The decision to hire a caregiver for your elderly loved one isn’t one you should take lightly. Whether your elderly relative needs help with basic living tasks or medical care, finding someone who can meet their unique needs is essential to your family’s well-being and the quality of life they enjoy.
AARP suggests that before you begin your search for a caregiver, you and your loved one should determine their specific needs. This can help you determine what qualifications and skills you’re looking for in a caregiver, and what kind of caregiving services are available for your loved one in their community. This step will also give you a clearer idea of the costs involved in hiring a caregiver or using an agency.
Before interviewing potential caregivers, write down what you want a caregiver to do and their responsibilities. You can use this list to ask the candidates questions, and it will make it easier for you to decide if they are a good fit.
During the interview, be sure to ask about the applicant’s experience. Also, ask about their education, language skills, insurance coverage, and if they have training for caring for your senior’s particular needs. Also, ask for two to three references from former employers or coworkers. Contact the references to learn more about the aide’s work ethic, compassion and reliability.
Another important consideration is how much you’re willing to pay for a caregiver. Some communities offer low-cost home health aide services through specialized funding that is distributed by local Area Agencies on Aging. Check with your local Area Agency on Aging or faith community to see what options are available in your area.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, consider the pros and cons of using a service or agency to find a caregiver. A benefit of using a service or agency is that they often screen applicants and handle essential paperwork such as background checks and contracts. However, they may have limited flexibility when it comes to scheduling and may not provide back-up caregivers if the primary caregiver isn’t available.
If you decide to go the route of finding a caregiver independently, make sure to interview the applicants and set up a trial period if possible. This gives both you and the aide a chance to observe how they interact with your elderly loved one and ensure that their skills are a good match.
Caregiving is a demanding job. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, seek out in-person and virtual support groups for people who are giving or receiving care. These groups can help you feel less alone and more understood, and they may even offer education on caregiving topics. It’s also crucial to remember that guilt is a normal part of caregiving. Try to recognize it, practice self-compassion, and ask for help when you need it. Ultimately, your loved ones’ quality of life will improve when you take care of yourself. find a caregiver