Search Box Here
LIFE CAT COLUMN
Senior LivingSenior Living ServicesIf your aging family member needs assistance, here is information on senior living environments and services. Seniors Living Safely and IndependentlyTravel writer and author Doris Larson and her husband Gerald like their independence and freedom. So with an eye toward making their senior years as enjoyable as possible, the couple from Kent, Ohio are investigating their options. Finding a Geriatric CaregiverIf the time has come for you to find a caregiver for your aging relative, Shelly Sun, founder and CEO of BrightStar Healthcare (a national caregiving franchise) has the following recommendations.Choosing an Adult Day ServiceOver 10 million Americans are part of the "sandwich generation" – busy, working adults trying to care for their aging parents while also raising their own children.Long-Distance Caregiving TipsIf you're caring for a loved one from a distance, you're not alone. Approximately 7 million adults are long-distance caregivers, mostly caring for aging parents who live an hour or more away. Here are some quick tips to get you started.Seniors and Disaster PreparednessSenior citizens are particularly vulnerable during emergency situations – hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, even heat waves. Sixty (60) percent of people who died in Louisiana as a result of Hurricane Katrina were older than 60.
LIFE AD SPACE

Finding a Geriatric Caregiver

If the time has come for you to find a caregiver for your aging relative, Shelly Sun, founder and CEO of BrightStar Healthcare (a national caregiving franchise) has the following recommendations.

Start with the Basics

Begin your search with the fundamentals every provider must have -

Insurance

Licensing from the state in which caregivers serve

A thorough screening procedure for all employees. Potential caregivers should be screened via:

  • Drug testing
  • Personal interviews
  • References
  • Customary background and criminal checks
  • Ask if the same caregiver provides services or if there are rotating groups of service providers.

Determine Loved One's Needs

One of the biggest decisions clients have to make is choosing medical versus non-medical care.

Non-medical care is a great option for clients who need some help running errands or someone to keep them company during the day.

WHN Tip: Multi-Situational Agencies and Aides
One factor to consider - non-medical patients often turn into clients who need medical assistance. In order to offer continuity of care, look for an agency that provides aides qualified to work in all situations.

WHN Tip: Here's more information on finding senior housing at Senior Living Services.

Understand the Agency's Structure

At a minimum, caregivers should be Certified Nurse's Assistants (CNA) under the direction of a Registered Nurse (RN.)

CNAs help with the tasks of daily living – bathing, dressing, and monitoring vitals, i.e. blood pressure, temperature, heart rate – but they cannot administer medication or offer medical care.

People who require on-going, in-home medical care should work with an agency that has nurses available.

WHN Tip: Agency Employed Caregivers - A Must!
In home caregivers must be employed by an agency, instead of working for you as an independent contractor. Why? If your independent contractor gets hurt on the job, you could be sued and most homeowners' policies do not cover a claim like that.

According to Loretta Worters, Vice President, Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), "The big issue for a caregiver would be any liability if he or she were injured on the homeowners premises. Although a homeowner's policy covers a guests' injuries, caregivers are excluded from coverage because they are employees."

"While most homeowners' policies cover the people you pay to occasionally work for you, such as a teenager who baby-sits or cuts your grass, they specifically exclude anyone eligible for workers compensation coverage, including caregivers (it is mandated in some states, such as California)."

Worters recommends when using caregivers unaffiliated with an agency, purchase a workers compensation policy to pay the medical bills relating to injuries the caregiver receives on the job as well as coverage for lost wages if the caregiver is temporarily or permanently unable to work due to the injury. The policy will also prevent the caregiver from suing you for pain and suffering.

If you are planning to hire a caregiver, call your insurance company first because there may be other aspects (such as the caregiver residing in your home or using your car) that could impact your insurance. To be on the safe side, adds Worters, ask your insurance agent to add a liability rider to your existing policy, to cover any claims the caregiver may make in case of accident or injury.

Choosing a Caregiver

Research combined with your gut instinct will help you select a caregiver. You should never be charged or limited to a certain number of interviews.

If for some reason the first person doesn't work out, you should be able to request a different caregiver.

WHN Tip: Questions for Caregivers and Agency
Go to Senior Living Services for questions to ask the agency and the caregiver.

Ask About the Contract Duration

You should expect to sign a consent for care or service agreement.

Keep in mind that health needs can change weekly, especially when in elder years.

Some agencies request a weekly or monthly commitment, which can be a costly decision if a patient decides to stop receiving care or enters a nursing home or hospital.

According to Sun, "The consent for treatment/service agreement typically entails the payment arrangements, whether a DNR (do not resuscitate) is in place, how holidays and overtime are handled, insurance coverage, cancellation less than 6 hours in advance, live-in work conditions required, patient's rights and responsibilities, and advance directives. The biggest item to be aware of are clauses that require long periods of time of advance notice for cancellation or minimum usage clauses," she adds.

"BrightStar Healthcare clients can cancel with 6 hours notice. Some of the non-medical service care provider companies require 2 full weeks notice and charge regardless of whether the service is desired or not."

Other Life Pages
Senior LivingChoosing an Adult Day Service

Over 10 million Americans are part of the "sandwich generation" – busy, working adults trying to care for their aging parents while also raising their own children.

 Read More
Finding a Geriatric Caregiver

If the time has come for you to find a caregiver for your aging relative, Shelly Sun, founder and CEO of BrightStar Healthcare (a national caregiving franchise) has the following recommendations.

 Read More
Long-Distance Caregiving Tips

If you're caring for a loved one from a distance, you're not alone. Approximately 7 million adults are long-distance caregivers, mostly caring for aging parents who live an hour or more away. Here are some quick tips to get you started.

 Read More
Senior Living Services

If your aging family member needs assistance, here is information on senior living environments and services.

 Read More
Seniors and Disaster Preparedness

Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable during emergency situations – hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, even heat waves. Sixty (60) percent of people who died in Louisiana as a result of Hurricane Katrina were older than 60.

 Read More
Seniors Living Safely and Independently

Travel writer and author Doris Larson and her husband Gerald like their independence and freedom. So with an eye toward making their senior years as enjoyable as possible, the couple from Kent, Ohio are investigating their options.

 Read More