How to Choose the Right Caregiver for Your Elderly Parent at Home


The  Institute for Health & Aging at the University of California has stated that approximately 41 million Americans have their daily activities limited due to chronic health conditions. Twelve million of them are not able to live on their own. Many elders who have crossed the age of 85 are in need of long-term care, which means that they require assistance to perform personal daily tasks such as dressing, eating, and bathing.

Many of these elderly choose to live in their own homes as long as it is possible to continue. In most cases, they need outside help to make this possible. In many cases, it is family and friends who provide this care to them, unpaid of course. However, more and more seniors and family members are contemplating hiring caregivers to aid in the process in order to give more flexibility and free time to the families. The federal government is also setting up funds to help people who otherwise could not afford caregivers. Read on to find out how you can choose the right caregiver for your family member  at home.

Assess the Needs of Your Home

First of all, you have to evaluate what type of help will be required in the areas of personal, household, and healthcare. Do you need medication management? Does your parent need physical therapy, assistance with meal preparation, bathing, dressing, going to the toilet? Or do they just need a companion? You also need to decide if you need help with paying the bills, running errands, shopping, maintaining the house, managing your money, and cleaning your house.

Prepare a Job Description

After you have assessed the type of assistance you need, write a job description based on it. Fill in the details about exactly what type of work the caregiver will need to do to make it easier to select the perfect candidate. For instance, caregiver certification is required for certain healthcare and medication needs. A person with a driver’s license and/or car will be required to run the errands such as shopping or paying the bills.

Write Up a Job Contract

It is important to have a job contract. This will include important terms such as wages, how many hours of work are required, the job description, what behaviors will be unacceptable, how the payment will be made, etc. Causes for termination will also need to be mentioned in the contract including the notice period to be given. Both the employer and the employee will need to sign and date the contract.

Search in the Right Place

You need to look in the right place to find the best caregiver. This is where your friends and neighbors can provide you with prospective caregivers they know of. The minister or pastor of the church you go to can also provide you some names. You can go with family members as caregivers, but keep in mind that hiring, paying, and firing caregivers are all purely business transactions, so selecting a family member can lead to awkward situations. It’s best to hire a professional caregiver from reputed places such as Home healthcare Yorba Linda if you can afford to pay for the services. Such an agency will be more reliable and will keep you from wasting valuable time.

Prepare Yourself to Interview the Caregiver

Be prepared with a list of questions that you want to ask the caregiver during the interview. This will save the time of trying to remember the questions you may have related to the experience and skills of the caregiver. You can also have a list of agencies prepared to ask for prospective candidates. These agencies are more than willing to connect you with the right caregiver.

Once you have shortlisted a few candidates on the phone, invite them over for an in-person interview. You can also include a family member or a friend to sit in to provide you with a second opinion. You can observe the interaction between the caregiver and the person who is going to be receiving the care to help make up your mind.

Check Available References

You should ask for and carefully check references, making sure to talk to all the people who are listed. As the work that a caregiver does is very sensitive, you will need to hire someone who is qualified for the job and also someone who you can depend on and rely on. So don’t hire someone just by the first impression. Hear what the references have to say as well.

Criminal Background Check

Check the background well before entrusting the care of your elder to a caregiver. The state makes passing a criminal background check mandatory before they can be paid by state funds. The background check usually will help to identify if the candidate has any conviction of a disqualifying crime. A criminal background check will also let you know if the candidate has any conviction for offenses such as drug use, DUI, or driving without a valid license.

Monitor the Caregiver

If you are hiring the caregiver to take care of family members at home, then it is especially important for you to set up a schedule so that you can monitor the service that the caregiver provides. You can do this by visiting the elder at home and also contacting the caregiver personally. You can also ask the caregiver and the agency to provide you with periodic reports of their performance.

Choosing a caregiver to provide essential care for your elder at home is a very sensitive matter, one you must pay special attention to. You must hire carefully, taking into account all the points mentioned in this article, and keeping a close watch for signs of neglect, abuse, or exploitation. Have a backup plan in place in case the agency or caregiver fails to provide the care required.

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