There are some decisions in life that are essentially weightless—what movie to see, where to go for dinner—and there are others that have life-altering consequences. Finding a caregiver is one of those crucial decisions, and it can seem daunting.
While there is no perfect answer, a few key steps can help ensure that the caregiver you choose is the best choice for your family. These include making sure to have clear communication with both your family and the caregiver, establishing boundaries and expectations from the start, doing background checks (which you can do either formally through an agency or privately through a service that provides them), setting up systems for monitoring and feedback, and more.
The first step is to determine what type of care your loved one needs and how long you think it will last. For example, an elderly individual living alone might need companionship, light housekeeping, and assistance with errands, while a person with Alzheimer’s disease might require medication management and extensive care five days a week. This information will guide your search for a caregiver and help you decide whether to seek a home care agency, place an ad, or look for independent caregivers.
Agencies are the preferred method of finding a caregiver, as they tend to have thorough screening processes in place and can provide references, certifications, and licensing verification. However, the cost of an agency may be more than hiring an independent caregiver directly. If you do choose an agency, it is a good idea to get referrals from friends and family who have used an agency.
Once you’ve found candidates, it is a good idea to have your loved one meet the caregivers, as this can help them feel more comfortable and open to having someone new in their home. Make sure that you’re prepared to ask the candidates questions like:
Experience: How long have they been providing care? Do they have a background in nursing, homemaking, or some other area of expertise? If your loved one is comfortable with it, you can also ask the candidate to describe some of their past experiences with caring for other people.
Personality: What kind of personality do you want your loved one to have with their caregiver? Are they patient and compassionate, or do they have a sense of humor that will mesh with your loved one’s?
Beware of Claims About Caregiver Abuse
It’s important to be aware of the fact that there are cases of abuse of a loved one by their caregiver, and this can happen even when the care is being provided by an agency. If you have any concerns about a potential caregiver, be sure to report them immediately.
Some families have a hard time letting go of the control they once had over their caregiving, but remember that it’s possible for an individual to be abused physically, emotionally, or financially by a caregiver—and this can be just as harmful as any other type of abuse. how to find a caregiver