Community care is aged care that is provided to you or your aged loved ones within the comfort of their own home. It is a common alternative to residential care, and allows an individual to retain a good measure of independence and control over their own life, while receiving assistance in the areas that they need.
With that said, choosing a care provider can be tricky, especially with so many to filter through. Let’s take some of the stress away from that decision by exploring six different things to look for in a community care provider.
The Level of Support Offered
Not all community care providers offer the same level of assistance with daily living. For example, some may come to clean the home, change the sheets and do some gardening – things that can get difficult with age. Others may come and bring meals, or cook for you, or perform minor maintenance activities around the house.
Others yet may do all of the above. Check in with some different providers and see what level of support they offer you, and see if they can tailor a package that’s right for you or your loved one.
Cost of Community Care
This is an important factor, as you want to be able to afford the best without breaking the bank. Ask some different providers for an outline of the expected costs of community care. It may be worth sketching out a rough budget of your income and expenses and seeing what you can afford. Did you know that the government offers subsidies for community care? This can make it more affordable than you think.
Attitude of Staff
This is really important. Working with aging people requires a great deal of tolerance, patience, compassion, kindness and acceptance. The last thing you want is someone without these attributes providing care for you or your loved one.
Ask to meet with some of the care staff before you choose a community care provider, ask them some questions and try to ascertain their attitude prior to picking a provider.
Allied Health Professionals?
Check in with the providers to see if they offer Allied Health professionals in their community care packages. These are highly qualified physiotherapists, occupational therapists and other specialists that can provide a great level of assistance for those who are aging. Not every provider will have them on the books, and keep in mind that you may incur additional expenses for these individuals.
Frequency of Visits
This is another important aspect of community care. How often are they able to visit you or your loved one? Ideally you will want to work out a schedule that is right for you, and enables you or your relative to live in relative independence for as long as possible before transitioning to residential care.
Do They Offer Social Support?
You may not realise it, but social connections are incredibly important as we age. Social interaction has a range of positive physical and mental health benefits, and the sad thing is that we often do less of it the older we get.
Some aged providers offer a simple drop-in service, where a friendly staff member can come and have a cuppa and a chat. See if the providers you’re investigating offer something like this.
To Sum it Up
So, work out a budget and check how much different community care providers cost, keeping in mind government subsidies. See what the level of support and frequency of visits are, and check to see if social support is provided. Finally, see if Allied Health staff can come to you for extra specialised care and always remember to get a feeling for the attitude of the staff.