When an elderly family member needs in-home care, it can be challenging to find a qualified caregiver. Some families choose to use an agency with staff caregivers, while others prefer the privacy and control of hiring a private aide. Whatever route you take, it’s important to have a clear plan and understand your options.
The first step in finding a caregiver is to determine what type of help your loved one needs. Write down a detailed list of tasks that need to be done and what kind of care your loved one prefers. This information can be helpful when creating a job description and interviewing candidates. Ideally, your elderly family member should be present for interviews with potential caregivers so their input can also be considered.
Once you have an idea of what type of care your senior requires, it’s time to decide on how you want to pay for it. Some home care services and agencies have financial advisors on staff who can assist with evaluating and selecting the best options for your needs. For those who opt to hire private aides, it’s helpful to consider the different funding sources available, such as long-term care insurance policies, traditional health insurance, Medicare Advantage plans, and state and federal programs that may be applicable in your area.
It’s a good idea to seek referrals from family and friends who have experience with caring for older adults, as they will often know of caregivers who provide quality, reliable care. However, be sure to carefully screen any applicants referred by family and friends. They may be highly recommended for their skills, compassion and personality, but it’s important to verify their certification, training and licensure status on your own.
During the interview process, ask open-ended questions that require more than just a yes or no answer. This will give you a better sense of the applicant’s knowledge and experiences. Inquire about previous experience with home healthcare and whether they are familiar with the types of equipment your elderly family member uses. Also, ask about their availability, schedule preferences and whether they have back up coverage if they are sick or need to take a vacation.
After the interview, make an offer to the caregiver you feel is the right match for your loved one. Create a contract that includes the hours, wage, and other essential details. This will be beneficial down the road should you need to prove to Medicaid or other providers that you’re following all the necessary guidelines.
Finally, don’t forget to set up a trial period. During this time, you can observe how your loved one and the aide interact and how well they perform their duties. If all goes well, you can then move forward with a long-term arrangement. If not, you can always start the search over again. There are many resources available for caregivers, including support groups. Check with local organizations such as CaringKind, formerly the Alzheimer’s Association, NYC Chapter for group listings. how to find a caregiver for elderly