(Photo Credit: Michael Gaffney)
When people look for at home care I often hear things like:
‘I feel like I have less energy now than I have ever had in my life. I feel completely drained.
I feel vulnerable and I know I need help. The need is immediate.’
This is an article for people who can afford and are looking for private at home care quickly. Within 48 hours you can have outside help for your loved one. I’ll show you how.
Top 3 Secrets To Find A Caregiver
First, I want to share with you three secrets. Many people who are new to the process have never seen them before.
#1 Changing Caregivers Is Possible – A large fear people have is finding the wrong person. ‘What if the caregiver doesn’t gel with my Mom?’ ‘I feel uncomfortable having a stranger in the home.’
Many people share those exact same fears. Take comfort in the fact that you will be able to change caregivers extremely quickly if you need to. One of the resources we will talk about is at home caregiver agencies and they see this request all the time.
The agency will not be angry. They will simply ask the original caregiver not to come back. A new caregiver will be at your doorstep without conflict the following morning.
Bottom line: If the first caregiver isn’t a good fit you can have a different person there the next day.
#2 Ask For Forgiveness, Not Permission – The last thing your loved one wants is to be a burden. They don’t want to be dependent nor feel like they need help.
We all feel this way. And stages of aging at the end of life can be terrifying. However there are times when immediate help is needed. Trust your gut instincts. If you feel your loved one needs help, get help.
The caregivers will come for interviews. Your loved one can participate and be heard at this stage. Risk some temporary discomfort to do the right things for your loved one.
#3 Your Life Matters – It really does. Your job matters. Your kids matter. Your spouse matters. If you’re thinking about taking time off to care for a loved one that may be a good decision (if so, check out my two posts on how to get paid as a caregiver, here and here). However take a step back and consider if you’re taking on more than you can handle. Be mindful that shame can play a major role in your decision making. There are other options.
One area you should consider is the financial impact of leaving your work. According to a MetLife Study on the “Caregiver Costs To Working Caregivers”, a female caregiver who leaves the work force will lose $324,000 in wages and Social Security and pension benefits over a lifetime.
Before you take on the responsibility yourself, see what outside help is available.
Private Caregiver Roadmap
Now I will walk you through exactly what steps you need to take to find and have a caregiver in place within 48 hours. It’s what I call the “Private Caregiver Roadmap”
Determining The Level Of Care Needed
Coming to terms with the realization that your parent or loved one is no longer independent is terrifying. Feelings of guilt, exhaustion and overwhelm and fear come up.
Your body can feel wrecked, restless nights of sleep are common, and just feeling frightened is the standard.
It is possible to figure this out. YOU have the ability. I believe in you. I’ll help you each step of the way.
One of the questions that may be on your mind is what type of care does my mom need? What help is available to her?
The answer to this is clear and actionable. Your loved one likely needs help with what is called “activities of daily living”. This means common everyday occurrences like eating, dressing and bathing.
Your loved one also may benefit from someone just being in the home with them. Particularly if they have cognitive challenges this level of safety is needed.
If your loved one has a more serious set of illnesses or you think needs serious medical care reach out to their doctor.
The solution you’re looking for is QUICK and IMMEDIATE. We’ll go through exactly how you get help for activities of daily living. Great job! You know what you’re looking for.
No matter what, the immediate help we’ll be walking through is important. In the near future, however, consider a full care evaluation. This post walks you through exactly how to do that.
Finding The Care You Need In Hours
I remember hearing recently someone say ‘Burn out has come and gone. Now I’m just numb.’ The toll of caregiving, particularly in a crisis situation, is tremendous.
You feel like you have never been so tired. You can’t remember the last time you had a free minute to yourself.
I want to go through 3 STEPS that will connect you with the resources you need WITHIN MINUTES.
This will make sure that you don’t have to do a bunch of research. You won’t need to spend hours online. The steps will be CLEAR and EASY TO EXECUTE.
Step #1: Speak To Your Hospital
Often a crisis like the one you’re facing is the result of a fall or medical event. This likely brought you and your loved one to the hospital.
After your loved one was discharged the hospital was required to have you speak with a social worker. This social worker’s role is to help you find the care you need after you leave the hospital.
They are particularly valuable because they deal with this exact problem dozens of times a week. They know how to find quick care. They know what agencies to call. They can help you get someone at your home tomorrow.
If you were not able to speak with a social worker on the way out call back your hospital.
Here is the EXACT SCRIPT of what to say:
“Hi my name is _________. My mother was just in the hospital earlier this week. She has been discharged but one of the requests the doctor made of my family is to get at home care.
I was unable to speak with the social worker on the way out last time to talk about at home care options. Can you please connect me with that group?”
They will immediately connect you with the social workers. You may need to wait some time for a call back but they will have the information you need.
Step #2 – Call A Friend
Take out a pen and paper. Write down 3 names.
The first two names are the names of friends whom you know who have dealt with this exact same situation.
Pick up the phone and call them. If you get a voicemail let them know that you need to speak with them quickly.
This will bring you SIGNIFICANT value. There are so many logistical challenges and minor hiccups of looking for care for the first time. Having someone at your side who has done it before can be invaluable.
The third name is someone geographically in the area who may know about care options. This could be a friend of your Mom’s. It may be a neighbor who you noticed already has at home care.
Reach out to that person next by phone.
This will increase your chances of finding help that is geographically close by.
For both groups you want to ask them:
– How did you approach this situation in the past?
– What are the do’s and don’ts?
– Do you know of any care options in the local area?
– Can you call me back later this evening and check in on how it’s going?
Step #3 – Call An Agency
An agency is a company that organizes at home caregivers to serve families. They take care of the original assessment of your needs, send caregivers for interviews, pay the caregivers and deal with any customer issues.
They are oriented towards helping people in your exact situation. They will know how to rapidly find you care.
I want you to TAKE ACTION and call THREE agencies right now.
To help you with this I have created a special worksheet. This worksheet has a full list of agencies you can choose from and their contact information. Click Here now to get the list.
Agencies are broken into three areas:
- National Agencies – agencies with a presence throughout the country
- Local Agencies – agencies with a presence in your region
- Search Engines – online companies that help you search through agencies in your area
The Security Playbook
During an interview on NPR for her wonderful book “A Bittersweet Season”, Jane Gross of the NYT said about her mother:
“She went from fine to not being fine without a lot of warning in between”
This is how it often occurs. The transition is abrasive, immediate and shocking.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE in this process. Feeling overwhelmed is common. You will get the support you deserve.
We have already reviewed great action steps on who to reach out to. Next I want to give you the EXACT security playbook to make sure you get the person your loved one needs.
Sometimes the notion of bringing a new person into the home of your loved one can be terrifying.
‘What will the person do when I am gone?’
‘How can my Mom tell me if it’s not working out?’
‘How do I make sure I’m not choosing the wrong person?’
To increase your CONFIDENCE let’s go through the Security Playbook. These are all items you should ask the agency or your friends when you begin reaching out.
Principle #1: Check Their Background – This person will be in your home and you deserve to see their full background.
- Full personal address, telephone number, and social security number
- Driver’s License
- Consider paying for a criminal background check (the agency might do this)
- Years of experience
Principle #2 – Check Credentials – Agencies have different standards. Ask. You deserve to know.
- Agency accreditations and licenses to practice in state
- Education of caregivers
- Ongoing training of caregivers
- Staff bonded? (insured against theft or loss to a home)
Principle #3: Check Policies – Ask the agency what their policies are for specific situations that matter to you.
- Policy for 24 hours service
- Emergency contact numbers
- Fill in policy if the caregiver is sick
- Escalation contact info if there is an issue
Principle #4: Try First – Hire the person for a specific window. 1 week or 2 weeks is a good place to start. This is a normal practice. You are able to switch them out quickly if needed.
- Connection with loved one
- Connection with overall family
- Skills and competence
- Process to bring a new person in
Following these principles will be secure about who is entering your home. Remember, you can always swap out the caregiver within a day if there are any challenges.
Congratulations! You will now have a caregiver in your home within 48 hours. At first it doesn’t seem possible. There’s so much going on. You feel lost and incapable. But now with a clear path and plan you feel secure and know you’re loved one is getting the care she deserves.
Now, take 2 minutes and leave a comment telling us one thing you learned from this process. I know this is the beginning of a long journey. You have done extremely well.
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February 12, 2015
By: JP Adams