Finding help for a loved one can be a lifesaver. It can give you time to run errands, get more sleep and even socialize with friends. However, finding a caregiver can also be challenging, especially for a family looking to hire someone quickly. If you are in this position, it’s important to take your time and make a careful decision so you find the best person for the job.
Here are some tips to help you find the right caregiver for your needs and situation:
Research options in your area. Many communities offer low-cost home care through specialized funding. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) office to learn more. In addition, faith communities and senior service agencies may have referral programs to pre-screened attendants in your area.
If you choose to hire an independent caregiver, be sure to discuss all the details of your arrangement with the candidate prior to hiring. A contract will ensure that you and your loved one understand each other’s expectations and protect both parties in the event of a dispute. Be sure to ask for references and check them carefully. You should try to speak with past employers to find out more about the caregiver’s competency, compassion and reliability. You should also confirm the aide’s credentials, licensing and experience.
Some direct-hire firms charge a fee to find and match you with a caregiver. These services usually provide background checks and handle essential paperwork, but you must still interview candidates and decide on job duties, salary and other important terms.
Consider using a registry or other online matching services that act as middlemen between families and caregivers. Some registries have extensive lists of caregivers and allow you to search for care providers by specific criteria, such as experience with dementia. They can save you time by weeding out candidates who don’t meet your criteria and may offer more flexibility in hourly rates, since they don’t charge agency fees.
If you’re searching on your own, consider asking for referrals from trusted friends and neighbors, and consider posting a classified ad. Another option is to contact a home health agency, which typically has caregivers available for immediate hire and can handle all the legal and HR work that comes with hiring an employee. Some home health agencies also offer back-up care if your regular caregiver is sick or on vacation.
If you’re considering an independent caregiver, ask if they have sample contracts they can share with you. If not, consider consulting a lawyer or creating your own contract. In addition to outlining the duties and compensation, it should include a detailed description of your loved one’s needs, such as bathing or eating preferences. It should also specify visitors policies and a system for petty cash reimbursements. The contract should be signed by both you and the caregiver and notarized. find a caregiver