Beginning the process of securing proper care for a senior in your life may be a daunting process. It is difficult to know where to begin, and it is even harder to secure the high-quality care your loved one needs. One of the first steps is to figure out what level of caregiving is best. Below is a description of the amount of training and certification levels for different kinds of caregivers.
Family Caregiver/Non-Professional Caregiver
Most Americans will become caregivers at some point in their lives. As family members and loved ones age, they require more and more care. This typically ends up with older people relying on people they know who have no formal training in caring for the elderly, but who probably have many years of training in knowing how to love the senior in their care.
This situation is best when plans are made far ahead of time, care is coordinated among many doctors, and there are no significant health problems that cannot be managed with a doctor's monitoring. For example, an aging man with diabetes (which can be controlled by diet, exercise, and medications under the supervision of a doctor) may live comfortably with his adult children for many years, especially if he is mobile and has no significant neurological issues such as confusion or memory loss.
Since family members do not have special medical training and may not be able to deal with serious physical issues such as a lack of mobility or difficulty breathing, they still may be able to offer a comfortable and familiar home with the right medical support.
Non-Certified Home Aides
There is no specific, national standard for what services in-home aides supply. Typically, these companions provide necessary homemaking tasks, such as making meals, doing laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, general social companionship, and even transportation. They are often trained by individual companies or privately contracted, and are not certified by any school or college. They are not often covered by health insurance, and so can often pose a financial obstacle. This kind of care is well-suited to seniors, though, who are limited in mobility or may require supervision and help but who do not need round-the-clock medical care. It is also ideal for seniors needing more social time, which can stave off age-related depression.
Certified Nurse's Aides (CNA)/Home Health Aides (HHA)
These are trained professionals who work under the direction and supervision of doctors and nurses. CNAs and HHAs have received formal training and passed exams, placing themselves on a state-registered list of people who are qualified to give certain types of care. This care is usually more complex and medically-related than a non-certified home aide. They are more qualified, for example, to administer medications, provide nutritional information, monitor statistics such as blood pressure and temperature, and help with mobility. CNAs and HHAs do not always help with housekeeping, but they may, based on patient need and the negotiation of their duties.<