You’ve decided it’s time to hire an in-home caregiver for your aging loved one — now what?
How do you choose the right caregiver? Caring for an aging loved-one can be an overwhelming job – emotionally, physically, and financially.
To help you, we’ve put together a list of eight things to take care of before you hire an in-home caregiver.
- Evaluate your specific needs.
Every person has different needs. With what does your loved one need help? Some people are looking for a companion who will also help with housekeeping. Others need a caregiver who can assist with complex medical equipment.
Make a list of your needs, such as:
- Basic functioning (dressing, eating, bathing, etc.)
- Social interaction and companionship
- Taking medication or dealing with medical emergencies
- Grocery shopping and meal preparation
- Housekeeping (laundry,dishes, sweeping, etc.)
If you need help with a complicated medical situation, make sure the caregiver is licensed and insured. If you need someone who will transport your loved one to and from appointments, check that they have a driver’s license. Decide whether you’re looking for 24- hour, live-in help or a home-care companion for a few hours a day.
- Inform everyone involved in the decision.
Caring for an aging family member is commonly a family responsibility. It’s important to communicate with everyone involved — especially if they are helping cover the costs of care. Talk to children, brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles. Be clear about the division of responsibilities and costs. Ask for their opinions on facility care versus home care.
Of course, the most important voice to consider is that of your elderly loved one. They have full rights to be involved in deciding on their care options.
- Figure out your budget.
Caring for a senior loved one can be expensive. It’s best to evaluate your budget at the start so you are not overwhelmed with the costs later on.
Look into Medicare, Medicaid, and different insurances. You could be eligible for part or full financial assistance. Most states have in-home assistance programs for low income seniors who are not eligible for Medicaid.
In addition to covering home care, you should look into programs that help seniors reduce other expenses. This can free up financial resources to be put toward the cost of home care. In this category, there are several tax credits and deductions. For example, any expense incurred to care for an elderly relative that enables the family to work is tax deductible.
Another important factor when budgeting is the expected amount of time you will need in-home care. The longer a person requires (or is projected to require) home care, the more assistance becomes available to them. Clarify whether this in-home caregiver is a short-term or long-term hire.
- Decide between a senior’s facility and home care.
Choosing between in-home care or a nursing facility is not a clear-cut or easy choice to make. Aging in place is one of the ways to keep your loved one a little more independant. Living in their own space, where so many precious memories are held, can help them feel in control and relaxed. Moving to a strange facility can be very uncomfortable and even frightening.
- Discuss personality and personal preferences.
It is crucial to have a healthy and open relationship with the caregiver. A good caregiver must be communicative, compassionate, intelligent, hard-working, and respectful.
Many elderly people have a strong preference for a caregiver of the same gender, ethnicity, religion, and country of origin. Take a look at your unique situation and ask the home care agency if they can accommodate specific requests, such as a caregiver who speaks a certain language.
Make sure the caregiver you hire is compatible with your aging family member’s personality. Are you looking for someone outgoing and talkative, or someone quieter and softer in nature? When looking into different caregivers, note personality, character traits, and whatever preferences your senior relative requests.
- Create a backup plan.
It is likely that there will be times when your caregiver is unable to come to work, whether it is for personal reasons, appointments, illness, or injury. Create a backup plan for such an occurrence. Who is available at which times? Who lives nearby? Do you have a backup aide?
Discuss this backup plan together with the family and come to an understanding of responsibilities should the situation arise. This way, you will eliminate last-minute panic and frantic juggling of schedules to make sure your aging loved one is properly cared for.
- Create a job description for the interview.
Like anyone hiring, you should interview the caregiver and introduce them to your senior loved one before deciding if they’re the right person for your needs..
One of the best ways to get the most out of the interview is to have a job description. A job description helps you know what to keep your eye out for during the interview itself.
As mentioned in the paragraphs above, your job description should be tailored to fit your loved one’s specific needs, your budget, and the senior’s personality and preferences. Include a list of qualities you are looking for in your caregiver.
Make sure your job description includes a brief overview of the job, specifies the qualifications you need, and lists the caregiver’s duties and responsibilities. include if you’re looking for someone with a certain education level, skillset, certifications, licenses or physical abilities. This way you’ll be properly prepared for the interview.
- Talk to people.
This one is last on the list but definitely not the least important.
When hiring an in-home caregiver for a senior, keep your ears and mind open to suggestions and possibilities. Speak to friends, neighbors, and family members. Ask people if they have experience hiring in-home help and what their experience was like. Speak to doctors and organization leaders for advice.
Many people have gone through the process of choosing care for their aging parents or relatives. Reach out to people who’ve been through it.
If you have any questions, Community Home Health Care is here to help!