Some family members feel shame when they must call in a home health aide. Please do not. We cannot do everything ourselves. Asking for help in caring for a loved one is nothing to be embarrassed about. Home health aides are there to make your life and the life of your loved one easier, safer and less stressful. The key to success is to rely on home health aides who have special training to help the elderly, especially when dementia is a concern.
The most important first step is to engage your loved one who needs care in a conversation so they feel they are a part of the decision-making and hiring process.
Before you hire a home health aide you should ask yourself: Do the agencies available in your area have the same services? Do they all charge the same prices? Does one have a better reputation than another?
Define exactly what level of care you need. Does your loved one need a home health aide to monitor 24/7, or only during waking hours? It's important to determine the type of care before hiring a home health aide.
The most effective aide is someone who has easy and immediate access to a trained clinician, someone who can be called for advice should a problem arise. Many times simple 24/7 telephone access to a nurse can make the difference between a minor problem and a traumatic visit to an emergency room.
Make sure the home health aide has undergone a thorough criminal background check. You want to know that the aide has been screened nationally and internationally.
Look for common interests between the aide and your loved one. If your family member is an avid sports fan, find a home health aide who is as well.
Do not hire someone you think is going to be a good friend, but someone who is trained to respond as a guest in your family member's home: friendly but professional.
Treat the first few days with the home health aide as a trial period. Communicate with the supervisor and your loved one to make sure the home health aide is a good fit.
For more information call 1-888-9-GET-HELP or visit http://www.partnersincareny.org.
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