IN-HOME CARE REVIEW
Updated for October, 2020
Always Best Care Review
Best For: Companion Care | Skilled Nursing Care
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Always Best offers the standard suite of home care services for seniors, including housekeeping and companionship services, while also offering more intensive personal care like help with hygiene and mobility. The company has some additional offerings as well, including their unique Always in Touch service, which provides companionship and health monitoring to seniors over the phone and the Always Safe program, which provides clients with a medical alert system and a professional intervention to improve home safety. These innovative, client-focused offerings make Always Best Care worth looking at if you’re in the market for general home care.
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- Organization help
- Home maintenance supervision
- Medication reminders
- Light housekeeping
- Meal planning and preparation
- Social escort
- Mobility assistance
- ADL assistance
- Alzheimer’s and dementia care
- Respite care
- Skilled nursing care
Always Best Care Review
As people get older and need more help with the basic daily activities of living, they may not be able to—or may not want to—rely on family or friends for assistance. They may, however, prefer to stay in their homes rather than pull up roots and move into an assisted living facility. Sometimes, too, they may only need help on a temporary basis—after an operation, say, or as a result of an injury. Many older people and their families turn to home care in these situations, and hire from a home care agency in order to get the help they need to sustain their lives while staying at home. For more than 20 years, Always Best Care has provided home care to seniors, and over that time they’ve expanded throughout the country. And Always Best doesn’t stop with basic home care: they also offer skilled nursing care, and are prepared to staff the homes of people with a variety of specific needs.
In contrast to some other home care companies on the market, many of which went from founding to franchise in a handful of years, Always Best Care spent a decade as a private company before choosing to expand via franchising in 2006. With a home office in California, Always Best now has over 200 franchised locations around the country, making it one of the nation’s larger home care companies. Since they’re franchises, these locations are independently owned and operated, but the central company does provide standards, training, and other support.
Perhaps the most important aspect of a home care company is how it hires its front line employees, and how it treats the employees it has. The central office sets policy for hiring, and Always Best stresses that the company conducts extensive background and reference checks for all prospective caregivers, makes sure that these employees are bonded and insured, and conducts extensive pre-service and continuing training.
These frontline employees also have some insight to offer about how the company runs, and for that reason, we also took a look at how Always Best caregivers rated their company in employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed. Here Always Best was in line with other home care companies, with about an average mix of employees happy with the company and a few offering criticism, with that criticism mostly directed at administrative problems at their local franchise office.
“Being a part of this organization is very satisfying. I enjoy working with different clients, and the staff is outstanding.”
“I love working at Always Best Care because I get to help others that can’t help themselves. It’s a great joy when you see your client’s face light up because
they know you care for them.”
“I really enjoyed working for this company. They really care about their clients and employees.”
Services And Offerings
Always Best offers all of the standard services that most home care companies provide, including grooming, bathing, and general hygiene, meal planning and preparation, light housekeeping, help with mobility (and exercise, if warranted), and running errands. Its caregivers are also able to provide some less common services, including supervising home maintenance, transportation to appointments and social engagements, and serving as an escort in social situations.
Higher Level Care
Always Best also offers some of the higher level services that many seniors need, including providing caregivers who specialize in care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, skilled nursing care, and other home health services.
Always in Touch
A unique service, Always Best offers homebound seniors who hire their caregivers a complimentary telephone reassurance program that provides long-distance companionship to seniors, including daily check-in and weekly socialization calls as needed.
Seniors living at home can have trouble maintaining a safe house, and can also find themselves unsure of how to preserve their health and general wellbeing. To combat this, Always Best offers its Always Safe program, which includes:
- A 35-point home safety inspection
- Exercise routines tailored to the client’s health and condition
- Monitoring of food intake and general nutrition
- Focused help with activities of daily living
- The use of a Philips Lifeline device which will alert emergency responders at the press of a button—or automatically alert responders if the device (a wearable pendant) determines that the client has fallen.
Automated Medication Dispenser
As part of the company’s partnership with Philips, it also offers its clients the Philips automated medication dispenser, an electronic device that dispenses medication at pre-programmed intervals, while providing reminder alerts and notifying caregivers of any missed doses.
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Word on the Street
We stress that most home care agencies are structured as franchises: it’s important to always keep in mind that, no matter what a company’s national reputation might be, most individual offices are locally owned and operated. So as you shop for home care, do your due diligence with each local office—ask for references and for a chance to contact former or current clients before you make a decision.
At the same time, the national company usually has a significant impact on the quality of their franchised locations, so it’s useful to get a sense of the consistency and quality of several local offices by looking at online reviews. We’ve done this with Always Best, and found that the company gets consistently high marks from its current and former clients and their families, as well as from professionals who referred their clients to Always Best to seek home care services.
Caregivers Received Praise
One constant among home care companies is the praise that clients offer the frontline employees; few people take on such jobs unless they truly care for the people they’ll serve. Even so, Always Best caregivers were frequently praised for their competence, with their caregivers offering services very much on a par with the rest of the industry.
Administration Stood Out
Administration is an achilles heel for many home care offices: to an extent, this is understandable, given how varied the demands can be on home care office can be on any given day. Always Best stood out in this category, with clients and their families routinely mentioning the efficiency, helpfulness, and professionalism of office staff, as well as their willingness to communicate clearly—to clients and their families—about issues related to the care they received.
Trust and Dependability
Again, home care is a complex industry, and delivering personalized care to dozens of clients can lead to some hitches. Still, as mentioned, Always Best got high marks for its office staff, and the reliability of the front line staff were definitely on a par with the other companies whose reviews we surveyed.
“Always Best Care Senior Services has truly been a blessing for us because they were able to assist us in bridging a communicating gap we were struggling with. From learning about my father’s illness in detail to being able to assist him in his aging needs, I really appreciate their expert advice and assistance and will continue to utilize their services.”
“If you want competent, if you want empathy, if you want sincere, if you want above and beyond, and you need someone to care for your aging parents…this is the place to go!”
“The owner and nurse of Always Best Care Senior Services of South Florida met with us to determine a plan of care and assess our needs. We have had two different caregivers, both of whom are very caring, reliable, polite and kind. It gives me much needed relief to know that my husband is in good hands when I need to be out of our home.”
Cost and Value
We alwasys strive to get information about hourly rates from a variety of locations, in cities big and small across the country. Home care costs can vary depending on location and on local health care regulations, so we also compare each location’s rates with information about the rates commonly charged in the area as compiled by Genworth.
When it comes to cost, Always Best offices came in a little above the median rate for home care in the areas they served. This right-about-average trend is confirmed in consumer reviews, as well: reviewers will sometimes mention the expense involved with their home care, but we noted no clients mentioning the cost in the reviews we sampled. It should be noted, however, that some locations require customers to pay in advance for as much as two weeks of planned service, and some locations require a minimum number of hours per visit.