Elder Care First Steps — Beginning Your Journey


Watching our parents age and then decline is one of life's great complexities. On one hand, it can be a gift to have a parent live a full and rewarding life. On the other hand, it is a challenge to know how to prepare for, and eventually take, the journey of elder care in a way that honors everyone involved. Here are 3 steps to take when beginning your journey.

1. Be transparent

Honesty--with your parent, with your partner, and with yourself--is of the utmost importance. Call a family meeting, if necessary. Enlist the help of siblings. Don't wait until you are burnt out to be truthful about how you feel. If your parent asks questions that lend themselves to discussing in plain terms the need for additional care, gently take that opportunity, as this can help build trust.

2. Be gradual

Selling your parent's home and moving him or her into your home or a nursing home may be the right decision down the road, but it may not be the right decision today. Consider hiring in-home help for your parent (such as companion, housekeeping, or transportation assistance), as this is often the first step in eldercare. Research community resources (senior centers, home health agencies, etc.), as these are a caregiver's best-kept secret.

3. Be educated

You probably landed on this article because you want to be educated, which means you are already on the right track! Here are some specifics: Find out what legal tools and documents are already in place. For instance, does your loved one already have someone designated to make important medical decisions? Does your loved one have a will or a power of attorney? Answers to these questions are good to know well in advance of needing them. Also, learn as much as you can about any medical issues--even minor ones--facing your loved one. If possible, go to medical appointments. Practically speaking, make sure you round up all of your loved one's critical information--Social Security number, list of medications, insurance information, etc.--to keep it at your fingertips. Talk to professionals. Keep a designated notebook filled with everything you learn. Finally, take a deep breath. Your love for and loyalty to your family member is clear or you wouldn't even be entertaining the idea of embarking on this eldercare journey. Know that you aren't the first one to struggle with conflicting emotions and you won't be the last. Give yourself time to adjust to this new chapter in life, and remember to take care of yourself along the way!

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Take a look at our process and see how we were introduced to our unique perspective on home health care.

7 Signs Your Loved One May Need Additional Care

Signs Your Loved One May Need Additional Care

Sometimes, it can be challenging for caregivers to know when a loved one needs additional care. The caregiver is often too close to the loved one to notice subtle changes that happen on a daily basis. In other instances, the caregiver may be reluctant to relinquish total control over care for the person they have spent a lifetime loving. This may blind them to the need for additional care that is outside the abilities of the caregiver. Here are seven signs your loved one may need additional care.

1. Medication is Not Being Managed Well

When a loved one is taking multiple medications, making sure that they are taken on schedule, and that refills are obtained on time, can be extremely difficult, both for the senior and the caregiver. If you notice more instances where medication is being managed poorly, additional help may be warranted.

2. Driving Abilities are Deteriorating

Driving safely requires spatial awareness, the ability to react quickly to changing conditions, and good mental acuity. If your loved one is getting into more fender benders, or getting lost while driving, it may be time to look into getting additional care.

3. Signs of Malnutrition

If you see that your loved one is losing weight, or just doesn’t look healthy, they may not be eating properly. Eating and meal preparation problems are common with older persons who need additional care.

4. Missing Important Appointments

Have you discovered that your loved one has missed more than one important appointment, such as a checkup with their doctor? Vigilant medical oversight is critical to optimal health in the elderly, and delaying getting additional care can be detrimental. It is a sign that your loved one may need additional help.

5. Forgetfulness

Loss of either short-term or long-term memory is serious, and warrants getting additional care for your loved one. You don’t want to have instances where they leave the stove on, or forget to lock their door. If these signs have already appeared, it is time to research additional care options.

6. Unexplained Injuries

Are you noticing bruises or scrapes on your loved one when you come to visit? These may be from falls or bumps due to mobility issues. If left ignored, these falls can lead to serious injuries. Additional care can help prevent these types of injuries.

7. Dirty or Cluttered Environment

If your loved one’s home is dirty or cluttered when you arrive for a visit, this may be a sign that they’re no longer able to keep up with daily chores like cleaning. In this case, you should consider getting help for them.

Remember that getting additional care for your loved one doesn’t mean giving up. It simply means that there are some life tasks that they need help with. When you both make the decision to get help, everyone’s life will be easier.

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Take a look at our process and see how we were introduced to our unique perspective on home health care.

20 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Home Care Agency


Chances are, you’ve never hired a home care agency before, so you might not know what to ask. Being able to properly vet a home care agency is important in order to ensure a good match with the needs of your loved one. Here are the 20 questions you need to ask of a home care agency.

1) How long has your agency been in business?

The age of the agency is telling because it indicates their financial stability and overall success.

2) Is the agency Medicare-certified?

If it is, Medicare may help supplement the cost of the services, which can alleviate some of the financial burden.

3) What insurance plans do you accept?

Knowing ahead of time if you can expect help from your loved one’s insurance plan will help you plan financially.

4) How are billings handled?

Will you, as the caregiver, be able to manage your loved one’s bills? Or will your loved one be burdened with potentially confusing paperwork?

5) Will I get a copy of the agency’s policies regarding patients and caregivers?

You should be able to see exactly what is expected and provided by the agency.

6) Can I see the results of recent customer satisfaction surveys?

These results will give you an indication of how well the agency follows through on their service promises.

7) Where do the agency’s caregivers come from?

How is the agency recruiting their providers? Do they advertise online? At local hospitals and clinics? The agency should be able to provide information on where their caregivers come from and what sort of certification and training they require.

8) What does the agency look for in a caregiver?

In the agency’s opinion, what qualities make an appropriate caregiver? This will give you an idea of the level of quality of care you can expect from your loved one’s caregiver.

9) Are job candidates screened? How so?

You should expect that, at minimum, the agency does a background check and drug testing.

10) Are your caregivers insured and bonded?

This helps minimize your family’s loss should the caregiver cause damage while providing care.

11) How do you determine what a caregiver is capable of doing?

What is the vetting process for caregivers? What kind of skills does the agency look for in a caregiver?

12) What training do you give your caregivers?

Are caregivers trained before being sent on a job? What does the training entail?

13) Will there be a care plan? Is the agency willing to consult with my loved one’s doctor?

A care plan helps ensure that the care coincides with your doctor’s recommendations. This plan should be a collaborative effort between the doctor, patient, family member, and agency.

14) Will my loved one always have the same caregiver?

The best scenario is when the patient can choose among caregivers until a connection is made, then have that same caregiver all the time.

15) What happens if my loved one’s regular scheduled caregiver gets sick or can’t come to the home?

What are the plans for a temporary caregiver? Will you have a say in who they send?

16) If my loved one isn’t satisfied with a particular caregiver, will you provide a different one?

Your loved one should be able to have a caregiver whom they trust and connect with.

17) How are complaints handled?

If something goes amiss in the caregiver/patient relationship, you need to know you can report it, and also know what steps the agency will take to ensure it doesn’t recur.

18) How are caregivers monitored and evaluated?

Some agencies will make follow up phone calls or home visits to ensure patient and family satisfaction with caregiver service.

19) How are emergencies handled?

If your loved one experiences an emergency in the company of a caregiver, it’s essential that the caregiver knows how to handle it according to your wishes and the needs of the situation.

20) Does the agency assist with supplemental services?

Some agencies maintain area resource lists, so that patients and their family can get extra help from supplemental services such as Meals on Wheels or group transportation to shopping areas.

When interviewing a home care agency, print out this list of questions and bring along someone to help record the answers. This will help you to compare and contrast different agencies until you find the right one for you and your loved one.

View Our Process

Take a look at our process and see how we were introduced to our unique perspective on home health care.

5 Things You Should Know About Home Health Care

When the time comes for you or your loved one to enlist help for chronic disease management, a lot of tough decisions become part of the equation. Not only is it a stressful time, full of emotion and discomfort, but the many options available in your area make it overwhelming as well. We understand that at Tender Care Home Health, and want to help ease the stress of sifting through endless amounts of information by simplifying your criteria into 5 important factors that can help you choose an agency that’s right for you. It’s an important decision – one that should ignite motivation to feel better and live a more quality life, not add to the burden you already face. Here’s what you should consider:


Know the Difference.

Many people come across home health care and home care options when they’re searching for help managing their chronic disease. At first glance, they may seem like the same type of care, but it’s important to know the difference so that you’re getting the level of care you need.


To start, home health care typically encompasses care administered by a trained clinical professional or a skilled nursing staff. Often, it’s prescribed by your doctor as part of your treatment plan once you’ve left the hospital. These services include things like skilled nursing, at-home physical therapy, wound care, and pain and prescription management.


In contrast, home care services are usually non-clinical, such as personal grooming, help with orientation and mobility, and personal assistance with daily tasks. These types of services can help a patient maintain quality of life while living at home, but don’t require the expertise of someone with a medical license. In addition, one major difference is that the services offered by traditional home care are not usually covered by insurance and Medicare, unless it is part of the prescribed home health care for an illness or injury.


Research Services They Provide.

Once you’ve confirmed that an agency provides the level of professional care that you need, find out what their specific list of services includes. A traditional home health care agency will provide the following:


  • Skilled Nursing | Wound dressing, ostomy care, IV therapy, medication administration, pain control, and general health monitoring and support.
  • Physical, Occupational and/or Speech Therapy
  • Medical Social Services
  • Home Health Aides | Help accomplishing basic personal needs, such as getting out of bed, walking, bathing, dressing, and more.


Build a Bridge Between You and Your Doctor.

Whether your needs include coordination for daily tasks, and help taking your medication, or they require more detailed medical attention, the road to feeling better can be packed with overwhelming elements to remember and execute correctly. It’s often hard to remember everything the doctor says, and sometimes it’s difficult to remember to tell your doctor everything he or she may need to know.


A home health care agency is the bridge that helps seamlessly translate your doctors orders into efficient treatment plans that will help you get better. Plus, when you’re too sick, tired, or confused to remember the details from your office visits, or you can’t physically communicate your needs, your home health care provider can be both the eyes and ears of your doctor to help coordinate the best care for you.


Find Comfort in Your Own Home.

One of the scariest parts of managing a chronic disease is the threat of having to spend time in the hospital. It’s not your own bed, and you’re not surrounded by your personal belongings to help ease the discomfort of being sick. A home health care agency can combine that level of medical care with the comfort of being in your own home – often giving patients the confidence they need to get better.


Home visits also allow the nurses and clinicians to better evaluate a patient’s specific needs and challenges, communicating to his or her doctor things he or she may not be aware of. It helps teach a patient how to independently manage their chronic disease in the place where they’ll be doing it the most. Being in the privacy and comfort of their own home often makes any chronic disease a lot more manageable.


Reduce Your Hospital Visits.

Building upon that important aspect of home health care, being at home also helps support the goal of the healthcare team at Tender Care Home Health – to help a patient get better, not just keep them from getting worse. That means, a home health care agency that works with the patient to teach them how to care for their disease is one who has your best interests at heart.


This happens through a focused team of clinical professionals and nurses who can identify what’s keeping a patient from getting better. They can assess attitudes, and execute behavior modification techniques, that can change a patient’s perspective, and inspire independence as they learn to do many of their treatments themselves. This element of self-efficacy reduces repeat hospital visits – in fact, often it can eliminate them forever.


With so many options for home health care, these tools can help you determine the best fit for you and/or your loved one. At Tender Care Home Health, every patient is our priority and we’re dedicated to helping you find the best fit for your needs. When you find that perfect fit, you’ll gain independence at home, which delivers a better quality of life for you and your loved ones.


Knowing that might have you feeling better already.


To learn more about Tender Care Home Health, give us a call today.