency may make more sense for your situation. An agency will take care of recruiting and screening home health aides, and they will be responsible for all the legal and financial obligations that go along with hiring an employee.
When you are looking for an agency, there are some questions you should ask before you hire a home health aide.
What Qualifications and Training Do You Require?
A home health aide will likely need a certification like an HHA. The home care agency should verify that anyone they hire has a valid certification and completes any training and paperwork required for renewals. Additionally, you should ask the agency if they regularly retrain their employees on CPR.
Can I Meet Prospective Aides Before You Assign One?
When you hire a home health aide, you are letting someone into your home with your loved one for an extended period of time. It is important that both you and your loved one feel comfortable with the person. Ask the agency for the opportunity to personally meet with a few aides before deciding to hire them.
It would also be a good idea to invite the prospective aides to your loved one’s home to meet with them and see the space. This will give your loved one the opportunity to see how they feel with someone new in their personal space or they will connect with one aide over another. Since this is likely a difficult time, taking steps to make them feel comfortable will make for a much smoother transition into less independence.
Avoid Agencies Without Transparency
If you interview a potential agency and they seem hesitant to answer your questions or let you meet with their aides, this could be a red flag. A reputable agency with quality employees will have no problem being transparent about their operations.
Choose Care & Help Home Care
Care & Help Home Care, LLC knows choosing a home care provider is a difficult decision. We’re committed to providing transparent and professional home care services for your loved ones. If you’re in need of home care in Philadelphia, contact us today.