How to Choose the Right Caregiver

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Choosing the right in-home caregiver for a parent, spouse, or loved one is an important task. Naturally, you want your friend or loved one to be well taken care of and have their daily needs met. As you begin your search, use this as a resource to hire a great in-home caregiver.

What Level of Care Is Needed?

Before starting your search, it’s important to define what kind of care services are needed for health care, personal care, and household care.

  • Health care services may include physical therapy or medication management.
  • Personal care involves help getting dressed, bathing, transferring from a bed to a chair, continence, companionship, etc.
  • Household care includes help with grocery shopping, meal preparation, home maintenance, running errands, and more.

Decide How You’ll Pay for It

With Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI), a professional in-home caregiver may be reimbursable or paid for with the individual’s policy. Call the insurance carrier to start the claims process and waiting period (if applicable).

If your loved one does not have LTCI, care will need to be paid for with personal funds. The cost for care may vary based on their needs and the severity of their condition.

Know Where to Look

Search for reputable home health care companies in your area and ask family and friends for recommendations. Professional caregivers are always recommended if you can afford it.

You may also ask your pastor or minister if they know of people in the congregation or friends and neighbors about qualified individuals they know. Gather a list of people and agencies to interview.

Is the Caregiver Trained and Have Experience?

Screen applicants by phone to decide who to interview in-person. Don’t be afraid to ask about their training and experience. Whether working with an agency or interviewing an independent contractor, make sure they have a couple years of experience working with similar needs.

Prepare for the Interview

Create a list of questions to ask during the in-person interview and invite a friend or family member to attend to offer a second opinion. Be sure to observe the interactions of the potential caregiver with the person receiving care.

If working with an agency, ask to interview the in-home caregiver personally. While someone may look good on paper, they may not be a good fit for other reasons.

Check References

Check each candidate’s references carefully and call every person listed. You need someone who is dependable, reliable, and qualified to do the work.

Get a Background Check

As you narrow your search, get a criminal background check on your final two candidates. While someone may not have a conviction for a disqualifying crime, they may have convictions for other offenses that could pose a safety risk (drugs, DUI, driving without a license or insurance).

Hire Wisely

After doing your research on each applicant, base your decision on their skill level and the needs of your loved one. With Alzheimer’s disease, you need a patient person to help with daily tasks.

Monitor the Quality of Services

Keep an eye on the quality of services the caregiver provides. Keep in contact with the caregiver and make regular home visits with the elder. Watch for warning signs of abuse, neglect, or exploitation and report suspicious activities to the authorities immediately. If you can’t monitor care services yourself, hire an independent geriatric care manager.

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