The Most Important Question to Ask Any Senior Care Provider

April 29, 2021 by Katie Davis

Female caregiver reviews notes with older patient at home.

In our experience when searching for care for a loved one, the most important question to ask any senior care provider is: how do you take care of your caregivers?

Seeing Beyond the Sales Pitch

It’s likely no surprise that every senior care provider, including CarePods, has a sales pitch. Most companies spend a great deal of money each year on marketing and sales. And the Covid-19 pandemic has made the senior care environment more challenging than ever leading to more aggressive discounts and incentives in certain settings.

Families often spend most of their time working with the company’s sales team while making their decision. Then, once they sign up for service, they transition to the operations and caregiving teams as their loved ones begin to receive care. This is an area that can be rife with misplaced or misunderstood expectations. Remember this:

The company’s frontline caregivers will spend more time with your loved one than anyone else.

We repeat.

The company’s frontline caregivers will spend more time with your loved one than anyone else.

So, to get a better idea of what to expect, it’s a great idea to interact with those frontline caregivers when possible. Or, at the minimum to ask the sales representative specific questions about how they recruit, retain and support their caregiving workforce. 

Questions to Ask Senior Care Providers About Caregivers

Job satisfaction for caregivers is a highly subjective metric. But, there are general questions to ask that can help you identify what it’s like to be a caregiver for that company:

  1. (If a senior care community) What are your staffing ratios for my loved one’s dedicated area during all shifts? (If home care) How many hours do these caregivers work and/or how many clients do they serve in a week?
  2. What’s your average turnover rate and length of employment for frontline caregivers?
  3. How much do you pay your caregivers? Do they earn PTO or have health benefits?
  4. Do you reimburse your caregivers for travel-related expenses (if home care)?

Be A Pro-Caregiver Consumer

Now more than ever, we read news stories about low wages in senior care for frontline caregivers. It’s clear that new ideas like CarePods show promise in delivering high-quality jobs and fair compensation for caregivers.

But, the situation is complicated and senior care providers can’t change it without your help. Improving conditions for caregivers will require consumers (that’s you!) to be flexible and change your purchasing habits to drive further innovation in the industry. Below are a few ways you can be a more thoughtful and responsible consumer of senior care while ALSO taking fantastic care of your loved one:

  1. Embrace Technology. One of the reasons wages are so low in the industry is because caregivers are staffed for 24/7 coverage. But remote monitoring technology is getting better and better. There are wonderful new options in place that help you ensure your loved one has care in the event of an emergency.
  2. Consider Caregiving Shares. Many families hire private caregivers for their loved ones so they can ensure continuity of care and keep costs lower. But most older adults need short periods of hands-on care several times throughout the day. To spread the cost of a full-time caregiver, consider contacting families in similar situations who live near your loved one. Perhaps they also have needs and could split the cost of a caregiver with you. At CarePods, we work with local, licensed home care agencies to build out shared schedules. This helps our clients lower expenses while improving care. (IMPORTANT: We don’t recommend hiring private, unlicensed caregivers for many reasons, but we acknowledge and understand that this happens frequently.)
  3. Ask About Caregiver Wages. When consuming senior care, ask companies how much they pay their caregivers. While we understand the fixed challenges associated with paying caregivers more while also keeping costs within reach, having the conversation with providers helps demonstrate that companies who pay caregivers more may be viewed more favorably.

In closing, we don’t have to tell you there is no senior care without caregivers. We hope you’ll find this post to be a helpful reference when you’re researching the best senior care provider for your loved one. If we can help you care for your loved one, we’d love to hear from you.

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