Finding someone to look after a parent or parents can be a difficult proposition, but it may be a more desirable alternative to a nursing home or senior living facility. If the parent(s) is/are essentially healthy, care may only amount to homemaker services where someone would drive, look after personal care, cook, clean, monitor medication consumption, do laundry, run errands, attend doctors appointments, and/or other day-to-day tasks.
Assessing a parent’s capacities should be the first order of business. The American Psychological Association has created a handbook for Assessment of Older Adults with Diminished Capacity that covers considerable ground in regards to financial, medical, psychological, physical and other measures. But the objective here is simply finding someone to help who still appears and acts healthy, this handbook can reassure the adult children that the parents are still okay.
Generally speaking, there are options:
Use an agency
Respected home health agencies are often reliable because they will use staff rather than a single worker. They also provide experts to evaluate and execute the appropriate kind of care needed for your parent(s). That said, you may not be able to choose the people who look after your parent(s). This service can cost anywhere between $12/hr and $40/hr, although Medicare does approve certain home care agencies, thus some services may be covered, visit here to get a list. The rate depends on the amount of care needed and where you live.
Find someone yourself
It’s common for parents to find a nanny for their children; perhaps you are most comfortable making your own choices. While it is typically a less expensive option, the downside is that there could be trouble if the helper calls in sick or goes on vacation and there is no one to cover their work. You are also legally responsible for paying payroll taxes and are liable if there is injury while on the job. As with a nanny, references should be required and followed up upon. A criminal background check is advisable as well.
Using a volunteer organization such as elderhelpers.org can be an option. Perhaps there is only need for someone to drop off food — Meals On Wheels was designed to provide this service. Some churches organize volunteers to check in with their elderly parishioners as well.
Family and friends
It may be as simple as organizing the family and friends into a network helpers to look after the parent(s). It doesn’t just have to be you.
Different solutions suit different families, and it may even be a mix of the above to make sure that the elderly are happy, healthy and well-cared for. If a problem – such as neglect, abuse, unexplained loss of money or property, etc. — arises with a staff or organization, it may be necessary to consult an attorney well-versed in these issues. The laws are quite clear about protecting our elderly, and a qualified attorney can review the case to see if there has been a violation.