8 Tips when hiring a caregiver for your aging parent

Over the course of my career I have dealt with many families who were looking to hire a potential caregiver for their parents.  Families are needing respite and are looking to share the responsibilities of care giving with a trained nurse’s aide.  It is important that you select the right professional caregiver for your parent and the following tips will help you.

Find someone with EXPERIENCE: Oftentimes, families feel that if someone has experience working with children then they shouldn’t have difficulties working with the elderly.  However, that is not the case.  Although a nanny may be great at managing some of the needs, it is important that the person you are hiring has experience working with the elderly and understands the behaviors and limitations associated with aging.  The caregiver should have the right training and skills needed for the job.

INTERVIEW THE CANDIDAinterviewTE: A face to face interview is necessary. Just because someone was excellent for someone else’s family doesn’t mean they are right for you.

Set up an interview with the caregiver.  Write down the job responsibilities along with specific questions that you feel are necessary for the job. Examples may be:

  • How many years experience do you have working with the elderly?
  • Where did you get your experience from?
  • Do you have any training in Alzheimer’s disease, palliative care, cancer care (whatever the need you have); do you have CPR training?
  • How would you handle an emergency situation?
  • How would you handle my parent yelling and screaming at you?
  • Are you comfortable managing some of the household duties?
  • Are you able to assist with specific activities of daily living; bathing, dressing, toileting?

Ask for two professional references related to working with the elderly.

If the interview goes well, have them meet your loved one.

WRITE DOWN ALL YOUR OBSERVATIONS: It is important to write down all your observations and notes throughout the interview as it is hard to remember everything discussed.

MAKE SURE THEY UNDERSTAND THEIR JOB RESPONSIBILITIES: It is important that when you are hiring a potential candidate they understand their role.  Discuss every aspect of the job; the positives and the negatives.  They need to know what your expectations are and what their day to day responsibilities are going to be.  You don’t want to hire someone under false pretenses.  Do some role playing of some of the situations they may encounter on the job, make sure they respond correctly. Give them an example of what their daily routine will be specific to overseeing the healthcare needs of your loved one.

HOURS: Many of the caregivers are willing to work more then a 40 hour work week.  However, this shouldn’t be the case, especially if your parent is difficult. Caregivers are unable to work 24hrs/7days a week.  Should you need full time care it is best to break down the shifts into two twelve hour shifts 5 days/week and hire another team for the weekend.  You want to be sure that your caregiver gets adequate rest.

HIRING A CAREGIVER CAN BE A FULL TIME JOB: Go into the task of hiring a caregiver with open eyes as it can become extremely difficult coordinating the care for your parent.  It is a huge responsibility that can be time consuming, frustrating and exhausting.

gutYOUR GUT IS VERY TELLING! A candidate can look really good on paper however, once you meet with them you may get a feeling that they aren’t the right fit for you and your family.  They may have all the necessary skills  and received wonderful references but if your gut is telling you something listen to it.  There are many wonderful caregivers who are available and it is important to  find the right person who you will feel comfortable having care for  your mother or father.

HOME HEALTH CARE COMPANIES: If you feel that you do not want to take on the responsibility of finding a caregiver for your loved one then you can always look into hiring someone from a Home Healthcare company.  There are a lot of pros taking that route and it is always a very good option to have.

Home health care companies have already screened all potential caregivers and completed all the required background checks and criminal court record checks.  As well, if your private caregiver falls ill, has an emergency and can no longer be available the organization would find a replacement in their absence.

Hope these tips help you find the right person to care for your parent!


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