There often comes a time when a senior parent loved one can no longer live alone unassisted. It is difficult to know where to turn for help and to make decisions about how much extra care is needed. Talking with your parent or loved one to figure out what things they are no longer able to do on their own, and deciding what kind of person or persons could fill those roles is a good place to start. Taking time to interview many candidates and involving your parent in the process can ensure the right match.
Where to Find Someone
Consider multiple avenues when looking for a caregiver for the senior in your life. Area senior centers or the county department on aging can often provide lists of available agencies that provide caregivers. Home health agencies are also a place to look. Many people consider craigslist.com as it has become a catch all place to find what ever services you need. However one of the best ways to find someone is to ask friends and acquaintances for their suggestions and referrals. The opinion of people you trust and are close to is a valuable tool in narrowing the search.
Prepare for Interviews
Create a list of questions that are relevant to your senior’s needs. You might want to consider the interests of the senior, the routine of and lifestyle that the senior is accustomed to, and their expectations. You might also want to create a list of must haves such as needing someone who drives, an English or bi-lingual person, someone who might be available overnight. Consider all of your needs when creating your interview questions and needs list.
Once you have found several candidates it is very important to interview them all carefully. You should even interview those who may have been referred by agencies. While the agency has screened them, they still need to meet your qualifications. Be sure to ask each potential caregiver your list of prepared interview questions so you can compare the answers and narrow down the best candidates. Be honest and talk up front about your expectations, discuss hours, and try to get a feel for the person. Then it is very important to ask for several references. Be sure to check each reference and visit with the references if possible.
After selecting the best candidates, invite them to spend a day or two with your senior on a trial basis. Talk with your senior afterward to see which caregiver seemed to be the best match. It’s also important to talk with the caregivers after the trial run to see if they think the job will work for them.
Make a decision about the best candidate and get them started. Finalize plans for hours and salary. But your job doesn’t end here. In the first several months, drop in unexpectedly just to see how things are going. Talk with your senior to be sure they are being treated properly and their needs are being met.