It can be uncomfortable to come to terms with the fact that your older relative needs in-home assistance—both for you and for them. However, overcoming this hurdle and actually securing that help is a necessary step, and you'll both be much happier and safer once you've taken it. That being said, the process of selecting an in-home assistant for your loved one can be understandably difficult. You want to make sure that the person is competent, compassionate and trustworthy, and that they'll treat the person they're helping with dignity and respect. Here's what you should consider.
Private Company or Individual?
You have options right from the start. You'll be able to hire either an independent worker or somebody who's contracted through a larger private company. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. With an individual, you know exactly who you're hiring from the get-go. They may also be cheaper than a private company, as they don't need to shoulder the costs of offices, administration and suchlike. Still, there are certainly advantages to going with a bigger company. For example, a private company will be able to offer cover when your usual carer is unwell or on holiday. You could also argue that a person employed by a company has gone through a more stringent process of interview and approval—but don't forget that an individual worker's business is entirely based on their reputation. As such, if somebody has been successfully self-employed as a home carer for many years, you should have a reasonable expectation of competence and trustworthiness.
If you do go through a private company, you still do have control over who is sent to your loved one's home. If you don't feel that one particular person is suited to your elderly relative's needs, for example, then you can request another from the company. Because of this, you could say that hiring through a company—as opposed to an individual—gives you the best of both worlds.
You should aim to spend some time with your family member and their new home care assistant together. That way, you can help to ensure that they understand one another's needs and requirements, and reassure yourself that they're getting along well and your relative is comfortable. This is a perfectly normal and acceptable thing to do for the first few days; the carer will not feel that you're intruding or distrusting them, and you should not feel uncomfortable about it. Once you're sure that they're a good match, you can leave them to it.
Having a home care assistant can be liberating and life-changing for many elderly people, especially if they live alone otherwise. These people are trained not only to assist with everyday tasks, but also to check on how your relative is coping as an individual person. It's a personal level of aged care that makes the world of difference—turning a struggling life into a thriving one. That's the kind of life you want for your loved one—so if you think they could benefit, there's no better time to start making enquiries.