Here are 10 tips for choosing an in-home caregiver:
1. Assess Home-Care Needs: Evaluate the help that is needed in the areas of health care, personal care and household care.
2. Write a Job Description: Write out a job description based on the help that is needed.
3. Develop a Contract: The job contract is based on the job description and should include: Wages, Hours of Work, Employee’s Social Security number (because you must report wages paid to the caregiver to the Internal Revenue Service), and job description.
4. Where to Find a Caregiver: Identify the pool from which you can find a caregiver. You may have neighbors or friends who would be good prospective caregivers. If you belong to a church, ask your pastor or minister for prospects. Family members are ok, but first and foremost, hiring, managing and firing a caregiver are all business decisions, and for that reason, many family members don’t make good paid help.
Hire a professional caregiver if you can afford it. Don’t waste time looking in places where you won’t find someone suitable for you.
5. Prepare for the Interview: Prepare a list of questions to ask. Have a list for any applicant, caregiver agency, referral source or reference you may call during your search.
6. Interview Applicants: After you have screened applicants on the telephone, you should interview in person those who sound acceptable.
7. Check References: It is important to check references carefully, talking to everyone who is given as a reference.
8. Get a Criminal Background Check.
9. Hire Slow, Fire Fast: You want to hire a caregiver who has experience in the specific areas in which you need help. People who have Alzheimer’s disease often need help with toileting and bathing, for example, so look for someone who has experience in working with elders with this illness.
10. Monitor: Set up a schedule to monitor the quality of the services the caregiver provides. This is especially important for family members. Consider hiring an independent geriatric care manager to monitor if you are unable to do it yourself. Have a backup plan in case the caregiver or the agency fails to follow through or problems arise. Watch for signs of abuse, neglect and exploitation and report suspicious activity to the agency and state authorities.
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