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When you're looking for care at home to help maintain your independence, a big concern can often be scheduling. When will someone be available? Are there limitations? Will someone be on the same timetable as I am? All of these concerns are valid, and the crew at Home Helpers is ready to offer flexibility to those families in need.

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Elderly care / photo courtesy of Getty Images

"That means that you can add schedules when you need more help and eliminate schedules (with 48 hours notice) when you don't," said Clare Parker, MPH, adding that this flexibility is especially helpful for new clients. "Most people have an idea of what they want but frequently find that the shift starts too early or too late or should be of a different length or on a different day. We know that someone who has never had this sort of care is usually guessing about what they want and need, and that the reality may turn out to be different."

Parker also said that Home Helpers has schedules as short as one hour and as long as 24 hours per day.

And while newcomers to the care-giving scene are expected to need changes, Home Helpers recognizes that sometimes the caregivers introduce the change by getting sick or needing to stay with one of their own family members unexpectedly.

"It is just for such occasions that we encourage all our clients to have at least two caregivers whom they know and like so that if their favorite is ill or unavailable, we can send in a substitute whom they will enjoy and not have to train," Parker said.  

Home Helpers also recognizes that emergencies or sudden changes in the client's life can also be a factor.

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Elderly care / photo courtesy of Getty Images

"The client who breaks her wrist, for example, is almost certain to realize quickly that her two-day-a-week, 2-hour shift is not enough when she tries to run her household one-handed," Parker explained. "Similarly, the client who signs on for a night companion while in the hospital may find that when he goes home, he no longer needs anyone at night, but now needs someone to drive him to his follow-up appointments."

Parker emphasized that they recognize all this changing about is not easy, regardless of the reason(s) behind it.

"Sometimes life comes at you fast, and we try to move fast enough to keep up," she shared. "We are not perfect, but we try hard and do all we can to help our families. We really want to give our clients what they want and what they need."

At Home Helpers, Parker said they focus on helping individuals or families determine their needs and preferences and then on matching that with a caregiver or caregivers who excel at meeting their kinds of needs and whose personalities will be compatible with the clients'.  

"We strive to make the best matches possible in every situation, and we will work with a client or family to ensure everyone is happy," she said, adding that they work with both caregivers and family to obtain feedback on a regular basis to ensure that everything is going well and determine if any changes need to be made at many times during the relationship.

Home Helpers also has an independent agency that gets feedback from their clients and caregivers and gets it to the company, often anonymously, and this is also extremely helpful in making sure they are offering people what they want as well as what they need, given that no one wants to need help.

"Although all our caregivers have clear backgrounds, and most of them are female, they are widely different in terms of personality, education, and history," Parker said. "We are proud of them, their achievements, and their work ethic."

To learn more about Home Helpers, call 423-505-2928 or visit homehelpershomecare.com/chattanooga/home.

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