Choosing an In-Home Caregiver – Things to Consider

As we age, most of us want to continue to live in our own homes for as long as possible. For those who are elderly and have disabilities, that may be possible only with professional assistance.

Most people who need help with their daily activities rely on unpaid care provided them by family members and friends. More and more, however, seniors and their families are recognizing the benefits of hiring caregivers, to help stay in their homes longer, in comfort and safety, and to give families peace of mind.

Evaluate Your Home-Care Needs
Evaluate the help that is needed in the areas of health care, personal care, and household care.
Do you need home health care, such as physical therapy or medication management?
Do you need non-medical personal care, such as help with bathing, dressing, toileting, and meal preparation, or are you looking mainly for a companion or sitter?
Do you need help with housecleaning, shopping, home maintenance, and running errands, or with bill-paying and managing your money?

Ask the right questions & check references
Prepare a list of questions to ask. Have a list for any applicant, caregiver agency, referral source, or reference you may call during your search. If you don’t know what questions to ask a private caregiver, call a caregiver agency. If you are interviewing a caregiver agency, ask to interview the in-home caregivers yourself. Many agency employees look good on paper, but will not be a good fit for you, for cultural, religious, social, or any number of reasons. You may just not like the person the agency has assigned to you.  It’s your right to say no!

Ask family or friends to help monitor
Set up a schedule for you, your family and/or friends to monitor the quality of the services the caregiver provides. Consider hiring an independent geriatric care manager to monitor if you or family members are unable to do it yourself. Watch for signs of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation and report suspicious activity to the agency and state authorities.