In our last blog post, we discussed some ways you could determine whether it was time to hire a caregiver for an elderly parent who has decided to age in place.
This week, we’re going to take the next step: how to hire a caregiver for the elderly.
This is not something that should be taken lightly. You’re essentially putting your mom or dad’s life in this person’s hands.
You want to know that they can do the job, and they deserve to know what that job entails. Here are some things you should know before you start your search.
What to look for when hiring a caregiver for the elderly
Whether you need someone to live with your mom full-time or a person who’ll just look in on your dad a few times a week, there are some things you’ll need to consider.
1. Credentials and references
Find out if the person you’re considering has the credentials and experience necessary to do things like administer medication or work with people with dementia. You should also ask for references, then contact those references to learn more about the person you’re planning to hire. Finally, you should do a background check to make sure there aren’t any major issues in their past.
Just like a doctor, a good caregiver is one with a good bedside manner. See how they interact with your parent. Your instincts should tell you whether they’re a good fit. Ask them questions to see if they have any interests that match with your mom or dad. Having some common ground can go a long way to forging a relationship with your parent.
3. Individual or Agency
Hiring an individual as caregiver may seem like a good choice but what happens when that individual is sick or takes vacation. Who will take their place caring for mom or dad? Going with an agency can solve this issue; as well as many others. Using an agency however can also come with some drawbacks: cost is usually higher (management overhead), potentially less flexibility in the services they provide, more rigid requirements for the assignments they will accept, limited options for choosing a caregiver for example.
Choosing to go with an agency often makes the hiring process quicker and easier since they can guide you through the process but it still requires that you vet the individual caregivers to make sure they are the right match for your elderly parent.
3. The contract
A contract won’t be an issue if you hire a caregiver for the elderly through an agency. But if you’re doing a private hiring, you’ll need to create a contract that addresses things like:
- Job duties and work hours
- Meal access and household privileges
- Compensation, days off and vacation time
Your contract should also address things like transportation – will they be able to use your parent’s car to run errands – and confidentiality related to sharing personal information.
Beyond these tips, someone who wants to hire a caregiver for the elderly should:
- Provide a clear job description – Think carefully about your parent’s needs. It’s not fair to the caregiver to hire them to, say, run errands for your mom and then realize three weeks into the job that they could also be doing her laundry.
- Pay them fairly (and legally!) – Research rates for caregivers in your area so that can be sure you’re giving the person you’ve hired a decent wage. And although it might be tempting to pay them under the table, it’s not worth the risk.
- Do more than one interview – You probably won’t find the perfect candidate through an initial interview. Consider doing a phone screening, an in-person interview and then – if they feel like a good fit – a third interview where they can meet your mom or dad. You may even want to consider hiring them on a trial basis to make sure they’re a good match.
At Pennsylvania Stairlifts, we know how important it is for seniors to feel safe and comfortable at home, whether it’s with the people who care for them or the home itself.
That’s why we’re committed to helping seniors throughout the Philadelphia area by installing only the top quality stair lifts. Visit us today to find out how we can make life easier for you and your family.