In-home care for an elderly person is often a long-term commitment. It is crucial to take the time to find a caregiver who will be trustworthy, dependable and compassionate to your loved one. Families may choose to use a service or agency to find a caregiver, place an ad in the newspaper or use a private hire. Regardless of the method used, the process should include careful screening and interviewing candidates to find the right match for your family.
Discuss your older loved one’s needs, expectations and doctor recommendations with each candidate during the interview. Make sure to ask about previous experience working with seniors. You should also ask about what areas of expertise each candidate has. If your elderly loved one has a special need, such as dementia, you may want to find a caregiver with specific training and experience in caring for that particular condition.
Depending on the level of care required, you will need to decide if you need a licensed home health aide or an experienced nurse. You should be sure to find out if the candidate has any professional credentials, such as a nursing degree or a certification from a home health agency.
The first step is to write a detailed job description. This will help you figure out what tasks are needed, how many hours you need and how much you can afford to pay. It may help to think through a full week of care, hour by hour, so you can be clear about what each candidate is expected to do. It’s important to be realistic about your needs and not offer less than the going rate in your area. You are less likely to get responses from experienced caregivers if your hourly rate is significantly below the average rate.
Some families choose to hire a full-time caregiver or live-in home caregiver, while others only need short term respite care or help with daily living activities. If you are looking for a long-term caregiver, it’s helpful to consider whether your senior might qualify for a program that can help offset costs such as Medicare Advantage or long term care insurance.
When it comes to finding a caregiver, the best advice is to listen to your gut instinct and choose someone who you feel comfortable with. It’s important to invite your loved one to the initial interview so they can meet the candidate and see how they interact. You may also want to establish a trial period to be certain your loved one is happy with their new companion. If you’re hiring a long-term caregiver, consider enlisting the help of an attorney to draft an employment contract. This will create documentation that may be important if you need to reimburse your elder’s caregiving expenses from Medicaid or long term care insurance. A lawyer can also review the contract to be sure it’s legally sound. For more information on finding a caregiver, visit our articles on What to Expect from a Caregiver and How to Set up Respite Care. how to find a caregiver for elderly