How to Find a Trustworthy Caregiver for Your Elderly Parent

When you’re looking for a caregiver to help you take care of your elderly parent, you want them to get on well together more than anything else. If you’ve never hired one before, this is far easier said than done.

Before making your final decision, it might be good to conduct a background check on your final candidates. The caregiver will be responsible for a family member’s safety.

Post an Ad

This is an obvious first step unless you’ve decided to hire through an agency. The ad should describe the job as clearly as possible. Consider your parent’s needs carefully to write a clear description. This is not very easy because you have to include all the responsibilities you need the caregiver to handle.

Your parent may have lost their spouse recently and is now facing many changes. This can be very painful at any age, especially in one’s golden years when people are set in their habits. Maybe they spent their day a certain way, doing the same things with their partner. Now, all that has changed.

You need to consider all of this and how a caregiver could help them cope.

While it’s impossible to include all the information you want to communicate in a single ad, it pays off to be as clear as possible. At its most basic, an ad should state the rate you’re willing to pay, the degree of flexibility required, and the caregiver’s working hours.

How Much Should I Pay?

This won’t apply to you if you’re hiring through an agency. Their rates are usually non-negotiable. There are a few good reasons not to hire through an agency. They might take a cut of the caregiver’s payment. They might only claim to run background checks on applicants. They might not sift the candidate pool thoroughly.

If you’re hiring directly, be flexible on the payment terms to attract as many qualified applicants as possible. Write that rates are experience-based. Experienced professionals will command higher rates, which are well worth paying.

Consider how much people pay caregivers in the area. It’s easy to check rates. If in doubt, offer a slightly higher payment than the average. A lower rate will still attract applicants, but you will get what you paid for in most cases.

The Interview

Your ad attracted some interest, and people are calling. Find the time to interview candidates, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Consider if you will need the caregiver to drive your parent around. If so, inquire into whether they dispose of a suitable means of transport. Local candidates should have priority to avoid delays and other potential transport issues. People living in the area will be most convenient for you and your parent.

Apart from asking about rates, try to find out why the candidate left their last job and their strengths and weaknesses. You could ask what their biggest challenges related to homecare are. Of course, the subject of availability should be among the first ones raised.

It might not seem relevant, but it will help to ask about any problems they’ve had with previous clients. History can and does repeat itself. Discuss any specific issues your parent has. Mention any medication they’re taking, any problems you think the caregiver might have with your parent, and how they would cope in that situation. You might get beneficial information based on their responses.

Ask for References

If the candidate seems promising, but you still need more information about them before committing, ask for references to get in touch with. Not every previous employer is going to be absolutely thrilled.

Slightly negative feedback is no reason to reject them. It can be due to circumstances beyond the caregiver’s control, such as unavoidable misunderstandings or personal issues. However, the same or similar negative feedback from different references, over and over, is a red flag.

The Final Step

Screening is essential to ensure your candidate is trustworthy and responsible. Basic data will suffice, such as their name, phone number, address, and brief employment history. In addition, inquire into their medical history. This includes COVID-19 history, vaccines, TB shots, and medical insurance information.

Finally, ask for evidence of training or certification if they claim to have specialized skills, such as CPR or caring for Alzheimer’s patients.

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