How to Find a Caregiver

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How to Find a Caregiver

Choosing an in-home find a caregiver for your older adult can be challenging. You have a variety of options -- from hiring a health aide through an ag

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Choosing an in-home find a caregiver for your older adult can be challenging. You have a variety of options — from hiring a health aide through an agency to working directly with someone you’re referred to through a registry. Each has its pros and cons.

Be sure to consider the level of care your loved one needs before you start your search.

Ask for Recommendations

Many families find they need to hire caregivers for loved ones who have become unable to care for themselves due to age, disease, injury or surgery. Family members may not have the time or resources to perform this task alone and will need to find a reliable, compassionate caregiver quickly.

Friends, family, healthcare professionals and local community organizations may be able to provide suggestions for private duty home caregivers. Many communities also have low-cost caregiver services available through specialized funding. Your Area Agency on Aging and faith communities can help you locate those programs.

It is important to understand what your budget will allow before starting the search. An independent caregiver can be less expensive than an agency-provided care worker, but can be more costly when you add in agency fees for interviewing, background checks and payroll taxes. Also consider that a friend or family member’s recommendation is no guarantee of competency or quality, even if they have good references. Always verify credentials, licensure and training.

Post Your Job

Recruiting caregivers through social media can be a cost-effective way to reach a wide audience of candidates. Caregiving agencies can also advertise at local job fairs, community caregiver training and wellness fairs to attract a broad range of applicants.

Agencies should post a clear, concise caregiver job description on their website to help jobseekers evaluate their options. Include information about expectations, such as home privileges, meal access and work hours. Also mention any benefits, such as medical and dental insurance, a 401(k) retirement plan and paid time off.

Managing caregiving responsibilities and conducting a job search can be stressful. Include a brief story of an employee who manages this balance, as well as testimonials from your current employees. This will give jobseekers the reassurance they need to apply to your agency. Make sure to list any opportunities for advancement, too. This may be a major factor for some caregivers. Agencies that offer career progression will have an edge over those that don’t.

Conduct a Trial Period

Whether you choose a home care agency, private caregiver or find one independently, it is important to understand exactly what type of help your loved one needs. This will streamline the interview process and make it easier to find someone whose ying matches your family member’s yang.

A good way to get a feel for potential caregivers is to go to job fairs, particularly those that are medically oriented or held by agencies that hire caregiving staff. Here, you can meet applicants face to face and see if their yin fits your yang.

If you have narrowed down your choices, ask each to go through a trial period. During this time, you can observe their interactions with your loved one and how they perform their duties. Typical trial periods last 1-3 months. If you don’t like what you see, move on to another candidate. This process may take a while, but it will ensure that you select the right caregiver.

Interview

Many seniors are initially resistant to the idea of having a regular caregiver, but approaching the topic in a positive way and outlining specific benefits that the caregiver can offer is important. The more your loved one knows that this is a way to get help with daily activities and enjoy companionship, the more likely they are to open up about their needs.

Once you have a list of possible candidates, consider hiring a home care agency to do the recruiting for you. Many agencies have a screening process and will interview applicants to make sure they are reasonably qualified to provide the care that your elderly loved one requires.

However, if you prefer to do the hiring yourself, it is important that you prepare a detailed job description and conduct thorough interviews with potential caregivers. It is also a good idea to consider whether your loved one might have better luck with someone who speaks a second language or shares interests or personality traits with them.

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