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Entrusting Your Aging Parent to Someone Else’s Care is a Big Decision

How do you know who the right caregiver is? There are a few steps you can take to help make your selection confidently.

57% of seniors over age 70 do not find it very easy to live alone. Many need assistance with some daily tasks. If your parent is one of them and plans to age in place, it’s time to hire a caregiver. There are several steps to take to ensure your loved one receives the best care. (AARP)

First Steps to Take When Hiring a Caregiver

1. Understand Your Loved One’s Needs

The first thing you need to know is the kind of care your parent needs, and how often. Home care caregivers offer assistance with non-medical activities like bathing, cooking, transportation, or companionship. Create a list of specific activities your parent needs help with.

2. Assess Your Financial Options and Resources

Your finances may affect your caregiver options. Work out a budget for caregiving. Many non-profit and governmental programs offer financial assistance for the care of the elderly as well.

3. Choose an Agency

Many families use a home care agency because of the added security, accountability, and convenience. Consider factors such as how long the agency has been in business, their procedures for documenting and monitoring care, and how they train and hire caregivers.

4. Compile Your Requirements

The final step to take before beginning your caregiver search is compiling your requirements. If possible, create a list together with your loved one who will be receiving care. Include preferences about the caregiver’s gender, age, availability, and more. Mark non-negotiables, like that the caregiver speak a particular language, or have a driver’s license. Use this list to screen potential private caregivers or give it to the agency you select.

 

What to Ask Potential Caregivers

Since you are entrusting a loved one to someone else’s care, you have every right to ask questions and to refuse to hire anyone who doesn’t meet your requirements. Use these questions to get started:

  1. Do you have any licensing or certifications?
  2. What is your home care experience?
  3. Why do you work as a caregiver?
  4. Do you have experience working with certain illnesses/injuries?
  5. How do you protect your health as a caregiver?
  6. Are there caregiving activities you will not perform?
  7. Can you provide a previous client as a reference?
  8. May I speak to your references?

Don’t Forget…

If your parent is capable of making decisions or if other family members are also responsible for a parent’s care, those individuals should be consulted. Schedule times to make final decisions together. Establish processes for clear lines of communication with the agency to ensure visibility into your loved one’s care.

Did you know?

There are more than 65 million people serving as caregivers to the elderly, disabled, or chronically ill in the United States. Some caregivers are unpaid friends or family members. Many, however, are employed as professional caregivers.

(Caregiveraction.org)

Home Care Tip

Remember that, although caregiving is a very personal job, it is a form of professional work. Caregivers should behave like employees and family members should retain the right to hire, fire, and address issues as an employer.

Ted Wolfendale

Administrator at Dial-a-Nurse
Mr. Wolfendale is a graduate of Stetson University, and Stetson University School of Law, and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1988. He is admitted to practice in the Middle district of Florida, is an active member of the Florida Health Law section, and Lee County Bar Association.

In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.

Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.

Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.