How to Find a Good Caregiver for Elderly

Before we move on to how to find a good caregiver for elderly people, we want to let you know that you have already taken the most important step that needed to be taken; you have understood the importance of the matter and are gathering the right information to make life easier for your beloved elderly parent or an older adult.

A good caregiver for elderly

Finding the right caregiver can make a wonderful difference to your loved one’s life as it helps them in many ways.

It can help your elderly adult manage chores better, it can help them engage in activities they enjoy, it can help them get outside more, and will overall, brighten their lives on a daily basis.

Finding the right family caregiver is like finding a friend and you can rest easy knowing your loved one is in good hands.

Of course, the reason why hiring a caregiver instead of looking for an assisted living facility is a bit scary is because you don’t really know who you are going to invite into your home.

You can feel better and have a better chance of making the right choice by being thoughtful, open-minded, and by paying attention to these tips.

By going through a couple of important factors, you’re already halfway toward choosing the right caregiver for your older loved one.

Why the decision is important is because, if adequate research is not made, there is a high chance that you might end up with a caregiver who isn’t going to be the right fit for the elderly care recipient.

This might simply be due to the fact that the working style of the newly recruited care provider may not match the particular needs of the elderly care seeker.

It might also turn out that the care provider hired to look after an aging parent is abusive. The abuse can occur in many forms; physical, mental, sexual, or financial, and would be a terrifying ordeal for an older person to go through. This is why we stress the importance of finding the right fit for your beloved older adult.

It is not just about hiring an experienced caregiver, it is about finding the right companion care for your family member.

right caregiver for your family member

More and more senior adults and their families who need help with their daily activities and more are now realizing the short-term and long-term benefits of hiring caregivers.

These caregivers make life easier as they enable the elderly adult to stay in their own homes longer without the need for moving to an assisted living facility.

A kind and experienced caregiver can provide comfort and safety, and give families of the elderly adult peace of mind. Home care assistance is not cheap, but many states and the federal government are now setting aside some funds to allow people who otherwise could not afford it to pay for outside help.

Types of Caregivers

Primary caregivers are people who offer regular care for the elderly adult and make decisions that directly affect this care-receiver. They provide hands-on assistance with chores, medical help, and may even represent the care-receiver in legal matters.

  • Respite caregivers provide temporary care when the primary caregiver needs time away from caregiving.
  • Secondary caregivers provide assistance to primary caregivers.
  • Crisis caregivers provide care only in emergencies.
  • Family caregivers provide care at no charge for a parent, sibling, or spouse who is chronically ill, disabled, or aged.
  • Working caregivers hold part-time or full-time jobs and provide physical or financial support to individuals who depend upon their care.
  • Agency caregivers are formal or paid caregivers employed by a home health or caregiving agency.

Now, we list out some factors that you need to think of while hiring a potential caregiver.

1. Take stock of your care needs

Write down what are the kind of areas where you need help.

Take stock of your care needs

Evaluate the help that is needed in the areas of health care, personal care, and household care. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Will you require home health care, which includes physical therapy or medication management?
  • Will you require non-medical personal care, for instance, help with daily routine activities like bathing, dressing, toileting, and preparing food? Or, are you mostly independent and mainly looking for companionship?
  • Will you need help with housecleaning, shopping, home maintenance, and other chores?
  • Will you need to trust the caregiver with your finances for paying bills and managing your money?

2. Prepare a Job Description

Evaluating the need to hire a caregiver requires that you create a job description based on the help that is needed.

Here’s what to mull over:

  • Level of health care training required (Type of experienced caregiver: Certified Nursing Assistant, Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse)
  • Driving License (Valid driver’s license for running errands, taking the elderly patient to the hospital, etc.)
  • Physical Fitness. Is the caregiver needed to lift the care recipient and/or operate special equipment?
  • Unacceptable behavior (such as smoking, abusive language, tardiness, etc.)
  • Terms of Termination (how much notice, reasons for termination without notice, etc.)

3. Research Potential Caregiver Candidate

Once you’ve identified the caregiving duties, then you’re ready to screen candidates by phone and begin scheduling interviews.

Let the potential caregiver know what is required of them. Let them know that you will need references and that you will be checking their references and performing a background check.

While fixing a date for the interview, ask them to bring a valid National Identity card, their driver’s license, proof of prior home addresses, and professional references, along with their resume.

Potential Caregiver Candidate

4. Conduct Background Checks

There is no doubt that you should conduct thorough background verification on potential caregivers.

What to scrutinize while conducting a background check on a potential caregiver?

Background checks can include credit reports, DMV records, and searching county/state/federal criminal records.

Note: You must have written consent from the potential caregiver in order to perform a background check.

Now, if you are crunched for time, we understand that this time-consuming process must be off-putting. In this case, hire a caregiver through an in-home care agency; the advantage is that the agency will perform all the background checks and match you with a caregiver who suits your loved one’s needs.

5. Prepare for the interview.

Prepare a list of questions to ask. Have a list for any applicant, caregiver agency, referral source, or reference you may call during your search. If you don’t know what questions to ask a private caregiver, call a caregiver agency.

In any case, here is a list of questions you can jot down for the interview:

  • How long have you been working as a caregiver?
  • Do you have any specialized training or certifications?
  • Walk me through your work experience.
  • What makes you look forward to the day?
  • Are you skilled and willing to perform the following duties? (List the home care assistance you require at present plus any future needs that you can anticipate)
  • How would you deal with someone who is uncooperative?
  • How would you provide companionship to the elderly adult?

6. Conducting the Interview

Interviews are always tricky because they require you to assess a person in a short amount of time.

Conducting a job interview

After you have screened applicants on the telephone, you should interview in person those who sound acceptable.

We suggest that you get a friend or family member to come over on the day of the interview so that you can get a second opinion from an unbiased person.

Also, don’t get too caught up in going through the list of questions; you need to observe interactions between the potential caregiver and the person who will be receiving care.

This is especially important if you are interviewing a caregiver vouched for by a caregiver agency. You need to ask to interview the in-home caregivers yourself.

This is because most agency employees look good on paper, but will not be a good fit for you, for cultural, religious, social, or any number of reasons.

You may just not like the person the agency has assigned to you. So, interview them yourself, and get a good look at the engagements between the caregiver and the care seeker.

7. Check references

The person who comes in to help with senior care must be an honest worker and above all, a genuine, dependable person. There is no discounting the need to check references carefully. Talking to everyone who is given as a reference helps, also, try to communicate with the senior member who was being assisted at the time.

You are looking for someone who is honest, reliable, and qualified to provide elderly care services to your elderly parent.

8. Hiring the right caregiver

The goal is to hire a caregiver who has experience in the specific areas in which you need help.

For example, if your elderly adult is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, they will most often need help with chores like going to the toilet, bathing, and cooking. In this case, the right caregiver will be someone who has experience in working with elders with this illness.

Try to hire a licensed and bonded caregiver. If the agency is not licensed or bonded, you may want to look somewhere else.

Now, this means that your next-door neighbor or churchgoing companion will be disqualified even though you may want to hire the person as this person meets all of your other requirements.

9. Monitor the Change

Set up a schedule to discuss the caregiver with your elderly adult. Use the feedback to assess the quality of the services the caregiver provides. You should also talk to the caregiver about the cooperation of the elderly adult, what they find beneficial, etc.

You can do this by making personal contact with the caregiver and regular home visits with the elder, and getting periodic reports from the caregiver and the agency.

Finally, we think it’s best that you have a backup plan in case the caregiver or the agency fails to follow through or problems arise.

After all, everyone wants the best for their elderly and if a care provider is not able to take care of the care needs as well they should, you need to reevaluate your situation and take the necessary steps to ensure comfort for the care seeker.

We truly hope that our inputs have been useful to you in your search for the right caregiver for your beloved elderly person.

We would love to hear from you if you have any valid suggestions and tips to help us improve! Do chime and let us know what you think in the comments below.

About Aswathy Suresh