“My sisters and I have been taking turns looking after my father, but his needs are more than we can handle. We are ready to hire a caregiver, but honestly, we aren’t sure how to do it. Do you have any advice for finding a caregiver who is qualified and compassionate?” – Shelly from Austell

You and your sisters should be commended not only for your commitment to your father’s care, but also for the ability to recognize when you need help. Finding a caregiver requires a bit of legwork and some reflection to know what qualities are important to you as well as what assistance your loved one requires. It’s also a good idea to get your family involved with the decision-making process so that you don’t bear the sole responsibility. A few family members working together can make the interview process smoother and demonstrate family involvement to a potential caregiver. Here are a few other tips to help you in your quest for a quality caregiver.

The Basics

Before you start your search for a caregiver, you should set your parameters; know your budget, the level of care your loved one needs, and what personality traits you would like a caregiver to have. Let’s break these three parameters down a bit more.

  1. Budget – The expense of caregiving can depend on several factors. Are you going to work with an agency, and how do you decide which agency is right for you? Are you looking for a few hours of assistance two or three days a week, or would you prefer all-day, every-day caregiving? Some agencies have a minimum number of hours per day, which means you may need to plan for that possibility. In addition, changes in labor laws can make round-the-clock care a challenge because it may require shift changes, which makes staffing difficult. These aspects can all impact your expenses.
  2. Level of care – Does your senior need assistance with light housekeeping and meals? Can your loved one take care of their activities of living independently? What about bathing, dressing, and taking medication? You should know what kind of care is best for your father. Some of the different kinds of caregivers include personal care aides, home health aides, licensed nursing assistants, and skilled nursing providers, and the level of care they provide can vary greatly based on their skills and responsibilities.
  3. Compatibility – A caregiver is also a companion, and much like any other relationship, he or she should be well-suited for your senior. Ideally, they should develop a rapport with each other that is based on mutual respect, dignity, and a clear understanding of duties.

A Good Match

Have you thought about the importance of a caregiver’s personality? First and foremost, you should find a skilled, experienced caregiver who is knowledgeable and passionate about working with seniors. Some of the other traits you should look for include:

  • Empathetic
  • Patient
  • Encouraging
  • Creative
  • Dependable
  • Honest
  • Attentive
  • Friendly
  • Physically fit

Other considerations include good communication skills and the ability to maintain confidentiality. You want someone to care for your father that you can trust who can also accomplish tasks as needed without being too familiar. It’s a delicate balance, and it takes the right kind of temperament to provide care for a senior. Obviously, you want the two of them to get along and bond, but a caregiver should remain professional.

Time for Homework

Once you have decided on the kind of care needed, which agency you want to work with, and how often to have care, you can prepare for the interview stage. List your questions and if you can, have another family member participate. You should also check references; most home care agencies should handle any criminal background check, drug screening, and workers compensation requirements, which can take some of the stress out of this process for you. That way you can focus on making an appropriate and safe choice for your loved one.

One More Thought

Finding a caregiver doesn’t mean you should step back from your role in your loved one’s life. You may want to establish communication with the new caregiver and monitor the quality of the care provided. If you have any other concerns, you can also talk directly with the home care agency.

I know it’s a lot to think about, but our staff at Senior Care Options is happy to help you with any assessments as well as setting up caregivers if you feel overwhelmed or have questions.

Good luck!


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