The topic of elder abuse is not one that gets as much attention as it should. Not only that but when it does come up, it’s typically in reference to long-term care facilities or nursing homes where people are residents outside of their own home. There is still a growing concern about abuse from caregivers in an in-home setting, though. Although the majority of private care nurses and caretakers are trained, reputable, and loving individuals who have chosen a difficult career path, there is always the exception. That’s why you have to do your homework.
Research Companies and Caregivers
Like anything, you can’t just take people at their word. Simply saying that they offer in-home care services is not enough. You should take the time to check out any caregiver or company that provides them before you hire. You don’t necessarily have to choose from a company or agency, but if you do choose a private individual, you’ll want to do your due diligence in checking out their reputation, experience, and references.
Consider things like whether companies are licensed to provide home care services, how long they have been in business, and whether the caregivers are subject to background checks. If you are considering an individual, again, make sure that they have the necessary reputation and licensing in place. It’s sometimes best to work with an agency that can vet the caregivers for you, though, because it can save you the stress and give you peace of mind that you’re getting the right people for the job.
Too often, people take care of what their loved ones need and then they go back to their lives. The reason that many cases of elder abuse go unnoticed is that they happen to people when no one is checking in or where there isn’t other family involved regularly. This isn’t the only time it happens, of course, but it’s a lot more difficult for people to get away with things if you are paying attention and constantly involved. This can also include:
- Setting boundaries
- Establishing accountability
- Building alliances/relationships
- Reporting even slight concerns
You don’t want to falsely accuse someone of something as serious as elder abuse, but you do need to be mindful of how your loved one is being treated and keep an eye for anything suspicious.
Private or Agency Care?
Based on what you’ve read, you might be wondering whether it’s worth the risk to work with private caregivers. After all, an agency does all the work of vetting employees and choosing the best people for the job. All that you have to do from that point is hire them. However, if you do happen to know a reputable, trusting caregiver that works privately or independently, they may still be a great fit. Just remember to do your homework so that you know your loved one is in good hands, no matter whose hands you choose.