This post may contain affiliate links, view our disclosure policy for details.
When my in-laws moved to Texas it quickly became apparent for my FIL that he needed to hire some help for my MIL. She either couldn’t or wouldn’t bathe, check her blood sugars, take her regular medicines, or safely cook for herself. Even at this early stage in her Dementia she could not be left alone for long periods. Most offers of help from family were met with hostility and indignant refusal.
Want to come back to this post later? Save it to your favorite Pinterest board.
While my husband and I lived close enough to be of some help, we were also newly married, working, and expecting our first child. My FIL reached out to a home care agency in our area and was soon set up with a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
What is a CNA?
A CNA is someone who is trained in assisting people with their healthcare needs usually under the guidance of a registered nurse. They help with general care to enhance their client’s quality of life.
Their medical functions are limited but they are able to:
- gather vital information.
- monitor medical conditions (and report concerns).
- assist in prescribed treatments like bandage changes, catheter care, dispensing medicines, and light physical therapy.
What does a CNA typically do?
Your CNA will be responsible for assisting with the daily tasks necessary for the best quality of life possible with your loved one’s medical conditions. These include (but of course are not limited to):
- Assistance with personal hygiene
- Help with dressing
- Light housekeeping (mainly to keep things safe and healthy)
- Daily medical tasks (blood pressure/sugar checks, turning bedridden patients, catheter care, medicines, etc)
- Meal prep and dietary needs
- Transportation when needed
- Providing companionship for your elderly parent
Primarily, the CNA is there when you can’t be so you’re elderly parent is never left unattended.
When should you hire a CNA?
Most of us caregivers wait until we’re desperate to start looking for help. I encourage you, if you think you will need help at some point, seek it now.
My MIL is accustomed to having “friends” help her with her bathing, pick out clothes, and be her companion when I’m not here. If my FIL had not already hired help, our transition into the role of caregiver would have been much harder.
If you are or are even close to:
- lacking confidence in your parent’s ability to live safely alone…
- needing to be gone hours at a time…
- tired of being the “bad guy” all the time…
- struggling to meet the needs of the other members of your family…
…then it is time to hire some help.
What will a CNA do for me?
You might be hesitant to hire a CNA or any kind of help but the benefits are enormous.
- It will keep you from burning out as quickly by providing a well-deserved break.
- You will be free to run errands, explore hobbies, and focus on you without your elderly parent.
- You will be able to focus entirely on your children and their activities/needs.
- It keeps you from worrying about your elderly parent when you can’t be there.
- There will be no lapse in your elderly parent’s care.
How do I find a CNA?
While the idea of finding help seems complicated, there are primarily two avenues to explore when seeking a CNA.
A lot of people like the idea of hiring their assistant independently.
- More of a vetting process for you
- It cuts out the “middle man” allowing you to make the rules
- Fewer rules attached to what they can and cannot do giving you more confidence when emergencies happen
While hiring independently sounds good at first, you do have to be very careful. Always do your research about the person. Check references, do a background and criminal history check, and have an attorney draft a contract. Always make sure you are 100% confident in the honesty and integrity of the person you are letting into your home and to care for your elderly parent.
Home Care Agency
A home care agency takes most of the hassle out of hiring help by vetting, researching, and placing qualified assistance in your home. By using an agency you are assured a trained professional, provided insurance for the safety of you and the CNA, and carefully assigned a CNA that fits your needs.
There are a few downsides to using an agency as opposed to hiring independently.
- There is very little “wiggle room” for emergency situations. You have to plan ahead and make sure your CNA is authorized for certain tasks they may have to do at some point. For instance, if they don’t usually need to transport your parent somewhere but you think they might at some point, you’ll need to make sure transport is listed on their duty roster.
- Occasionally the agency will send someone different to your home when your scheduled CNA is unavailable. This can be difficult and confusing for your elderly parent, especially if they have some form of Dementia. It’s also difficult on you because you are letting a stranger into your home with very little notice to care for your parent.
- Hiring from an agency is typically more expensive than hiring independently. They have costs to cover in addition to your CNA’s salary.
* Home care is sometimes covered under your parent’s insurance. Be sure to check it out.
Finding Home Care for Your Elderly Parent
Your best course for finding home care for your elderly parent is to:
- Seek the advice of the elder care agencies in your area to see who they recommend.
- Ask your parent’s primary care physician who they recommend. Oftentimes this will help get the insurance process started for you if your parent qualifies.
- Ask friends/relatives/acquaintances for their recommendations.
- Google: Home Care Agencies <your city> to get a start on what’s available.
Finding help for your parent can be a daunting, but rewarding task. Don’t wait until you are desperate. Start looking for help today. By exploring your options and doing your research you will find help for you and your elderly parent.
Did you like this post? Have you hired home care for your elderly parent? Let me know in the comments below!
Don’t miss the next post in the series, Interviewing Home Care for Your Elderly Parent.
Sharing is caring, so if you have a friend who you think would enjoy reading this too, please share it!
Want to come back to this later? Why not pin it?
Like what you’ve read? You’ll LOVE these posts too!
- How to Know When to Make Decisions for Your Elderly Parent
- What Does Parenting Your Parent Really Mean?
- Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Moving An Elderly Parent into Your Home