For many California families, ensuring safe, efficient care for a loved one can be challenging. Health care costs are reaching record highs, and many assisted living facilities charge thousands of dollars per month for room, board, and maintenance. Even with the right insurance plan, out-of-pocket expenses can accumulate quickly.
In recent years, home care has emerged as a cost-effective alternative to nursing homes and other assisted living facilities. Experienced home care providers often have special training, medical credentials, and flexible schedules. However, choosing the right caregiver is not always a straightforward or clear-cut decision.
The Role of Home Caregivers
The California Home Care Services Bureau (HCSB) is responsible for the oversight and licensing of private home care companies. While every company has its own strengths, many provide the following types of services:
- On-site assistance with everyday tasks, including bathing, dressing, and grooming
- General housekeeping
- Meal preparation
- Prescription drug management
- Assorted medical tasks, such as changing intravenous lines and conducting physical therapy exercises
For-profit home care companies usually charge reasonable hourly rates, with many families eligible for state-sponsored subsidies.
What to Look for in a Home Caregiver
Every family has different needs. Before hiring a home caregiver, you may need to ask questions about the following:
- Professional licenses. The HCSB licenses for-profit home care companies. While some home care companies may hold additional licenses, they should—at a minimum—be certified to perform basic home care activities.
- The extent and type of care they can provide. Many senior citizens live largely independent lives. However, if your relative uses a catheter or requires regular intravenous injections, you may need a caregiver with a medical license. Licensed caregivers can perform basic medical tasks and help an elder with other routine chores, from meal preparation to personal grooming and toileting.
- Companionship services. Some caregivers also provide companionship-type services. A companion caregiver may spend additional time with a client, engaging in casual conversation, playing board games, or otherwise fulfilling their social needs.
While choosing a qualified home caregiver could seem challenging, a California elder planning attorney could help you explore your possibilities for integrating a loved one’s well-being with an estate plan, insurance policy, or state-sponsored subsidies program.