Choosing the right caregiver for your parents isn’t a decision you should make overnight. It needs to be researched, thorough, and planned, or you could wind up with someone caring for someone dear to your heart that isn’t an ideal match. Unfortunately, this decision probably isn’t something you’ve ever done before; you only have one set of parents, and they’re likely the people you’ve turned to throughout the years for help and advice.
It’s essential to choose the right caregiver for your parents by establishing their specific needs (type of care, duration, frequency, and roles within the household.) A caregiver isn’t just a one-size-fits-all person. Every individual is different, and their needs will change throughout the years.
Be Clear About Your Needs
Establish what specific needs your caregiver is going to fill for your parents. Do they need help with the daily maintenance of the house? Will they need transportation to and from doctor’s appointments or physical therapy? Several caregivers have experience administering medications or handling first aid if you need someone to care for an injury or wound. Education of caregivers has been made easier with the popularity and reliability of online CPR and First Aid training. It’s important to consider how the caregiver will interact with your parents and how that might influence the care provided. For example, a senior parent suffering from dementia or memory loss may not recognize a caregiver in the home. Having someone experienced in these mental ailments can make a considerable difference to your parent’s care.
Post an Honest Description
Being honest and transparent with your job description is the easiest way to screen potential applicants for the job. If you’re looking for someone to help with cleaning, bathing, medical, or physical therapy, always include these details in the job description. The last thing you want is an applicant agreeing to a position they don’t have any experience handling. It’s always a good idea to post any medical ailments your parents face; these can include physical impairments, cognitive issues, or permanent disabilities.
Interview Potential Applicants
Start interviewing applicants with a phone interview to get an overall feel for each applicant. You’ll want to ask them about their experiences with caregiving and any qualifications they might have for the position. Set up an in-person meet-and-greet with your parents to anyone you feel should be a good candidate. During in-person meetings, introduce both parents to the caregiver and watch the interactions between the two. Ask your parents (if possible) for feedback about anyone they’ve met and whether they’d be comfortable having them around regularly. Always ask people for their references and past employment experience. You’ll want to follow up with every reference given, including questions about skills, job details and duties, and rapport with the elderly.
Run a Background Check
Any candidate may seem qualified on their resume, but confirming these details is essential. If you’ve narrowed down your search, get written permission to conduct a background check on candidates. A background check will allow you to confirm any employment history, educational credentials, credit history, and criminal activity. Any candidates with criminal activity or record (especially assault or theft) should immediately be removed from your application. You legally don’t have to give reasons for disqualification, but you must include a copy of the report with your decision.
Determine Your Financial Reality of Care
While we’d all love to have a qualified team of doctors available for our parents, the financial implications of caregivers should never be ignored. You’ll want to understand the overall costs of care, along with any commitment or contract required. Talk to any siblings about the costs associated with keeping your parents cared for and how that might impact your daily budget. Whenever possible, ask for help from other family members to lessen the impact it might have. You don’t want to become overrun with expenses and costs long-term.
Continuously Re-Evaluate Your Hire
Hiring someone doesn’t have to be a permanent decision. Ask your hire to include a daily or weekly log of care with the services provided, including any meal prep or cleaning activities performed. Follow up with your parents regularly, asking them about their care so far. Occasionally show up throughout the shift to ensure your parents are being cared for.