When life becomes too hectic, and you’re trying to stay on top of it all—including providing around-the-clock care for an aging loved one—it may be time to look into hiring a caregiver. Finding the right caregiver can be a daunting task. However, there are a few tips you can utilize to ensure the most fitting individual provides compassionate aide to the elderly loved one in your life in the comfort of home.
Firstly, you’ll need to determine what type of care the senior in your life requires. Three options of elder care emerge when it comes to caregivers:
Personal care attendants often provide basic care, which may include grocery shopping, housekeeping and cooking.
A home health aide offers help with activities of daily living and may be skilled in providing simple medical care, like reminding the client to take medications, changing soiled bed linens and assisting with daily hygiene, including bathing, dressing and toileting.
Certified nursing assistants are trained and licensed by the state to provide certain medical care. CNAs work under the supervision or direction of a registered nurse. Examples of rudimentary medical care that CNAs provide include changing wound dressings, checking vital signs and administering medication that has been prescribed by the attending physician.
An elderly individual who has just returned home from the hospital after a surgical procedure would require the assistance of a certified nursing assistant who can help the senior during the recovery process at home. A senior suffering from dementia might benefit from a home health aide, who can remind the client to take medications as well as provide assistance with eating meals, incontinence or grooming. The personal care attendant would offer help to an individual who is no longer physically able to drive to the grocery store or stand for prolonged periods to cook meals.
Agency or Direct Hire
When you’ve considered the type of aide necessary, your first step is to evaluate whether either an independent caregiver or one who works through an agency would best suit your needs. Financially, a direct hire is more economical. However, along with the lower costs associated with a direct hire is risky liability. You, as the employer, are responsible for any on-the-job injuries, covering for the caregiver when he or she unexpectedly calls in sick or takes vacations, and filing all tax forms.
An agency, on the other hand, is more expensive, but the responsibilities, including hiring, covering for sick leave/vacations and finding the best fit are all handled by the management team. If one caregiver fails to work out, you can contact the agency to send replacement caregivers until you find the one most suited to your needs.
Bonded and Insured
Be sure to look for a bonded and insured caregiver. Agency caregivers are both bonded and insured to protect clients in the event of theft or workers’ compensation claims.
Remember that you are allowing a stranger into your home, and that thorough vetting is critical. Though most caregivers are honest, bad apples tend to exist. A Florida caregiver was arrested for writing checks from her client’s bank account totaling nearly one million dollars over the course of two years.
If you work through an agency, the hiring team will conduct background checks, verify education and training as well as establish relevant experience.
Your aging loved one will benefit enormously when he or she is comfortable with the caregiver you hire. During the interview process, look for a caregiver who gets along well with the senior, perhaps even shares similar interests and communicates well with your loved one. Determine if language barriers exist. Plus, it’s significantly advantageous when your loved one enjoys the caregiver’s company.
Experts recommend keeping a staff of two caregivers on hand, especially if your loved one requires 24-hour care. Burnout and the resulting high turnover tends to be common in the field. Plus, when one caregiver is sick or takes a vacation, you will avoid scrambling for a temporary replacement. Overlap the two caregivers’ schedules by a half hour, so one caregiver can debrief the next during the following shift.
An agency will provide backup caregivers when one is unable to fulfill the duty. Consult the agency to see if any additional fees are charged for alternates.
When looking for the right caregiver, it helps to lay out clear expectations in writing prior to the actual hire. You want to ensure that the caregiver fully understands what is expected and will be able to fulfill the daily, weekly or monthly requirements of the job. If light chores are not a part of the agreement, don’t be surprised when the laundry sits in a pile on the floor. However, if cooking, cleaning and transportation are in the contract, expect these tasks to be done.
When an agency caregiver is financially and situationally fit for your needs, look no further than Assisting Hands Home Care, a licensed elder care service provider with an exceptional team. Compassionate caregivers are skilled and trained to provide outstanding care to their elderly clients in the surrounding community. Each caregiver is carefully screened, trained and bonded to ensure maximum peace of mind for clients. The Assisting Hands Home Care management team works with families to develop a formal care plan that meets the specific, individual needs of their clients.
Examples of common tasks that the caregivers at Assisting Hands Home Care provide assistance with include transfer assistance to and from the bed or wheelchair, help with bathing, support with meals, including preparation, serving and cleanup, and light housekeeping. A significant responsibility that Assisting Hands Home Care caregivers engage in is providing much-needed social companionship. Caregivers learn about their clients’ interests and offer pleasant conversation, accompany them on walks or play card games to keep their minds alert. The Assisting Hands Home Care team is knowledgeable in all aspects of elder care and is committed to ensuring that the elder population in their care is given optimal attention and compassionate service.