Looking for an ideal caregiver is akin to finding the perfect babysitter for your child, you need to find someone you can trust completely with your loved one. Looking for a caregiver for an aging relative or a family member that is coping with a medical condition is a task that cannot be undertaken lightly.
Regardless of whether you’re looking for some weekend relief help or for a caregiver to stay with your aging loved one for a few hours or an overnight, you need to practice due diligence; this is especially true if the individual you’re seeking help for is unable to communicate with you about the care they receive in your absence.
When seeking a caregiver it is best to start with word of mouth referrals if possible. If you know a friend or family member that has a caregiver they trust and work with, that is your best source for a caregiver for your needs. If you don’t know of anyone, check with senior centers or the Office for the Aging department in your area. These groups typically have access to screened potential caregivers.
If you find a caregiver whose credentials you approve of, invite them for an in-person interview. Ask for references from past clients and make certain you contact those references. Also, in today’s electronic and social media age you may be able to find out quite a bit of information on a potential caregiver from a simple internet search.
What tasks will caregiver perform?
Knowing what services you need from the caregiver will better equip you to make a checklist of what you will need to ask of former patients. Does the potential caregiver need to drive your family member to and from doctor’s visits? Then you need to be assured they have a clean driving record.
Does your family have a lot of valuables around the home? You may need to request a background check that could uncover any criminal past of the potential caregiver. If possible, don’t leave expensive items in plain sight. Remove any potential temptation for theft until you get to know the person and their character.
Does your family member have any medical issues that require specialized medical training? If so, you will need a caregiver that can prove he or she is certified and able to undertake those medical tasks; this could include checking blood sugar levels and administering insulin or helping with physical and occupational therapy regiments.
If you need the caregiver to undertake household tasks such as light housekeeping, yard work or cooking meals, this needs to be discussed up front. Don’t hire a caregiver and provide them with an ABC type of checklist for duties required and then keep adding more duties to that list as he or she may look for another position. Take time to thoroughly understand what you will require of the caregiver before beginning the search for one.
Request a “trial run” with the potential caregiver to see how he or she interacts with your family member. Even if you decide to hire a particular individual consider making unannounced visits to the home when the caregiver is there to determine how things are going. Also, rely on your family member for assistance in determining whether the caregiver is working out. Look for changes in behavior or eating or even health habits when making a determination or asking questions about how the arrangement is working out. Relying on your instincts is not to be discounted.
You need to make certain you are entrusting your loved one to a caregiver that will provide not only quality care, but care that makes you feel comfortable and your family member feel taken care of. Consider also adding a medical alert device to the home in the event an emergency does arise. Fast help is critical when medical emergencies arise and coupled with a diligent caregiver, your loved one will have excellent care.
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