Health: How to Determine When Home Care Is Needed

Image Credit: Caring for Elderly Parents

Published by: Belinda Skelton on Thursday May 8th, 2014

Belinda Skelton

How to Determine When Home Care Is NeededAre you concerned regarding the safety of your parents?  How do you know when outside care is needed?

When we were young our parents cared of us, taking care of all our personal care needs, nutrition, medical appointments, transportation, spiritual well-being, and keeping us safe.  As they have aged these roles can sometimes be reversed and now they need us to take care of them.  Here are some things to look for when determining the best time to have a conversation with them about getting help around the home.


  • How to Determine When Home Care Is NeededThey ask for help or interject that it would be “nice if”, listen to your parents they may already be asking for help.
  • They are asking you to do many of the things they use to do themselves but you have your own kids, a career etc….. and don’t have the time.
  • You visit their home and notice any of these telltale signs:
    • Household bills / mail is not being addressed
    • Food in refrigerator or cabinet is expired
    • Not enough nutritional food is readily available
    • Count medicine, if it appears that too much or too little have been taken in their current bottles that could be a real problem
    • Soiled clothing or bed sheets have not been laundered
    •  Walk around the car, do you see new dent, scrapes, damage to the tires/rims
    • Do you repeat questions, stories or seem confused
    • Are they up at all hours of the day
    • Has their gait (walk) changed dramatically?  Are they shuffling their feet when they walk?
    • Have they gotten lost going somewhere that they have been to many times before?

How to Determine When Home Care Is NeededThese are just a few items to look for but you know your parents best, if you think something has changed address it sooner rather than later.  If you do determine help is needed here is a list of questions you should ask when interviewing homecare agencies.



Homecare Questions

    How to Determine When Home Care Is Needed
  1. Do you have liability insurance which includes theft and damage to property?
  2. Are your caregivers your W2 workers? And if so, do you have workers comp insurance?
  3. Are your caregivers Certified Nursing Assistants (C.N.A.)?
  4. Are your caregivers bonded, criminal background checked, drug tested, DMV checked, and TB tested?
  5. Do you have an RN who oversees all caregiver services and can be reached after hours and weekends? 
  6. What is the minimum and maximum number of service hours per visit?
  7. Is there a contract or long term commitment?  
  8.  How often do you bill for services?
  9. What are your fees and what do they cover? 
  10. Do you offer hourly, overnight and live-in services?
  11. How do I make changes or cancellations to the initial caregiver schedule? How much time do you require for changes?
  12. Do your caregivers provide transportation if needed? If transportation is available are they licensed? 
  13. Who do we call if we have questions and how do you resolve complaints from clients or family members?
  14. How many years of experience do your caregivers have on average in the area of homecare, personal care, and patient appointment services? 
  15. How long has your company been in business? 
  16. What qualifications, certifications, experience and training do you require of your caregivers?
  17. Are your staff employees or contract workers? Are they insured and bonded?
  18. How do you supervise your employees to make sure the proper care is given?
  19. Will the same employee continue with my case?
  20. Do you work with my doctor in developing a plan of care?
  21. Can you give me some references from clients, doctors, hospital personnel or social workers?
  22. Do you guarantee customer satisfaction?
  23. Do you custom match caregiver to patient?
  24. How do you select your in-home caregivers?
  25.  What if I am not satisfied with the caregiver assigned to me or a loved one?
  26.  What procedures are in place for emergencies?  

At LivHOME we provide FREE Geriatric Care Management, consultative service and advice.  We also offer the BEST in-home care services in Atlanta and provide a free in-home assessment to determine a care plan best suited for your family.  If you have any questions regarding the care of a loved one please call LivHOME at 770-992-5820 or visit us at

Thank you. 

Chris Foster, CSA
Certified Senior Advisor
Executive Director & Owner of LivHOME Atlanta