Does your loved one need assistance to help them stay independent at home? Use this checklist to determine if they might need help:

1. Care Needs

Consider their care needs and make a list of things that need to be provided. Be able to show an example of a usual day, from the moment they wake until they return to bed, and be sure to include a timeline of when they have their meals, naps, and other activities.

2. Hands-on Care

How much hands-on personal care is needed vs. the non-hands on companion care? If more companion care is needed, make a list of things that the care recipient likes to do.

3. Transportation Services

Do you need someone who can escort the care recipient to their Doctor and other social activities? If so, how will they travel? Will the Caregiver drive the care recipient in the care recipient’s car? Will the Caregiver drive the care recipient in the Caregiver’s car? Has the home care agency verified the caregiver’s vehicle insurance is active. Will they take public transportation (bus or taxi cab)? Some cities provide transportation for seniors – you may want to call your local Department on Aging for information.

4. Memory Loss

Is there memory loss? If so, have you had the type of Memory Loss diagnosed (Alzheimer’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Pick’s Disease, Frontal Lobe Dementia, Frontotemporal Dementia, Lewy Body Disease, Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, Vascular Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease)? Blood clots and brain tumors may also cause dementia. A diagnosis of dementia type will help the agency to better understand the care needs and assign a Caregiver with the right type of training and qualifications.

5. Language

Do you need a Caregiver who speaks a certain language?

6. Hours

How many hours of care per day will you require? Review the list of services you will need performed during the care visit and decide on the minimum number of hours per day that would work as a starting point. The agency will need to know the hours of service to assign a Caregiver and will allow you to adjust the hours after the first week to accurately meet the care needs.

7. Dietary

Are there any special cooking requirements? Communicate any food allergies or specific cooking requests and consider how groceries will be purchased or delivered if the care recipient is unable to shop for groceries on their own.

8. Additional Skills

Are there any “skilled” care requirements, such as taking blood pressure, blood sugar testing, wound care, or a feeding tube? Communicate if these specialized services will need to be performed or monitored.

9. Medication Management

What is the care recipient’s method for managing medications? Do you know for sure if the medications are currently being taken correctly? Be able to provide a list of medications and the method of monitoring so the Agency will be aware of possible side effects and other requirements such as taking pills with or without food, etc.

10. Care Management

Will Care Management be required? As Caregivers are responsible for providing “hands-on” care, they do not have time to manage the overall care issues. A trained Care Manager can supervise all of the care needs, from obtaining refills to medications via the local pharmacy to arranging doctor’s appointments and other necessary services. A Care Manager will work with family members and take on responsibilities that they are unable to perform and provide professional expertise in guiding the long-term care decisions.