It’s never easy to watch a loved one age and become more reliant on others. This is especially true if the elderly person is sick. Sickness in old age can be physical or mental, including anything from fragile bones and high blood pressure to cancer, schizophrenia, or depression.
Even traumatic events from a person’s younger days can play into how they age. Such situations may be the loss of a child or some sort of PTSD from active duty.
Still, the results of aging are roughly the same. People are unable to move around as much as they used to, need special medications, and often require an appointed care person to help them with daily tasks.
If you’re looking for such support for your loved one, make sure you do the following ten things before officially hiring a caregiver.
Things You Need to Look for When Hiring a Caregiver
Start with Recommendations for a Caregiver
The best caregivers have a balance of medical knowledge and people skills. They know how to treat your loved one’s condition as well as how to be there for them throughout the process.
A caregiver is practical, knowledgeable, and resourceful but also kind, patient, and compassionate. The thing is, you can’t get a good understanding of all these qualities just from a person’s resume, and you can’t necessarily take their word for it, either.
This is why recommendations are essential to your search process. When you hear about the kind of work a caregiver provided for someone else, you’re able to make a better inference of how well they’ll do with the elderly person in your life.
Look into Work History and Personal Background
Once you get a few recommendations, do a bit of your own research. See how long a person has been a caregiver. You may even be able to find out where they went to school for this kind of work or make contact with previous employers.
Keep an eye out for personal details that aren’t necessarily tied to being a caregiver. Maybe you see one candidate is from the same hometown as your mother, or you discover another has an off-putting quality – like a criminal history or a DUI.
Conduct Multiple Interviews
After you’ve narrowed down the list of possible caregivers, invite a few of them to meet you for an interview. It’s best to conduct these in a public place and save an in-home meeting for later in the search process.
Meet your candidates for coffee or take them out to lunch. Talk to them about why they’re passionate about care-giving and the way they’re prepared to handle the needs of your mother or father. Do this separately for each candidate, then move forward to another round of interviews until you have two or three to choose from.
Discuss Special Needs, Time Off, and Family Duties
As you’re moving forward with interviews, be sure to discuss the specifics of what you need from a caregiver. It’s much different to treat a person with Parkinson’s than it is to help someone who has PTSD, after all.
You should also consider the lifestyle of your family and the person who is aging. Are you planning to travel often? Do you have local family members who want to pitch in with the caregiving?
These are important details to be upfront about. It allows you to set clear expectations and lets caregiver hiring candidates know what they may be getting themselves into.
Consider an In-Home Care Person versus Part-Time
Speaking of special details, consider whether you want an in-home care person or someone to assist the rest of the family’s efforts part-time.
An in-home person will require a bit more preparation on your end. You’ll have to have a room ready for them to live with the elderly person, and a bit more savings to pay for such special care, too. But it will be worth it knowing your loved one has a companion and a caregiver 24/7.
A part-time care person, on the other hand, will be someone who comes and goes depending on the schedule you make with them. They may have other people to take care of in addition to your loved one, which isn’t a problem if you have friends and family members willing to jump in when this person can’t be around.
Get the Opinion of the Person Who Needs Care
At some part of the interview process, you have to consult the person who’s in need of care in the first place. They may feel more of a bond or sense of trust with one candidate versus another.
Plus, including them can help give them a bit of control over their aging process, which many people struggle with. Let them have a say to make the whole situation easier all-around.
Do a Trial Run
Just when you think you’re ready to make a final decision, consider doing a trial run. Invite your top candidates to come to the elderly person’s home and take care of them for a few hours, one at a time.
Think of this as an introduction. A trial lets each candidate get acquainted with the home and person in need of care, and let’s your loved one get a feel for each option too.
Double-Check Personal References
Don’t forget to double-check personal references before you start inviting candidates into your home. This gives you a closer look at their personality and the kind of skills and character they have. It allows you to get a better idea of what you can expect from them.
Contact Your Loved One’s Insurance
Are you paying for a caregiver out of pocket? Your insurance may not be able to cover another person’s needs, but your mother or father’s plan should be prepared to cover a caregiver expense.
If anything, it will help offset the total cost of this resource. Even a few hundred dollars here or there can add up to your benefit in the long run.
Develop a Contract
The final step to do before hiring a caregiver is to develop a contract. This reiterates everything you should have discussed in the interviews, and it also serves as a point of reference while a caregiver is working for your family.
Put simply, contracts build trust between you and your new family employee.
Hiring a Caregiver, Choosing a Family Doctor, and More
Aging is something many people struggle to deal with, especially if they have special conditions making the process even harder. This is why many families look into hiring a caregiver or at least get the opinion of multiple doctors before deciding what their loved one needs.
Whatever the situation is, the most important thing to remember is the person’s comfort and overall well being. For further health tips and insights, click here.