As your parents and other loved ones get older, your top concern becomes providing them with the care they need in a comfortable environment. A comfortable environment for aging Americans increasingly means remaining in their own home, rather than moving to a retirement home or other institution. In a 2005 survey by AARP, 89 percent of people age 50 and older said they would prefer to remain in their home indefinitely as they age. Aging at home gives adults more independence in a comfortable, familiar environment. Family members of aging adults want to respect their wishes to remain at home, but also make sure they receive the care they need. Hiring an in-home caregiver is a great solution, but many families have a difficult time finding adequate help.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the process of hiring care, especially if you’ve never been in a hiring position before. While the process may be stressful at times, it’s certainly not impossible. You are more than capable of managing it when armed with the right information. We’ve come up with CareSimply’s Guide to Hiring an In-Home Caregiver to help you navigate the process and point you to helpful resources. In this blog post, we summarize our comprehensive guide by covering the five basic steps for finding and hiring an in-home caregiver.
(1) The first step in finding a caregiver is to assess the caregiving situation. It’s important to evaluate your loved one’s needs before beginning the hiring process. Signs that your loved one may need help at home include difficulty with everyday activities, such as household chores, personal hygiene, and running errands. You should consider the following four areas when assessing your home care needs:
● Personal Care: Personal hygiene, bathing, toileting, dressing, eating, etc.
● Household Care: Cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping
● Health Care: Medication management, physical therapy, operation of special medical equipment
● Emotional Care: In addition to all other types of care your loved one needs, the caregiver you hire should provide companionship for your loved one. This includes engaging in conversations and participating in meaningful activities together.
(2) Once you’ve assessed the caregiving situation, it’s time to clearly define your needs to ensure you’ll be able to find a qualified worker for the job. When defining your needs, you’ll want to write a job description to lay out your caregiving expectations. Your job description should include the types of duties the caregiver will need to perform, any special skills or health care training required, and hours the caregiver will be expected to work. You’ll also want to start thinking about how many caregivers you should hire. For full-time care, we recommend 3-4 caregivers. If your loved one only needs care for a few hours each week, 1-2 caregivers will work great. When writing a job description, it’s also important to determine your budget for caregiving. For helpful budgeting resources, visit Medicare, HealthCare.gov, and the Paying for Senior Care guide.
(3) The next step in the process is to decide how you want to hire a caregiver. Depending on your budget and care needs, there are typically two ways to go about hiring an in-home caregiver - going through a traditional home care agency or hiring a caregiver independently. Home-care agencies handle all caregiver screening, hiring, payroll, and taxes, but they are the most expensive option for hiring care. Agencies offer limited control in the hiring process, making it more difficult to ensure that the caregiver is a good match for your loved one. On the other hand, hiring independently gives you more control over the process, but it requires more time and effort than going through an agency. Hiring independently is less expensive, since it requires you to take on the entire searching, hiring, and payroll process.
There are other services that assist you in hiring your caregiver directly. Websites like CareSimply let you browse online caregiver profiles for qualifications, reviews, and availability, giving you control over the hiring process, while eliminating the headache of payroll and tax paperwork.
(4) After deciding on a hiring method, the next step is to choose your caregiver. It’s important to speak with your caregiver before they begin the job, either in person or over the phone. Start the conversation by describing the details of the job, then, to further gauge compatibility, ask them about their background and interests. If you’re hiring through an agency, they will most likely handle the more formal interview questions, but if you are hiring independently, the full interview will be your responsibility. See CareSimply’s Interview Guide for a list of questions to ask. Once you narrow your selection down to 2 or 3 candidates, the next step is conducting reference checks. Ask each candidate to provide 2-3 work or personal references for you to contact. When calling the references, ask about their relationship to the candidate, their overall experience working with them, and if they would recommend the candidate as a caregiver.
(5) Once you’ve found the right caregiver for your loved one, you’ll want to continuously evaluate the experience to make sure everything is still going well. A good way to do this is to schedule regular meetings with the caregiver to discuss their responsibilities and any concerns or changes.
Most importantly, sit down with your loved one to make sure they are satisfied with the person providing care. Ask them whether they feel comfortable with their caregiver, and if not, have them identify specific problems or concerns. If your assessment uncovers any problems, it may be time to revisit the hiring process. Finally, if your loved one’s care plan is going well, tell your caregiver they are doing a great job. Caregiving is not easy, and it’s important for your caregiver to feel appreciated!
Founded in 2012, CareSimply is the easiest way to connect caregivers with people that need local, quality in-home care. It is an incredibly reliable, affordable and simple way to hire quality care services and manage household employees. CareSimply services range from companionship to Alzheimer's care. CareSimply is backed by seed investor Right Side Capital Management and start-up foundry Sandbox Industries.