According to an AARP survey, about 90 percent of American seniors want to live in their own homes as long as possible. Known as “aging in place,” it’s no surprise that most seniors would much prefer living in their own homes as opposed to facility care. Unfortunately, physical or cognitive issues can often make this a difficult option.
Family members who fully understand the benefits associated with aging in place—a sense of independence, better health outcomes, and the comfort that only “home” can provide—may consider an in-home caregiver for their elderly loved one.
Your loved one might benefit from an in-home caregiver for medical needs as well as with assistance in light housekeeping, routine errands, and other daily living activities. Once you have made the decision to hire a caregiver, it is important that you understand how to choose the best in-home caregiver for your elderly loved one.
Assess Your Loved One’s Home-Care Needs
You will want to evaluate what level of help your loved one could benefit from. He or she could require home health care, including medication management or physical therapy, non-medical personal care such as assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting and meal preparation, or with items such as bill-paying, errands, housekeeping, and shopping—or a combination of these. Take the time to sit down and write out a job description based on the specific needs of your loved one.
If health care training is needed, specify what level and what type. If driving, operating special equipment, or lifting the senior is required, these requirements should be clearly stated. Use your list of requirements to develop a job contract which includes wages, hours of work, employee’s Social Security number, the overall job description, any unacceptable behaviors (smoking, abusive language, etc.), and issues related to termination (including how much notice, reasons for termination, etc.).
Where Do You Find an In-Home Caregiver?
There may be neighbors or friends who would be good prospective caregivers. If you or your loved one belongs to a church, you could ask your pastor for a list of prospective caregivers. While it is certainly acceptable to use these avenues to find an in-home caregiver, always remember that hiring, managing, and potentially firing a caregiver are business decisions. If you would be unable to discuss issues with the caregiver—or fire him or her if necessary—then it is better to go through an agency, which also has its own pros and cons.
Conduct a Comprehensive Interview
Once you have a list of interested prospects, screen the applicants on the telephone, then prepare to interview in person the ones who make it past the telephone interview. Make sure you have a full list of questions to ask each interviewee. It can be helpful to have another family member sit in on the interview to provide a second opinion. Once you have narrowed your list, always check the references of each applicant carefully and obtain a criminal background check on each individual. If you choose to go through an agency, make sure the agency also screens carefully, with thorough background checks on each individual.
Monitor the Caregiver
Once you have hired an in-home caregiver for your loved one, it is important to monitor the caregiver by making personal contact with the caretaker on a regular basis, conducting regular home visits, and getting periodic reports from the caregiver, your loved one, and the agency, if an agency is involved. Always have a backup plan in case the caregiver you hired does not work out, and always watch for any signs of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
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With a deep understanding of how hard you have worked to get where you are, our goal is to help you protect your legacy, provide for generations, and take care of your loved ones in the best way possible. In short, our team at Family Estate Planning Law Group wants to give you peace of mind, and one way we accomplish that is through our ongoing client care program. Browse our website, explore our blog, and schedule your complimentary consultation today.