Taking on the role of caregiver is a big responsibility. Having reliable help can give family members and care recipients the freedom to run errands, go to doctor appointments, take a much-needed nap or socialize with friends. But finding someone who can fill your loved one’s needs and meet your expectations is a challenge, whether you’re searching for an agency-provided caregiver or hiring privately through a registry.
It’s important to have a clear picture of your loved one’s in-home care requirements before you begin looking. AARP recommends making a list of all daily tasks and asking specific questions about their unique circumstances. For example, what type of supervision is needed? How many hours of care are needed each week? Is your aging loved one comfortable with having an attendant? Does the caregiver need training or certification? It’s also a good idea to create a job description to use as a guide when interviewing.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, contact agencies directly to discuss their qualifications and find out if they have any openings that match your requirements. If you’re considering an agency, check out Medicare’s Home Health Compare website, which provides detailed information about local home care agencies. Whether you choose an agency or work with a registry, be sure to interview applicants yourself and ask for references. Also, be sure to verify any state-mandated background checks and licenses that are required.
If you’re planning on hiring through a private registry, be sure to consider any additional costs that might be associated with your search. For example, you might need to provide training or pay for a refresher course in CPR. Another consideration is that if you hire independently, you’ll have the ultimate responsibility for any complaints about your caregiver—something that can be more difficult to handle than with an agency.
When interviewing caregivers, it’s a good idea to have your aging relative sit in on the process as much as possible to help ease their nerves about meeting an unfamiliar person. They might initially feel uncomfortable, especially if they’re worried their belongings could be stolen. This is why it’s a good idea to lock up any valuable items or remove them from the house entirely, and to keep track of cash, credit cards and checkbooks in case of a theft.
It’s also helpful to be open to a caregiver with a different cultural background or language. Caring, competent attendants are available from many different backgrounds, and finding a match with your loved one can be a rewarding experience for all parties. how to find a caregiver