Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions about A Better Living Home Care Agency. If you have any other questions that are not answered here, please do not hesitate to call us.

We opened our doors in Sacramento in 2001, and have been serving the Greater Sacramento area seniors and their families for over 20 years

You can begin right now by calling us, or contact us online. We offer a free in home consultation. For your convenience, our knowledgeable staff can even arrange for a home caregiver right over the phone. Contact us today, and we’ll quickly and efficiently arrange for an experienced, qualified, highly compatible caregiver.

Absolutely. We will meet with you and your family in your home or at a hospital/skilled nursing facility to discuss and identify your needs and requirements. This meeting helps us identify the skills required and characteristics that you would highly value in a caregiver. This information enables us to provide you with a caregiver that is highly compatible with you and your family. Occasionally, individuals needing care, or their family members, have learned of our reputation and need to arrange for services over the phone without the free consultation. In those cases, we are happy to gather the information over the telephone and base our provider choice on the information gathered by our knowledgeable care coordinators. Either way, compatibility is guaranteed!

Many people function for years with physical disabilities and minor cognitive impairment. When they can no longer perform basic “Activities of Daily Living” and their spouse, family, or friends are unable to assist in their performance, then an in home caregiver is needed.

Basic Activities of Daily Living include: bathing, dressing, hygiene, using the toilet, managing incontinence, feeding oneself, ambulation (walking), or wheelchair transfers.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living: Of course there are many other activities that one may require assistance with when living at home even if the basic Basic Activities of Daily Living can be performed, such as: grocery shopping, meal preparation, self-administration of medication, housekeeping, driving or arranging transportation, home maintenance, caring for pets, and using the telephone to name a few.

Emotional and Social Well-being: Once home-bound, individuals with diminished physical and/or mental capacity may cease interacting with their friends and social groups, and can become isolated. Caregivers can be a great source of emotional and social support. They can accompany clients shopping, to church, to social functions, play games, and stimulate their thinking. Sometimes a caregiver can just be there to listen to the rich and interesting stories of their client’s lives and share their experiences. 

Does your elder have one or more of these “Red Alerts” indicating they might need in-home care?

  • Any degree of cognitive impairment
  • Forgets to take medication
  • Over/under dosing of medications
  • Difficulty and anxiety with new tasks
  • Families who live out of town
  • Lost driving privileges
  • One or more falls, trips, or slips
  • One or more unplanned hospital stays
  • One or more visits to the ER
  • Unpaid bills and home not managed well
  • Victim of financial elder abuse

Anyone who needs assistance day to day or from time to time. Our clients receive assistance with daily activities for enhanced independence. Conditions caregivers often provide assistance with:

  • Physical disabilities, either temporary, or permanent
  • Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias (mild to severe)
  • Memory impairment, and/or other cognitive impairments
  • Frail elderly who are at risk of falls and other causes of injury
  • Strokes
  • Cancers
  • Surgical recovery
  • Medical illness recovery
  • Hospice care
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Chronic conditions (such as heart disease, vascular disease, COPD, diabetes, kidney failure, the effects of strokes, and many others)
  • Isolated seniors
  • Others needing permanent or temporary assistance

A Caregiver is a person who provides personal care assistance to individuals who cannot perform them without assistance or significant effort. They assist with activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living, as well as providing comforting companionship, health and safety monitoring.

Types of Professional Caregivers

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) – CNA’s have the skills and capability to provide high acuity home care. Trained to work in hospitals, skilled nursing homes and certified by the state, they can provide all levels of hands-on care and assistance. They are ready to handle the most challenging situations in the home, such as; bed-bound, total care needs, and hospice situations.

Certified Home Health Aides (CHHA) – Trained to provide care in -home care and certified by the state of California. CHHA’s provide hands on personal care to patients of home health care agencies. Like CNA’s they have the skills to provide highest level home care services.

Home Care Aides – Many have worked and CNA’s and prefer the home setting where they are responsible for one client at a time and can develop close caring relationships. Others have gained their skills through prior training and experience. Ideal when a balanced approach of caring companionship, personal care, household help and driving/transportation is needed.

Companion Homemakers Offer comforting companionship personal care assistance, ambulation assistance, meal preparation, light housekeeping, safety monitoring, run errands, shopping, driving and/or arranging transportation. A good choice when the priority is on companionship and household help.

Personal Attendants – Are providers of what most think of as “sitter services”, including supervision, companionship, feeding and dressing of a person who needs supervision.

Senior Helpers – Offer companionship, run errands, accompany to appointments and social activities, drive/arrange transportation, help with pets, paying bills, reading to the sight impaired. The focus is less on hand-on personal care such as bathing and hygiene, etc.

Very few individuals actually have a need for a “Nurse” when they looking for in-home care and assistance. A nurse is needed only when there are medical services to be provided. A nurse may be either a Registered Nurse (RN), or a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) and provides medical services under the direction of a physician. Should a nurse be required and non-medical home care is needed, a caregiver is obtained from a non-medical home care agency, and nursing services may be obtained through a medical home healthcare agency, hospice care agency,  or private duty nurse agency. Nursing services may be paid by health insurance, or Medicare, however they do not cover the cost of a nurse providing non-medical care.

We have a large caregiver provider registry of caregivers who have a variety of skills, training and experience. Many of our caregivers are certified nursing assistants, or certified home health aides with extensive training and experience in acute environments. Others are home care aides, personal care attendants, and companion/homemakers with significant caregiving experience and capabilities to care for seniors living with the effects of Alzheimer’s, dementia, strokes, Parkinson’s disease, MS, cancer, end-of-life care, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and many more conditions. Please see “What is a Caregiver” on this page for more information.

We start the process when we receive a call about our services. Our knowledgeable staff begins gathering information and determining each client’s needs and preferences immediately on the telephone. Then, we’ll arrange a free home care consultation, which is an onsite meeting where we get to know each client and continue to gather information to further clarify your caregiver requirements. Using that information, we’ll identify a highly compatible caregiver based on their experience, skills, and location from our large professional caregiver registry. Of course, we back our caregiver referral with our Compatibility Guarantee. If you don’t feel a referral is satisfactory, upon your request, we’ll work to quickly and efficiently to provide another caregiver better suited to you.

We are happy to arrange personal, or telephone interviews as is most practical, depending on the client, the timeframe, and caregiver availability. If you want to interview several caregivers, we’ll arrange it and you can decide who is the best fit.

Sometimes they need assistance at night or just feel safer knowing someone is there ready to help in an emergency. Live In care is just like it sounds. A caregiver is provided a private room and board by the client, and lives in the home with the client on the days they work. They sleep at night, and are available to help as needed. Generally, a Live-In caregiver should be able to get at least 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep, and works 8 hours intermittently throughout the day, taking breaks as they require. Recent California and federal legislation have virtually eliminated the “Live-In” caregiver category. However, a single caregiver may provide up to 24 hours of care coverage by working a 24 hour, or even a 16 hour shift in some cases. Usually, agencies provide two caregivers working alternating 12 hour shifts, or three caregivers to work in 8 hour shifts.

That’s no problem. Our agency has a required minimum number of 4 hours per visit, but no minimum hours per week. Caregivers may work for as few as 4 hours per visit up to 24 hours. Once a caregiver is referred, you and the caregiver may establish a schedule that best meets your needs.

Our goal is to establish long term, highly compatible care relationships between clients, their families and their caregivers. A key ingredient to developing a successful caregiving relationship is consistency. Once we provide a caregiver she/he is your caregiver and only you or the caregiver may terminate the relationship. Of course, if a caregiver is ill or otherwise unable to provide services, we are happy to arrange a temporary or permanent replacement.

Absolutely. We do not dictate care schedules, and encourage clients and their families to develop a schedule that fits their need for in-home assistance as they see fit within their available resources. Clients and their families are free to develop a schedule that best meets their needs with caregivers.

To develop a deep, rewarding care relationship, and avoid turnover; a care schedule that is consistent fosters a long term caring relationship. Keep your expectations reasonable, and avoid situations that increase the possibility of turnover, such as canceling at the last minute, frequently changing the schedule, and unreasonable schedules like seven days a week, or not granting a day off.

If you ever need a temporary or permanent replacement for a caregiver, we’ll be happy to provide another caregiver to you. We understand that sometimes things change, or occasionally it might not be the best fit. We’ll talk to you about your requirements, and work too quickly and efficiently provide a caregiver that better suits you.

Our expertise is providing individuals and their families with experienced, qualified, highly compatible caregivers in a manner that results in a solid, long term caregiving relationship that enhances our client’s lives and independence. The services our agency provides:

  • We maintain the area’s leading registry of personally selected professional caregivers who are skilled and experienced at providing home care services to clients in need.
  • Your safety and the security of your personal belongings are priority. Each caregiver registered with our agency is thoroughly screened and must pass a criminal background check. They possess the skills, capabilities and experience to care for individuals over the entire spectrum of non-medical home care, from companion care through total dependent care at home.
  • We offer a free in home care consultation in each client’s home or a health care facility (prior to discharge) where we learn about the situation and discuss the requirements for a successful caregiver experience. If the need is urgent and there is not time for home care consultation, our knowledgeable care coordinators will discuss your situation and requirements, then work to quickly arrange for a caregiver over the phone.
  • Based on each client’s unique requirements we refer professional home caregiver(s) from our registry of professional caregivers who best meet each client’s requirements.
  • If a caregiver is ill, goes on vacation, or is otherwise unable to work we can provide temporary or permanent caregiver replacements.
  • Information on elder care issues and knowledge of local resources.
  • Provide knowledgeable assistance with Long Term Care Insurance benefit applications, and submitting claim information.

If an individual has dementia, memory impairment, or is disoriented to the degree that they pose a risk to themselves or others, they need in home care assistance. When a spouse, family, or friend is unable to be onsite, they need the assistance of an in home caregiver. Many families have trouble believing their loved one needs assistance if the cognitive impairment appears to be mild, and they are otherwise in excellent physical condition. Cognitive impairment often leads to: malnutrition; dehydration can occur quickly with devastating effects; medication overdoses or not taking vital medications; infections from poor hygiene; and unreported changes in health status. If there is an emergency, such as a fire or a fall would your loved one know what to do?

Most of our caregivers are referred from other caregiver’s with whom we have worked. Each caregiver desiring to offer their services through our agency is:

  • Screened over the telephone based on their experience, training, certifications and professionalism.
  • If they pass the initial telephone screening they are invited for a personal interview, where a thorough assessment of their qualifications, work experience, professional references and credentials is made. We cannot emphasize enough that they must also be positive, caring, friendly people that we would be proud to have join caregiver community.
  • Finally, we verify each prospective caregiver’s professional references, and run background checks including: a 7 year criminal history search, driving history, a social security number/tax identification number verification and verify their Department of Homeland Security Form I-9 status.
  • Once they successfully pass our screening, they are invited to join our community of care providers and registered with our agency.

Most of the time our clients don’t need to stop service, but suspend it due to a hospital admission or obtaining help from a family caregiver. Our agency has no minimum service requirements, so you can suspend services and you won’t incur any service fees, and start again later. We ask that you call us 24 hours in advance, if possible.

  • If you are considering stopping our services on a temporary basis, just call us to let us know for what period you won’t need our services. Because our agency does not require a minimum service commitment, it costs you nothing to have us at the ready, so we can help when you need services.
  • If you are thinking of ending services, because you are dissatisfied with our service, please call us and we will be happy to discuss what we can do better. You can always ask us to provide another caregiver that better meets your requirements.
  • If you don’t need our services anymore, and wish to terminate our service agreement you may do so in writing via email, fax or mail. We ask that you provide notice by phone 24 hours in advance.

Unfortunately, HMOs, health insurance policies, and Medicare do not provide significant, if any, benefit for in home caregiving. They consider it custodial, not medical care, thus it is not a covered benefit. There are some Veteran Administration benefits that do cover some home care aide services, for example the VA Aid and Attendance Program. HMOs, Health Insurers, and Medicare provide coverage for “home health care”. Usually after a discharge from the hospital a medical home health care agency nurse, or physical therapist may come to the home to perform medical services, such as sterile wound care or physical therapy. A nurse assistant may even occasionally assist with bathing to maintain hygiene. These care professionals do not stay for an extended period; they arrive, provide hands on care, and leave. The rest is up to the patient, or family caregivers.

Long Term Care policies provide coverage; however, each policy is different and may have requirements that need to be met before they will pay. We understand that sometimes the policies can be complicated, and the confusing terminology doesn’t help, that’s why we are happy to help you with this process. If you are considering applying for home care benefits, call us and we’ll be happy to review your policy over the phone or at your home consultation. Always call your agent or the insurer for benefit clarification, and to begin the claim process as early as you can. Please see our Long Term Care Insurance Page.

A home health care agency provides medical care through licensed medical providers such as: nurses, physical therapists, speech therapists, and occupational therapists on a temporary basis, usually to assist with recovery from a hospitalization at home. Home care agencies provide non-medical personnel (home care aides, or caregivers), to help and assist with personal care, bathing, dressing, activities of daily living, appointments, medication reminders, companionship, meal preparation, driving, etc. on a temporary or ongoing basis. Home care companies may employ the workers they provide, or refer independent professional workers. Those that refer workers maintain a registry of professional workers, and are known in California as “domestic referral agencies, “referral agencies” or “personnel services”. A Better Living Home Care Agency is a referral agency.

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