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When you’re a caregiver for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease, deciding to hire professional care is challenging enough; the search for the right type of care can feel even more overwhelming. This step-by-step guide can help you choose the right professional care services — and find the best providers — for your loved one. 

Step 1: Assess the needs and priorities of you and your loved one how much help does your loved one need? In what areas do you and your care team need extra support? What skills and services do you consider non-negotiable for your loved one’s well-being? Consider these factors and rank them from most to least important: Assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, eating, and exercisingMedication management or other medical needsLaundry, light housekeeping, meal shopping, and preparation getting in and out of bed or chairs or moving around the houseTransportation to/from medical appointments, social visits, and recreational visitsFrequency and length — daily or a few times a week; full day, half day, or hourly

Step 2: Determine what providers fit your family’s needs and prioritiesThere are two different types of care services: Skilled care services must be performed by licensed professionals, like registered nurses and licensed therapists, and social workers. Non-skilled care services are given under the guidance of skilled-care workers, like companions or “sitters,” certified nurse assistants (CNAs), home health and nurses’ aides, and homemaking aides. There are four different types of providers who offer these services: Adult day facilities provide planned daytime programming or services to adults with higher abilities. In-home care through agencies or private individuals. Residential care facilities like assisted living centers provide care for individuals with higher abilities who need little help with the activity of living. Nursing homes offer skilled or long-term care for individuals who require 24-hour medical care and can’t live alone. Hospice care agencies provide 24/7 comfort and quality of life to terminally ill individuals at home, assisted living centers, nursing homes, or hospitals. 

Step 3: Map out a plan to pay for your loved one’s services.Now that you know what kind of care and provider your loved one needs, create a plan to pay for it. Identify the costs of care and family members that should be included in your financial plans. There are various resources available to help you organize the assets and debts your family is responsible for. Review insurance coverage and options. Does your loved one have private insurance? Do they have coverage through Medicare, Medicare Part D, Medigap, or Medicaid? Generally, Medicare and private insurance only cover certain types of skilled-care services, while non-skilled care services can be paid out of pocket. Explore other options and resources. Other financial resources may be available to help cover care costs, including Employee or retirement benefits personal assets such as savings, investments, and property veteran benefitsSupplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), if you are younger than 65Community organizations that provide low-cost or even free services, including Meals on Wheels, respite care, and transportation services

Step 4: Do your research and contact providers. Use reputable resources to find providers in your area. Ask for referrals from those you trust, like your loved one’s healthcare providers, other caregivers, and local senior centers. Utilize agencies, organizations, and local chapters of related associations. Contact providers. Describe your situation, and explain what you would like from a care service. Ask questions regarding qualifications, types of services offered, cost, and hours of availability. Prepare to provide them with your loved one’s name, their physician’s name and number, diagnoses, other health and behavioral care needs, and insurance coverage. Narrow down to the top 2-3 providers. Consider the list of needs and priorities you made in Step 1 and your financial plan in Step 3. Decide which of the most recommended providers best fits what you’re looking for and contact 623.326.7093