7 Questions to Ask When Selecting Hourly Senior Care
Signing up for hourly senior care is a wise way to bring in short-term, part-time, or sporadic respite care without having to invest in a longer-term commitment. That said, the quality of care for a few hours is every bit as important as the quality of care for a few months or longer.
Selecting professional, experienced, and vetted senior home care ensures your loved one is in good hands. Finding the team you can trust today makes it easier to add shifts or transition into a long-term plan, such as overnight or live-in care, down the road as needed.
Important Questions to Consider When Looking for Hourly Senior Care Services
We always recommend scheduling assessments (aka, “interviewing”) at least three to five prospective home care agencies. Each company has its own feel or flavor, so you should select the one that makes you and your loved one feel the most comfortable.
Asking the same list of questions means you can compare apples to apples when you’re ready to make a decision. It may be a good idea to record the sessions (asking permission first), to review them later, or to share with other family members helping to decide along with you.
1. Are you licensed/registered, bonded, and insured?
Every state handles home care agencies differently, but all have some licensing, registration, or certification processes. States that require licensure or registration also require agencies to maintain current liability insurance policies, workman’s comp policies, and surety bonds of $10,000 or more. These measures protect both the clients and the agency employees.
Freelance or independent home care aides are not governed by the same regulations, putting the client, family, or household at risk if there are any issues. Working with professional agencies is always the safest and most reliable option.
2. What are your minimum billable shifts?
We understand you may only need a caregiver or companion for an hour or two. However, to maintain a full staff of high-quality caregivers, we need to ensure they have reliable work hours. Thus, most agencies have minimum billable shifts of four hours or so.
The great news here is that you can take advantage of any of our services during this time. So, while you may initially plan to be out for a couple of hours or so to attend lunch with friends, we’re happy to fill the remaining hours supporting you in any way we can. Examples include:
- Light housekeeping
- Linen changes
- Meal or snack preparations
- Bathing/grooming and other personal/hygiene related support
- And more
During the assessment, the case manager can review the types of services available to you to make the most of our time there.
3. What is the plan if the caregiver calls in sick or isn’t available on the desired day?
Fortunately, when you work with our caregiving agency, we have a roster of compassionate caregivers. Some are scheduled regularly, and others are on-call for just this type of occasion. If the caregiver we scheduled initially is not available for any reason, we’ll let you know about the change and send an equally qualified caregiver in their place.
That isn’t the case with every agency, so you’ll want to verify agencies in question have an immediate solution if a scheduled employee calls in sick or has a family emergency.
Affordable Senior Home Care employees work together as a team. Even if you’re planning for occasional hourly or respite care, other clients already benefit from a small, rotating group of caregivers that expands the clients’ social network and brings in a welcome variety of personality types. Working with us means you’ll never be left in the lurch.
4. Can we use hourly in-home senior care to go out of town for a weekend or longer?
Yes, you certainly can. In that case, we consider it “respite care.” This means we’re providing caregiver respite, so the main caregiver has the well-deserved opportunity to get away or take a legitimate vacation. The potential to take advantage of respite care is one of the reasons we recommend using hourly senior care from time to time.
We understand spouse and family caregivers get attached to the job and it’s hard to hand the reins to a perfect stranger when you need significant time off. However, by using hourly caregivers sporadically in the months or weeks leading up to your vacation, everyone has a chance to get acquainted and you’ll be able to truly relax, knowing your loved one is in excellent hands.
5. Are you willing to help out the household rather than solely caregiving for the client?
Caregiving agencies serve both the client and their primary caregiver(s) or household. When seniors live alone, our caregivers are there to help them with personal care as well as general support around the house or the community. If they already have a primary caregiver, our caregivers can support the household by:
- Running errands or providing clients with transportation to/from appointments or social engagements
- Preparing and cooking light meals and snacks
- Light housekeeping and laundry
- Providing medication reminders
- Play games, read aloud, and work through puzzles or word games together
Have a need you don’t see on our list? Just ask. We’ll do our best to meet the need and find just the right caregiver for the task.
6. Are you able to take seniors out and about town?
Sometimes, our client’s caregivers or spouses enjoy doing their own housekeeping or chores but lack the time and space to do so because of caregiving demands. In that case, we’re happy to take the wheel (literally and figuratively).
Our caregivers are well versed in all the fun outings in our areas and can take the client out for an adventure and a meal so that you can take care of business your way.
7. Do you offer free no-obligation assessments?
Qualified senior home care agencies should always offer free, no-obligation assessments. In addition to getting a better feel for the agency, you’ll have the opportunity to ask these and other questions and learn more about the services offered.
Ready to take advantage of hourly senior in-home care?