In the United States, records show that 16.5% of the population are senior citizens. That’s more than 50 million elderly people.
When you have an elderly family member, the time may come when they need a caregiver. Choosing someone to look after your loved one is a serious matter, and you want to ensure you’re finding one that will be an ideal fit. To achieve this, you need to consider a few factors.
Keep reading to learn how to find a caregiver that will be a worthwhile addition to your family. Here’s everything you need to know.
What Is a Caregiver?
A caregiver has undergone training to care for someone who cannot do it for themselves. There are several types of caregivers, such as respite caregivers, family caregivers, and private-duty caregivers.
A caretaker’s job is to help with the handling of daily life for their patient. They are there to help with things their patient may not be able to perform themselves, like grocery shopping, bathing, and cooking. Caregivers build a strong relationship bond with the senior they are caring for and can also act as a companion for them in times when they would otherwise be lonely.
8 Tips to Find The Perfect Caregiver
If you’re looking to hire a caregiver, you want to ensure the one you choose will be a good fit, trustworthy, and well-suited to the job they need to perform. Here are our top ten tips so you can find a caregiver that’s a perfect fit.
1. Check Their Qualifications
Not every state will have the same caregiver qualification requirements, so you want to check with the requirement law in your state before proceeding. Some states require a specific amount of hours spent in training.
For example, some states require only 40 hours of training, and others require many more, including further education courses. Don’t skip this step if you want qualified providers.
2. Work Out Your Budget
Another factor to consider when needing a caregiver is what you can afford. Knowing your budget before you start interviewing potential candidates can save a lot of disappointment in the future.
Take time to work out what you and any other contributor can afford and make any candidates or agencies aware of this. This way, you can avoid being overwhelmed by expenses.
3. Review the Services Offered
When searching for the perfect caregiver, you must review each professional caregiver’s services. Not all caregivers will offer the same services, and it largely depends on their training and skill levels.
For example, will you need them to cook? If so, this needs to be a service they provide. More advanced requirements like bathing may also be a service some caregivers don’t supply.
4. Consider Skill Requirements
While considering what duties you need the caregiver to perform, you must consider what skill requirements you need. Caregivers aren’t medical professionals, but some will offer more advanced services than others. For example, if your loved one requires catheter care, the service you hire must have the necessary training and skill level to perform this task.
5. Discuss with Family Members
If more than one family member is contributing financially or helping in some way, you want to ensure you include them in some, if not all, of the decision-making process. Once you know what everyone can contribute, you’ll better understand the services and duties you need to perform.
For example, if one or more family member is offering to cook meals, that’s one less service you need to worry about paying a professional for. If another family member performs bathing duties, you can save money because you won’t need to find a caregiver who offers these more specialized services. These specialized services will increase the cost of the caregiver you hire.
6. Ask for Recommendations
Another way to find a caregiver is to ask friends and family for anyone they can recommend. Some friends may have already gone through the caregiver selection process and will have valuable input to provide. Use this information to help guide you in your decision-making.
If someone has used the service before and is happy, the chances are great that you will also be satisfied. Knowing this can give you a lot of peace of mind.
7. Insist on Background Checks
You don’t want to entrust just anyone to look after your elderly loved one. You want to ensure whomever you’re hiring has been background checked before you commit to using their services. If you go through an agency, ensure they run background checks on their caregivers.
If you’re not using a caregiver company and are hiring privately, you should run the background checks yourself if the candidate doesn’t provide one. There are many ways you can get a background check done. You want to check the caregiver’s credentials, residency status, and criminal background.
8. Conduct an Interview
Another factor you want to consider when you find a caregiver is the interview. The interview is an essential part of the decision-making process, so you must prepare your questions ahead of time. This may be the only time you speak to the potential candidate before making your final choice, so have the right questions ready.
Don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions. The more information you can get from the interview, the more likely you will find the perfect caregiver for your needs.
9. Suggest a Trial Run
While this may not always be possible, asking for a trial run is an excellent way to ensure you find a caregiver that is a good fit for your needs. Not only does it help you decide, but it also helps the caregiver know whether or not they can provide you with the level of service you’re looking for.
Your loved one will spend a lot of time with their caregiver, so making sure they’re compatible is another reason to ask for a trial run.
10. Agency or Private
Finally, another factor you need to consider when you find a caregiver is whether or not you want to go through an agency. If you choose not to, you can opt for a private individual, but you will likely have to conduct your own background check and set up your own interview.
If you choose to use an agency, they will most likely have already vetted your potential caregivers, which is one less thing you have to deal with during this already trying time.
Find a Caregiver Who Is a Perfect Fit
When you find a caregiver who meshes perfectly with your family, it can give you great peace of mind. By working out your budget, requirements, and expectations before beginning your search, you are more likely to find someone who matches all your needs. Remember, don’t be afraid to ask hard questions; never forgo the background check.