Caring for elderly parents is a noble, yet overwhelming and stressful task, so if you are considering hiring in-home help, it’s important to know that you aren’t alone. More and more families are turning to in-home caregivers for a number of reasons. Choosing an in-home caregiver is an important decision and finding the right caregiver can be a process, but it’s a process that will be well worth the effort. The relationship and interactions between the caregiver and the care receiver are like any new relationship, it takes time, but the first step is to know how to hire the best caregiver for your loved one, so we’ve put together a brief guide to help you choose the best caregiver for your elderly loved one.
Elderly Caregiving Options
Before contacting local in-home caregiving providers it’s beneficial to understand the various types of caregiver positions available. In-home caregivers are available for short-term, part-time, and full-time as well as live-in. The primary types of caregiver roles include medical caregivers, such as registered nurses and certified nursing assistants, companions, and home care aides. Each type of caregiver has the experience and authority to provide specific duties for those receiving care.
- Medical caregivers generally consist of registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, and certified medical assistants. Families and seniors generally need medical caregivers for duties, such as administering medications/injections, wound care, monitoring vital signs, recording health problems, and performing treatments, such as enteral feeding and catheterization.
- Companions/homemakers are available to help with a variety of duties, including preparing meals, providing transportation to and from medical appointments and light chores as well as providing companionship for your elderly loved one.
- Home health care aides often perform many of the same duties as companions; however, they also assist their elderly clients with bathing, dressing, grooming, and getting around.
Steps for Hiring In-Home Caregivers
The easiest and safest way to hire an in-home caregiver is through an agency. Home care providers ensure that the caregiver assigned to your loved one will have already gone through a criminal background check, drug screening and the agency will handle the payroll. Home care providers generally have a full staff of caregivers that are available to fill your family’s specific needs as well as caregivers that are available on short notice. Following the steps below will ensure you hire a reputable and trustworthy home care provider:
- Verify the agency is licensed, bonded, and insured
- The agency provides a comprehensive list of the services to be provided as well as the cost for services. The agency should also be able to assist you with recommendations on how to pay for the services, such as submitting the fees to your insurance provider, Medicaid, or if you will be responsible for payment of all services rendered.
- Be sure to ask about staff training. For instance, is staff required to participate in training sessions for updated requirements?
- Schedule an interview with the potential caregivers. It is best to conduct these interviews in your home and if possible, your elderly loved one should be present. This will allow you to see how the caregiver and your loved one interact.
- Develop a clear plan of care. Although the agency will typically provide caregivers with a daily task list, it’s also important to clearly specify what you expect and don’t expect. For instance, if your loved one is assigned a home health aide and their duty is to help with bathing and grooming, but your mother would be uncomfortable with a male aide, inform the agency of your mother's concerns and request that your mother only have female caregivers.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when hiring in-home caregivers is that they are there to help care for your elderly loved ones. If you have any questions or concerns about assigned caregivers, do not hesitate to reach out to the home care provider. In most situations, caregivers are assigned to the same clients, which is extremely beneficial for the comfort level of your family member. In fact, over time, caregivers become a “part of the family”. They will grow to care for your loved ones as your loved ones will grow to care for them.