Aiding a loved one age in place may mean anything. Hiring the right help might not only be a necessity but a gift.

Family caregiving is crucial to elder family members wanting to stay in their home as they get older. Helping a family member age in place may mean anything from stopping by a parent’s home daily to checking in every few days to assist with tasks such as bathing and meal prep and activities including medication management and administering injections. 

Family, friends, and professionals may suggest finding someone to help with care responsibilities and housekeeping tasks. Having a person take on some tasks or housekeeping might appeal to you. However, what does it mean to have someone in your home to provide caregiving assistance? Where do you start to find someone? Can you afford it? How do you reply to your loved one who conveys that they do not want “a stranger” in the house? Below are some suggestions to guide families to choose the right home care provider for the level of care they want so your loved one remains at home safely.

5 Tips For Hiring A Paid Caregiver

Tip #1. Assess Your Need. Determine the level of assistance required and consider caregiving in the new normal regaining work-life balance. Write down limitations and needs, likes and dislikes, expectations, and doctor recommendations with your loved one. Should your loved one have long-term care insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare, you will need a doctor’s order for the need for in-home care. Check with your plan provider.

Tip #2. Choosing your search method. The goal is to find a trustworthy, responsible, and compassionate caregiver. Are you confident in using a home health agency with aides on staff? Or would you instead contract directly with an independent caregiver through a friend’s referral or a staffing service? Whatever method you select, you and your family members should interview applicants together. Be transparent and honest about the job requirement and prepare written questions. Another primary consideration when hiring a caregiver is the cost. You may be able to find help paying for in-home care in some cases.

Tip #3. Using an agency. Whether your loved one is eligible for Medicare, Medicare’s Home Health Compare is a useful online tool for researching and finding home health agencies in your area. 

Working with an agency has advantages and disadvantages. These include:

  • Prescreened workers
  • Relevant experience
  • Backup care
  • Fast upgrades
  • Fewer problems
  • Liability protection
  • No paperwork 

Among the disadvantages of working with an agency:

  • Cost
  • Little choice
  • Limited negotiation
  • Minimum hours

Tip #4. Using a registry. Home health care registries link families with independent home health workers, sometimes called staffing services or private-duty registries. You inform the company what you are looking for, and they refer you to matching candidates. These direct-hire firms often charge a one-time fee for a successful match. Otherwise, the professional and financial relationship is between you and the caregiver. Also, some local governments have publicly available registries of certified home care workers in the area and contact information.

Some pros of using a registry:

  • Better fit
  • Flextime
  • Spend less; pay more
  • Your rules

Some cons of a registry:

  • Time
  • Emergency coverage
  • Screening
  • Paperwork
  • Protection
  • Training
  • Ultimate responsibility. This is because the person who handles complaints about your caregiver is you.

Tip #5. Personal referrals. Hiring a caregiver on the recommendation of an organization you trust or someone you know carries similar pros and cons as a direct hire through a registry. Although you have more responsibilities and more flexibility than using an agency, you also have the conviction that comes with a referral from a community group or a friend. 

Final Guidance

The care receiver’s relationship with the attendant, your relationship with the attendant, and vice versa are all significant—the greater the trust, the better the relationship. And when you find the right person for your caregiving needs, they are worth their weight in gold. Wishing you success in finding excellent help to match your caregiving situation and make your journey as a caregiver more manageable and fulfilling. 

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