There comes a time when family caregivers come to realize that they need help caring for their aging relative. We have to admit, being a caregiver is not an easy job. It requires a lot of time and dedication especially when your aging loved one needs constant supervision and assistance everyday.
Caregiver agencies will typically be the most expensive way of finding a caregiver. Independent providers will be the least expensive. However, agencies are also easier to use, since the agency finds and places the caregiver, handles payroll, problems that may arise, and usually provides coverage for sick or absent caregivers.
Caregiver agencies that are licensed and bonded are generally a good choice, although there are always exceptions. You have avenues of recourse (complaints, legal action) when dealing with agencies that are liable for caregiver problems. There is no real recourse (except firing) when dealing with independent home care providers or ones found through registries.
- Conduct an in-depth interview with each potential caregiver, preferably in person rather than on the phone.
- Be specific about all of the tasks that the caregiver will be expected to take on.
- Discuss salary and offer to pay wages either weekly or bi-weekly. Do not pay the caregiver in advance.
- Request both work and personal references from the potential caregiver, and check them carefully. Ask the references about reliability, trustworthiness, and punctuality as well as the caregiver's ability to handle stress.
- If possible, consider a background check for the caregiver. For around $100-$150 you can have this done professionally. Check with your local police department, legal aid service or your attorney for referrals to individuals or companies that do this or search for "background checks" on the Internet.
- Be sure to include the potential care recipient in the screening process if he or she is able to participate, to ensure that both parties are comfortable, and that your loved one's needs are respected.
Once you've hired a caregiver, should a problem develop, discuss it with the caregiver first. If that does not resolve matters, talk to the caregiver agency, if you've hired the caregiver through this route. If the caregiver is independent and you cannot resolve the problem after repeated discussions, you may need to find a new caregiver. If you suspect fraud or other criminal behavior, report it to your state's Department of Health and the Better Business Bureau. Remember to read contracts carefully, check all references, and consult with someone you trust before signing on the dotted line.
Care for the Caregiver
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- Long Distance Caregiving
- Practical Tips For Long Distance Caregivers
- Avoid Caregiver Burnout
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