Caring for someone you love is difficult at best, but if you are caring for someone you don’t know or are not related to, the tension and strain of a caregiver’s duties greatly increases. If you are looking for a caregiver for one of your family members, you should consider the following before you make a decision.
First of all, know exactly what your loved one needs and what you are looking for in a caregiver. Are you looking for someone who can provide companionship, housekeeping duties, or personal care? Or, are you looking for someone who needs highly skilled nursing care. If you know up front, you will have a better idea of the type of person you are looking for and whether they have the skill set to handle the job.
Create a detailed job description so there is no misunderstanding as to what you want them to do.
Should you go through an agency?
Strongly consider using a qualified agency. Hiring a caregiver through an agency is a wise idea for a number of reasons. They will take care of such time-consuming and important activities as background checks, interviews, and the numerous paperwork involved. They will also take care of the legal requirements such as taxes and liability insurance, and can obtain backup support if your caregiver doesn’t show up for work.
Because agency workers may cost more than your budget will allow, you can go through the hiring process yourself but it will be much more difficult. Handling everything on your own will take more time and energy, but it can save you money – unless you need to miss work during the interview and training process.
Here are some things you may want to consider:
- Check with your local senior resource center and church for referrals.
- Place ads in the local newspaper or place on bulletin boards.
- Realize that you pay for what you get. If you want someone who will do a good job, you need to offer a fair wage.
- Find someone who is age appropriate. Hiring a teen to take care of a senior citizen probably isn’t the best match and you will find yourself again going through the interview process sooner than later.
Be sure to discuss the following:
- Work hours, including what to do if they cannot keep their commitment due to illness or an emergency.
- Job duties. Write down exactly what you want them to do – especially if the tasks vary on a daily basis.
- Their past work experience as a caregiver.
- How they would handle specific situations, or how have they handled them in the past.
- Discuss house rules, i.e. no smoking, no personal friends in your home, etc.
- Watch how they interact with your loved one – do they seem to be compassionate and caring?
- Consider their own cleanliness and self-care. That information will give you an idea how they will care for others.
Finding a good caregiver is not an easy task. There are a lot of issues to take into consideration. The one main thought that you need to keep in your mind is that you want the best for your family members and for you.