Choosing an elder care provider for the first time, or choosing an elder care provider that's more qualified to meet the needs of your loved one, can seem like a daunting task. Where do you begin, and how can you make the search easier? How can you make a comparison of different providers in a compassionate, yet logical way that satisfies both peace of mind and financial responsibility?

Consider the approach you use when purchasing or opting to buy any major service for your home, business, or family. At first, this approach may seem cold, business-like, and lacking in compassion, but it is essential to take this stance when purchasing a service on this scale.

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If you set your emotions aside and focus first on the needs of your elder family member from a straight-forward, logical place, you will be less likely to be taken advantage of by those who would prey upon your emotions, and less likely to make a decision solely based on "how you feel"-and more about "what does my elderly family member need and want" in Elder Care?

First, list the day-to-day needs of your family member, and ensure that the most fundamental needs are not only met, but exceeded. Second, list the emotional needs of your elderly family member, and for your family as well, to ensure that the elder care provider you choose will meet, anticipate, and hopefully far exceed these needs. Here are some tips:

Whenever possible, talk with your elderly family member. Ask about their needs and preferences-do they want to live at home and have help with errands and tasks? Will they benefit from visits by in-home health professionals, nurses, nutritionists, physical therapists? Would they benefit from being part of a vibrant, senior assisted living community that offers some day-to-day assistance along with community building, group activities with other seniors?

List what is working: Are there confident areas where your elderly family member does NOT need assistance? If so, continuing to allow them the freedom to accomplish and excel in these areas will contribute to their independence and boost their confidence and self-esteem.