What To Look For In A Senior Caregiver
Those of you who have had children may remember the first time you left your child with a babysitter. You probably asked friends and neighbors for recommendations of caregivers they trusted. You may have interviewed the caregiver and asked for references. Perhaps you even performed a background check on the prospective employee.
Finding a caregiver for a senior citizen in your life may feel similar to the time when you were hiring a babysitter. This may be especially true if your loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. How can you find a person you trust to help care for your family member? Read on for tips on what to look for in a senior caregiver.
Determine what kind of care your loved one needs
Is your loved one independent enough to be left at home for hours at a time or does he or she need constant help? Does your loved one need medical care, personal care, or household care or a combination of the three? Does your family member need a companion? The level of care determines what type of health care worker you need to hire.
If the senior citizen needs help with light housekeeping or meal preparation, you may consider hiring a home service worker. These individuals may run errands, take your family member to appointments, or assist your loved one with household duties.
If your loved one is unable to safely bathe on his own, or if he needs requires help toileting, you may consider hiring a CNA. He or she will also be able to assist the senior citizen with dressing and remind your loved one to take needed medications.
If your parent or family member has severe medical needs, you may need to hire a registered nurse. He or she will be able to take vital signs and monitor the health of the patient. Nurses will also know the warning signs for someone who needs additional medical care. This may make you rest easy knowing that a trained medical worker can help you make decisions.
Determine how many hours of care per week is needed and discuss wages
Maybe you just need someone to help your loved one get out of bed and get dressed each morning. Perhaps you need someone to come three times a week to help your family member bathe safely.
Maybe you need someone to transport your loved one to dialysis or physical therapy three times a week. The more specific you can be on the hours of the job, the easier it will be to find someone willing to fill the position.
Check the individual’s references and perform a background check
Contact multiple references. Ask specific questions about the applicant’s work ethic and accountability. Ask open-ended questions to encourage previous employers to disclose any information that may be worthwhile. Let the applicant know that you plan to follow through on background checks.
Prepare for the interview with your caregiver
Most people do not hire and fire personnel regularly. If this is not a routine part of your job, make sure you prepare for the interview of this employee. Ask about work history and experience. Ask about certifications and training. Ask the applicant about hobbies and personal interests to see if they match your loved one’s interests.
During the interview is a great time to have difficult discussions. If you prefer that the home health worker not smoke while at your loved one’s home, tell the applicant during the interview.
Ask how time off will be handled. Tell the applicant if you intend to pay for any vacation or sick days or not. Ask the applicant if he or she will find a replacement when he or she is on vacation or sick.
If you are worried about the decision-making ability of your loved one, you may ask the potential employee to sign a contract that they will not accept any gifts or money from your family member without clearing it with you.
Talk about how and when your employee will be paid. Discuss how taxes will be taken out of the paycheck. If you are not comfortable with the caregiver bringing others into your home while caring for your loved one, the time to make that clear is during the interview.
Ask the interviewee to provide scenarios of how they would handle specific situations that may occur with your loved one. Examples may be “what do you do if my father falls and you can’t help him get up off the floor?” or “Describe a time when you worked with a difficult patient.”
Write down these expectations of your caregiver and make sure both of you sign and date it. Keep a copy of this for your records.
Introduce the applicant to your loved one
Before hiring an employee, make sure you give the applicant and your family member a chance to meet. Some personalities click and others don’t. You may enjoy being around a person that your family member finds irritating.
Consider hiring an agency to find a home service worker
You may find the process of hiring a caregiver overwhelming. You need to know where and how to advertise to receive qualified and interested candidates. Even knowing what type of employee you need to hire may be difficult.
Managing the candidates’ resumes, references and interviews may take more time then you would think. If you are caring for your family member during the process of hiring someone to help, you may find that you have no time to complete the actual hiring process. While you would like to require a background check before hiring a caregiver, figuring out how to complete that process may be time consuming and expensive.
Figuring out payroll and taxes for your employee may be intimidating for most people. Do you also need to think about what would happen if your employee was hurt while trying to move your family member? Whose insurance would pay for that situation?
What if you have a dispute with your caregiver? What if you feel that he or she is not providing adequate care? What if your loved one is hurt while the home service worker is on duty? What if you feel that the employee is negligent?
Many of these situations and problems can be resolved if you work with an agency to hire a home service worker for your loved one. The people who work for such an agency are experts in this field. They know what good senior care should look like and whether or not your expectations are reasonable.
Agency personnel can also act as an intermediary should a difficult situation arise.
Take care when hiring staff to work with your family member. Just as you would have interviewed babysitters for your children, take the time to pick the right person for your parent. Make sure you give yourself enough time to go through the lengthy hiring process. Otherwise, you may find yourself making a rash hiring decision that you regret later.
There are many caring individuals out there who love working with senior citizens. Even though it may take some time, you will find the right person to interact and care for your family member.