Taking on the responsibility of finding a caregiver is a major commitment for anyone who does so. Caregiving requires time, patience and clear communication between family members and the caregiver. It also takes a good understanding of what your older loved one needs and wants, which is why you should write down his or her care requirements before beginning the search. A level of care assessment conducted by a doctor is also usually required to determine the type of home health care needed for your loved one.
Many caregivers are referred to you by trusted friends or family members who have had experiences with them, or you may post an ad in a local paper or online. While traditional advertising can be costly, it can help to attract more applicants and get the word out that you are hiring for a position. Make sure your ad is clearly written and well-designed, with all of the pertinent information on it. Also, be sure to include the hourly rate you are willing to pay. It is best to match the going rate for similar caregiver jobs in your area, as a lower salary can be an instant turnoff.
You should interview all candidates before making a final selection, and the care receiver should be present for some of these interviews if possible. Be prepared to discuss the job description and requirements, and make notes on the applicants’ skills and experience. Ask for references, and check criminal records before hiring. An employment contract should also be created. This document outlines the duties and expectations of both parties, and should be signed by both of you and notarized. It can cover topics such as pay, vacation days and sick leave, visitation policies, petty cash allowance, and expected behavior from the caregiver.
If you hire a private caregiver from an agency or registry, the process can take a few weeks. This is because the agency will prescreen candidates and provide you with a list of potential caregivers to interview. In addition to referring candidates, referral agencies often provide payroll services, auto insurance and worker’s compensation to their employees. Some of these agencies will even train the caregiver for your particular situation and provide you with sample interview questions to use.
A do-it-yourself search can be more time consuming, and you will be solely responsible for the hiring process and all associated costs. However, you may be able to find a caregiver with special skills or qualities that you would not have been able to identify through the referral process. These can include the ability to speak a second language, a shared interest or personality trait with your loved one, and flexibility in scheduling.
Both types of hiring methods can have benefits and drawbacks, but you must decide what is most important for your loved one and your budget. It is also recommended to talk to your local Area Agency on Aging for more information about care options in your community.