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How to Find the Right Care Provider for the Elderly

How to Find the Right Care Provider for the Elderly

It is so important to find quality care for our aging family and friends. The media all too often report stories of elderly abuse and neglect situations in retirement and nursing homes or by individual care providers. Unfortunately, it seems that senior citizens are all too often victims, and elderly care providers and assisted living companies are often responsible for negligent care and fraudulent billing.

In order to protect our loved ones and ensure they receive the best care possible it’s important to carefully research all options before making a decision.  Never agree to any care provider or assisted living contract without verifying the company, researching the reputation, checking for a history of litigation and complaints, and getting as many references as possible.  Make no mistake about it, the assisted living establishment in the United States is a multi-billion dollar industry putting seniors at risk.

Given the serious implications, it pays to be skeptical and verify.

Needs Assessment: Simply put, what type of care is needed? An elderly individual who is free of medical conditions may just want a helping hand for those more difficult tasks of daily living. They would be a good candidate for an assisted living facility or a part-time in-home caregiver. If your loved one suffers from more debilitating illnesses such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, something more secure and with round the clock care may be more appropriate. If you decide to hire a primary care giver who will reside or spend most of their time at home with your loved one it is in your best interest to run a background check. It’s invaluable to know the history of the person caring for your family member and having advanced knowledge can save you a lot of possible heartache or regret down the road if something bad were to happen.

Resources & Referrals: Consult with family and friends for referrals of places they have had positive experiences with. And be sure to ask about ones they haven’t been pleased with; that is equally as important. There are several websites available as well that will help guide your decision making process, and many will even be able to point you in the direction of specific facilities.  If you’re considering a significant financial commitment for long term case, consult a professional to verify the organization.

Regular Visits: Go check out the retirement communities or nursing homes and come prepared with several questions- for example, how safe is the environment? What security measures are in place? You should be able to learn a lot by visiting the location and with the workers there. Similarly if you plan to hire someone to provide care in the home you want to visit with them, perhaps multiple times, prior to making that decision. It is also important, if possible, that you allow the person requiring the care to help in the process and even have the final say.  Ask your local court or police to check criminal and court records.

Affordable or Fraud: Many people may have limited care options when it comes to cost. But this shouldn’t inhibit you from finding a quality place that will provide adequate care. And more importantly, a place that treats its patients with kindness and respect. Review healthcare plans and financial assistant options. Perhaps it is the right time to have an aging parent move into your home and you could help offset some of the cost by caring for them. Whatever you decide, it is important that their care doesn’t go by the wayside; the elderly often need advocates to help them happily live out their twilight years.  And, you want to be certain that the provider isn’t racking up fraudulent charges and tests that are not needed.

If you think you or a loved one may have been a victim of fraudulent care, contact your attorney and a reputable private investigator to obtain evidence and determine if there is sufficient grounds for legal action.  Do you have any other tips?  Is so, please share them with us!

C. Wright
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