How to Find Caregiver for an Elder

Finding the right caregiver to help you or your loved one through old age safely and comfortably can be a challenge if you don't know what to look for. There are different types of healthcare providers with different degrees, so you want to know which type you need, what to look for in qualified healthcare providers, how to hire one, and, last but not least, how to finance this care. Our mission is to help you get all the answers you need and to help you find the most qualified and compassionate home care providers.

Understand that this is not the last decision

As part of our home care and support services program, we have spoken with many people whose parents are entering a period where they will need more care. One of the most difficult decisions is often the choice between home care and a nursing home. Where possible, we naturally prefer the former.

There are several reasons for this, but one of them is that it is significantly more flexible. You may have many questions to ask a nursing home, but until you have the experience of a loved one living there, you're not exactly sure what it's like. If it's not the right fit, there's a lot of paperwork and logistics involved in finding a new home and moving your loved one. There are also financial costs and constant interruptions can be harmful, especially if dementia is involved.

There are interruptions and difficulties in finding a new caregiver, of course, both practically and emotionally. But it is important to understand that you are not locked into a decision for life. A caregiver is an employee, and usually one at will. If he or she doesn't work, it won't work and you can find a replacement.

I'm not saying this to tell you to make the decision lightly, but to ease the stress. Too often we strive for perfection, and that is almost always the enemy of good.

Of course, your best bet is to find the right caregiver in the first place. Chances are you: As we said, most caregivers are great. You just need to know how to find the one that works best for your particular situation.




Tips for choosing a caregiver

As you begin your search, here are some important things to keep in mind that can help you connect with the right healthcare provider:

Understand your home care needs.

It's one thing to say your loved one needs a caregiver; it's another to know exactly why. Do they need help with daily functions? Someone to make sure they don't fall off? Someone, to take them to various appointments and activities? Someone, to cook, clean, and administer the medicinal regimens? Different levels of care are needed and you should start from there. A geriatric care evaluation is a great way to fully understand the needs involved.

Understand your financial reality.

Everyone would love to join a team of Ph.D. carers who work 24 hours a day. For most people, however, that is not a reality. Therefore, you must fully understand how much you and anyone else in your family can realistically afford before starting your search. Caring for an older loved one can be stressful enough; you don't want to add to that stress by suddenly being overwhelmed by costs.

Involve all stakeholders.

Do you have siblings, cousins, other relatives, or someone who will help? Make sure they are part of the decision, have input on what they can contribute (time, money, food, etc.), and use that as part of your planning. If there's someone who can't afford to pay much but can come once a week and make several healthy stews so that no one has to cook for a week, keep that in mind. That is part of your overall needs analysis.

Involve all stakeholders.

Do you have siblings, cousins, other relatives, or someone who will help? Make sure they are part of the decision, have input on what they can contribute (time, money, food, etc.), and use that as part of your planning. If there's someone who can't afford to pay much but can come once a week and make several healthy stews so that no one has to cook for a week, keep that in mind. That is part of your overall needs analysis.

Create a job description.

Have you ever applied for a job where the interviewer didn't seem to know exactly what you were going to do? Then you probably didn't want to work there. It's the same when you interview someone. Prepare a complete and accurate job description focused on the personal needs of your loved one. You don't want to overdo things because you would hate to hire someone only to find out they are not qualified. No health care provider knows what to expect, and therefore whether to achieve it unless you tell them.

Choose between agency and private care.

Agencies tend to cost more but are easier to research. It's harder (though not really hard) to screen people. You can decide which one works best for you. Get in touch with other people.

Ask about it at church groups, activity centers, social clubs, or anywhere older adults gather. Talk to friends who have been through the same thing. Ask the 10A advisers about it. Read agency reviews online. Find out who has good experiences with which agencies and keep track of that. Don't just rely on anecdotal evidence, but don't shy away from it either.

Don't be shy in interviews.

When you bring someone in for an interview, don't hesitate to ask tough questions. Find out if they've done similar work before. Ask them what kind of personalities they have interacted with. Ask them about their comfort level and personal history. Don't be rude or bossy -remember that these are people who do difficult and important work, but be firm and honest about expectations. By putting everything on the table, you are also doing them a favor.

Run background checks.

If you use an agency, ask about their background checks and review the documentation they use. This is your right. If you hire a person, you may need to do your own verification. Fortunately, many sites allow this, and you can also contact state or municipal authorities. In California, caregivers are not required to be licensed, but you can still check the following:

  • Credentials (you can view people who are Registered Nurses, CNAs, or have certifications in first aid and more)
  • criminal record
  • Residence permit

Communicate with your loved one.

It's easy to view spreadsheets, allocate responsibilities, and do the necessary paperwork, but have you contacted the person you're caring for? They should also have as much say in this as possible. Don't rule them out. If possible, ask them to participate in the interviews. That's the only way to judge a relationship.

Do what feels right for you. At the end of the day, after you find someone who is technically qualified, experienced, and has excellent references, you still have to guess. You don't know how things will work from day to day. Here you have to take a leap of faith. Go with what you feel is right, knowing that nothing is guaranteed.

Make the decision

Most older adults need help to some degree. That's a normal part of life and should be accepted - it allows older adults to grow old in their place and continue living the life they want as much as possible. it's liberating.

When and when it comes time to hire a caregiver, don't be paralyzed by indecision. Don't choose because it seems overwhelming. Be smart, be prepared, and be honest with everyone. If you do, you'll have a much better chance of finding the right fit.

What if it's not right? Start over. There are thousands of great caregivers in the area, the kind of decent, strong, hardworking people who know they are helping someone live the best life possible. You will find them.