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Home Care – Should we do it ourselves or use an agency?

After deciding that your loved one needs some care to assist them to remain at home the next decision can be more challenging. That is, should the home care be provided by family members or should you hire someone to deliver the care? Attending to a person who needs a high level of assistance can be a daunting. It can be mentally and physically draining, particularly if someone requires care every day. Many families decide to split the duties and responsibilities among different members, which can work very well. Trying to do it all yourself can be stressful, and put a strain on your own family, health, work and social life.


Using a home care agency can take stress out of the situation. Staff can be sent on short notice to attend if a family member is unable to. Most agencies only have carers that are qualified and have prior experience caring for people in their home.

Below are 7 factors to consider before making up your mind regarding the source of care for your loved one:


The kind of care needed

Firstly, it is important to understand the level of care required. Does your loved one need help with personal care including showering and toileting, do they need help getting in and out of a chair, does medication need to be administered, are they looking for companionship, do meals need to be prepared and is care required around the clock?

Which family members are available?


If considering using family and/or friends to provide the home care it is best to arrange a meeting to discuss the needs of the loved one and discuss the family and/or friends availability. It is important that family and/or friends do not feel pressured into saying they will help. Generally if they start feeling pressured at the beginning to provide the care it will adversely impact on their current relationship with the person receiving the care. The family and/or friends need to be honest with their availability and desire to provide home care.


How suitable are family and/or friends?

Providing home care such as personal care can dramatically impact on the relationship between the carer and the person receiving the care. Some people would prefer if a non-family member provided personal care, it could be seen as more dignified. If lifting is required are the family members capable of this and know the current method so as to not hurt themselves or the person receiving the care?


Financial resources

Does the person receiving the care have the financial resources available to engage the services of an agency? If they do not have the ability to fund all the home care it may be worth considering having a mixture of agency help and family members as carers.


Backup carers

It is necessary to plan for contingencies such as a carer falling ill, being unable to leave work on time, going on holidays, taking a break and issues with their own family which needs to be addressed immediately. When preparing the plan of who will provide the home care ensure there is flexibility for carers to be replaced.


Relationships with carers

This issue needs to be thoroughly thought through. When family and/or friends take on the role of a carer their relationship will change. It is necessary to determine if taking on a role of carer is detrimental to the relationship. As often the carer will get frustrated and annoyed with the person they are providing care to, they may become run down or stressed about providing care. Often family and/or friends say that when they spend time with their loved one they want it to be quality and relaxed time rather than rushing doing various tasks.


What does the care recipient want?

Always remember that it is necessary to discuss the possible home care options with the person receiving the care. Would they be comfortable or prefer family or agency people provide the home care?

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Better Living Home Care