How To Manage Senior Care For The First Time

By Michael Walecki

You are exploring this new experience for the first time, and it takes courage to properly take on an endeavour as noble as caring for a loved one.

With this brand new life situation, you might be feeling a little worried, confused, or overwhelmed.

There is no way to avoid it, but managing your family's senior care needs for the first time can be a little challenging.

But whether you have the support of other family members, or if you are left to take this new journey all alone, there has never been a better time to equip yourself with the right tools and support to provide the ultimate care for your beloved senior.

Let's take a look on how we can help you manage your senior care needs.

What NOT to do

Looking for personal support for your senior can be a life-shift, and you've finally come to terms that there has to be more done to help your senior that you care for.

  • Don't overthink it.

    The most important part of living is to make sure that you have your perspectives correctly aligned.

    The worst thing you can do for yourself, and for your loved ones is to over react, become overwhelmed, and have your mind running like a pinball machine.

    Relax, recalibrate your mind, and align yourself to manage senior care correctly.

  • Don't try to solve everything yourself

    You are not alone. Accepting the fact that you can recieve help from other people is the most liberating thing for you in your new situation.

    Why not condense weeks of time and research into just a few hours by
    speaking with an expert.

    You have a new problem, and there are people who have solved that problem hundreds of times. Ask, and you shall receive.

The most important thing to remember is to realize that there are many solutions to a problem that you are facing, and that there are people here to support you.

Let's look at some of the ways that you can manage your senior care needs in a positive way.

Focus On What You CAN Do

1. Mentally Prepare Yourself and Your Family

You and your family will experience a shift in the family dynamic, and that means resources like time, energy, or finances will be allocated in new ways.

Keep everyone on the same page when moving forward, and do so by keeping some of these principles in mind:

  • Keep the Senior as the #1 Priority
    Don't forget the senior is who we are caring for. Having the "Senior-First" approach will help the family remember what the priority is
  • Speak with Your Senior
    Have a conversation with the senior if they are able to have a say in the type of care they recieve. It is best to keep the senior as involved as possible, because THEY are the focus of care. Remember, the senior is still a human.
  • Plan for the Unexpected
    It is best to prepare for the worst case situation. This allows the family to be ready for whatever the family will experience with senior care. Do this by creating multiple potential outcomes with different realities, and each of those journeys and what you might encounter along the way.
  • Create Rules
    Create personal rules for each member, their commitment level, how they wish to be communicated to. Setting these types of boundaries will allow each member to contribute to Senior Care correctly, and will allow for the family dynamic to stay stable as everyone knows their personal responsibility.
  • Understand Emotions
    Be kind to everyone involved, and be flexible with the new changes. This is a brand new life situation for the family, and it is important to be reasonable when shifting into this new family dynamic. Understand that roles, situations, and people will change throughout the process. The more nimble you are, the easier it will be to adjust.

2. Take Note of Current Senior Care Situation

Taking account of your seniors current situation is very important and it is vital to making sure you care correctly for your loved one.

There are many things to consider when looking at your families current senior care situation, and though there is a lot to consider, you can easily compile a list of important pain points you must relieve.

This is the awareness stage, and the main goal of the awarEness is to obtain access to more information.

The most effective way to obtain the highest quality of precision when it comes to understanding your current senior care situation, is by asking the specific questions that will provide specific answers to your problems.

And the questions must encompass every single area of life: Physical, Mental/Emotional, Spiritual, Familial, Resource/Logistical, Social, Vocational. Asking extremely specific questions in each and every single area of life, will properly prepare you by understanding the exact situation you and your family is in.

Missing a key piece of information can be the difference between okay care, and outstanding support.

We have developed the most comprehensive questionnaire, which has 764 questions to further deepen your understanding of your current senior care situation.

Get The Questionnaire Now 

The most important thing to understand is that you cannot move forward with caring for your senior, unless you know the exact ways that they need to be helped.

3. Look at Your Care Options

It is important to look at the caregivers that will not only take care of the seniors that you love in your life, but also give you the peace of mind that you have been looking to receive.

Here are things to consider when weighing your options when looking for a caregiver:

  • Experience
    The length of time a company has been serving their community. The longer the better. The experience of team members of a company are also important (look for companies that are run by health professionals)
  • Associations Companies Have Partnered with
    The amount and the type of partnerships the company has. Working alongside hospitals, retirement homes, and health organizations shows that the organization is trusted among the largest health institutions.
  • Types of Service Provided
    Find a company that provides the services that your senior needs. Ensure that your current needs and potential future needs can also be fulfilled by the same company.
  • Bonded and Insured Staff
    There are lots of risks and liabilities when it comes to dealing with senior care needs. Make sure that you involve your care needs with companies where staff is bonded and insured.
  • Transparency
    With modern day technology and capabilities, people only trust companies and organizations where they have the ability to keep track of their families health care. Look for organizations that provide that transparency and do not settle for anything less.
  • Flexibility
    It is paramount that you are not locked into any contracts. You are in control of your care, and you are able to have a contract-less agreement. Look for freedom, and the ability to choose your care.
  • Additional Value
    Many agencies will provide you with bare minimum care for a slightly unfair price. Look for agencies that provide additional value to support your seniors and your family. This extra value can look like resources and tools to help you with solving additional problems for you and your senior care needs.

4. Test Your Care

This is one of the most crucial moments when deciding to commit to a caring company.

You can hear so much from other sources, but you will truly begin to understand a company's integrity once you receive care firsthand.

At Excel Care, we believe care consists of two components: Competence, and Compassion.

Competence is the ability to do something successfully or efficiently, and in relation to our care, it is the ability to fulfill the responsibilities of the caregiver. These are also known as the "hard-skills".

Compassion is the heart of what we do as caregivers. This is going above and beyond the call of duty, and to find the overlooked details of care, and to connect with our patients on a deeper level. These are known as "soft-skills", but at Excel Care, these are referred to as "Heart Skills"

When observing the care that has been received by any caregiver, it is important to use these two categories to distinguish between mediocre care, and Professional Care.

Here are some questions you can ask to determine if care has been done the right way:


  • Did the caregiver show up on time?
  • Did the caregiver complete ADL's?
  • Did they complete ADL's correctly?
  • Did the caregiver update the care plan?
  • Did the caregiver communicate any changes with you?


  • How did your loved one feel after the visit?
  • Did the caregiver spend any time learning about your loved one?
  • Did the caregiver do a small extra thing to make your loved ones life easier?
  • Did the caregiver leave a detailed and descriptive note to summarize care?
  • Did the caregiver make sure that the things they completed were done correctly?

Remember, you should not be working with an agency that locks you into a sort of contract. You should always have the ability to change agencies if the quality of care is not up-to-par with what you expected.

5. Reflect on Next Steps

The last step is to reflect on the entire caring process that you have experienced, and see if this is a caring company that you can move forward with into the future.

You can ask questions to discover where

  • Did you feel listened to?
  • Did your senior feel cared for?
  • Was communication with your agency continual and transparent
  • Did you feel like you were understood?
  • Would you feel comfortable with leaving your loved one under their care for 1 month straight?
  • Would you recommend this caring company to your closest friend?

Managing Senior Care Doesn't Have To Be Overwhelming

We understand this is a brand new situation that you and your family is experiencing, and there can be a bit of "overload" when it comes to information and ways to tackle this new problem.

If you feel like you would benefit by having a quick conversation with one of our care professionals, feel free to reach out to us to learn more about how we can support you.

Ask Us Anything

Michael Walecki is the Communication Specialist at Excel Care Nursing Services. When he’s not serving clients, he's either reading books or cycling on some backroad in Milton or Caledon. He calls Mississauga, Ontario home.

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