How to Find a Caregiver

Many adult children of aging parents begin their search for in-home caregivers by asking friends and family members for recommendations. They may also turn to online caregiver referrals and reviews. However, finding a caregiver that fits a person’s specific needs, personality and lifestyle requires careful thought and consideration.

Having a clear job description for the care your loved one needs is essential, especially if your search takes place through a registry or direct hire. Often, such services charge a onetime fee to match you with caregivers, but then the financial and professional relationship is between you and your relative. This approach has pros and cons: You have more flexibility in selecting a caregiver but also more responsibilities than if you hire through an agency.

Consider the type of care your aging loved one needs and the level of independence they want to maintain. For example, if they are living with limited mobility and need help getting around or moving in and out of their home, you’ll need to find an aide who can assist them with these tasks. If your relative has a memory loss or cognitive impairment, you’ll need to find someone with experience and compassion for a patient who has special needs.

You should also discuss your aging loved one’s preferences with any potential attendants to ensure they will be a good fit for them. For example, your elderly loved one may prefer a male or female caregiver or want someone who shares their cultural background or language. Be open to these possibilities, as wonderful attendants can be found from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences.

Your doctor, health care provider or social worker may have some ideas on how to find a caregiver in your community. Your local Area Agency on Aging can also provide information on services and resources, including paid caregiver support programs. It can even offer a free, personal caregiver resource dashboard, sponsored by the Family Caregiver Alliance.

When you’re ready to start your search, consider contacting caregivers through classified ads in local newspapers, online job sites and forums and bulletin boards. Many communities also have publicly available registries of pre-screened caregivers, which can be a convenient option.

You can also check with your state’s department of health to see what training and certifications a caregiver must have. You should always ask for a resume and contact information before hiring someone. Interview candidates by phone or in-person at your senior’s home or a coffee shop, as appropriate. During the interview, be sure to go over your job description and discuss what type of experience and commitment you’re looking for. Also, make sure your potential caregiver understands the duties of their role and explains the rules that will govern their work relationship with your loved one. A contract should be signed by both parties to confirm this agreement. This document should include all fees, reimbursement figures and expectations for both parties. Be sure to read the contract carefully and consult a lawyer, if necessary, before signing. find a caregiver

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