Helpful Tips When Looking for a Professional Caregiver
So you’ve decided with your family that bringing on a professional Caregiver would be the best way for your loved one to get the care they need while aging in place, allowing them to thrive in whatever place they call home. But how do you decide which type of agency is best suited to the specific care needs of your loved one and family?
Here are some tips to consider when looking into hiring a professional Caregiver:
Recognize what your loved one and family need.
According to the AARP, there is a broad spectrum of professional Caregivers, and considering all the options may be overwhelming. To begin with, start making a list of what your loved one and family need. Is it just a few hours every week or is it round-the-clock assistance? Would you like the Caregiver to provide support for your loved one in their own home or in an assisted living facility? Do they require specific health care to address a chronic condition, or perhaps memory care or simply companionship? Timothy L. Takacs, a Certified Elder Law Attorney suggests, “Evaluate the help that is needed in the areas of health care, personal care, and household care.” Once you have a solid list of preferences, it will be easier to find the right type of Caregiver.
Assess your finances and budget.
The costs of hiring a professional Caregiver can differ greatly depending upon the needs of the person being cared for. Your loved one may require home health care with an RN, or simply the support of a personal Caregiver who can assist in daily personal tasks, such as bathing or dressing. Companion care can include help with running errands, light housekeeping or simply sitting by your loved one’s side and reading them a good book. Seek out an elder care financial planner, or engage a personal financial planner to help you assess available finances and budget. A home care agency such as Avila Home Care, which allows for flexible scheduling and no long term commitment, is a good option for those who are exploring home care for the first time.
Find a good match.
Finding a skilled Caregiver who also matches the personality of your loved one and is compatible with your family’s needs may seem like a daunting task, but writing down a list of your loved one’s needs and considering all the different caregiving options is a good place to start. If you were to hire an independent home health aide, would you mind acting as their employer where you set the number of hours, but would also be responsible for their sick leave? Or would you prefer going through an agency where background checks are vetted? There are pros and cons for each. The AARP suggests, “Whatever method you select, you and your loved one should interview applicants together if possible. Prepare written questions, and be clear and honest about job requirements.” This is an important step in the hiring process because knowing what questions to ask will alleviate a lot of stress, and you can feel confident in your ultimate decision.
Inquire about training and accreditation.
Once you have identified your loved one and family’s needs, and the type of professional Caregiver that is best suited for the job, you can ask about what training and certification the Caregiver has. Consider whether the certification will allow a Caregiver to help your loved one with activities of daily living (ADLs), whether they are prepared to help in an emergency situation, and how they will communicate with and engage in a supportive relationship with your loved one, as well as family and friends. Whether choosing a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or a Registered Nurse (RN), asking for references is important. Most agencies will be clear about the types of skills and training their Caregivers have, but types of home care agencies, as well as the levels of certifications of their Caregivers, can vary. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging (The Family Caregiver Alliance has a page on Services by State) or your local Department of Senior Services, to learn more.
Follow your instincts.
After you’ve done all the research, interviewed potential agencies and Caregivers, and considered finances and budget, listen to your instincts. Who stands out? Who seems trustworthy and who will be most compatible with your loved one? The agency and Caregivers you choose may be in your loved one’s life for a considerable time, and so it’s important to choose someone who isn’t only fully qualified, experienced, and highly skilled, but also an agency and Caregivers who are compassionate and reliable. Seniors Matter.com says, “do not rush into a decision. Plan on interviewing several candidates … and do not lower your standards or be talked into something you are not comfortable with… You may feel pressured to hire, but you will feel a lot more pressured if you get the wrong person and have to start over.”
Considering a professional Caregiver can be a life-changing decision for you and your loved one, but it doesn’t have to be a complicated one. If you’d like to talk about your loved one’s needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Avila Home Care, where one of our Client Care Coordinators can talk through how we can best support your loved one. And if you’d like, one of Avila’s experienced Registered Nurses can assess your loved one’s needs at no cost and in the comfort of whatever setting they call home. Call us at 410-826-6100, or visit our website at avilahomecare.com for more information.
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