Choosing an in-home caregiver is a significant responsibility. When an elderly loved one needs help at home, it’s critical to find the right in-home help.
Most caregivers spend an average of 24.4 hours each week with the person in their care. Many caregivers spend closer to 41 hours caring for a person each week. You need to trust the person spending that much time with your elderly loved one in their home.
How do you find the right home caregiver? Here are seven key questions to ask a caregiver during the interview process.
1. What Are Your Credentials?
If you need a caregiver to provide medical or functional assistance for your senior loved one, make sure you choose someone with the right credentials for those services.
Ask a few questions to determine the qualifications of your caregiver.
- Do you have CPR and first-aid training?
- Do you have formal caregiving training?
- Are you a registered nurse?
- Are you licensed or bonded?
- Do you have a valid driver’s license?
- Are you up to date on your preventive healthcare, including immunizations?
Your home caregiver must be in good health. The elderly are susceptible to illness. It can be more difficult for them to fight off an infection than a younger, healthier adult.
Ask for documentation or contact information to verify all information.
2. Can I Get Your References?
Caregivers for the elderly can have a stellar resume. However, beware of anyone who seems to perfect to be true.
Call references to verify the information a caregiver’s resume. Watch out for inconsistencies between a resume or the interview with the potential caregiver versus the information you receive from a reference.
Be sure also to run a background check. References can tell a different story than a person’s financial or criminal background.
Watch out for caregivers with a history of debt, frequent job changes, or a criminal past that isn’t appropriate for spending time with your loved one in their home.
3. What Are Your Services?
There are a wide range of home care needs, from essential companionship and running errands to more intensive medical assistance.
When hiring a caregiver for in-home help, make sure you confirm that they provide the services you need.
Ask about their experience in these areas:
- Transfer or lifting from the bed to a wheelchair
- Bathing and transferring in and out of a bathtub
- Assistance with dressing
- Help with toileting
- Cleaning or cooking, or
- Driving your loved one to appointments
If your senior loved one needs help with medications, be sure your caregiver can handle those kinds of tasks, too.
Talk with your potential caregiver about your elder’s health conditions. Make sure the caregiver is familiar with the condition and knows how to handle any special needs.
If your loved one needs a combination of these services, find a caregiver or service that can provide everything you need.
4. Do You Take Insurance?
Home care can get expensive. Medicare, Medicaid, or other insurance policies might cover some essential services if prescribed by a doctor.
However, other services like cooking, cleaning, or driving might not fall under your loved one’s insurance policy.
Ask your caregiver if they take insurance for any of their services. Sometimes finding and paying for the best care for your elderly loved one requires a combination of insurance coverage and out-of-pocket expenses.
Don’t get discouraged if insurance doesn’t cover the care your loved one needs. Work with your caregiver or other care providers to develop a payment plan to work within your budget.
5. How Will You Bill Me?
If you’re working with an independent caregiver, work out the billing details ahead of time. This includes how they’ll work with the insurance companies, as well as how they manage out-of-pocket invoicing.
When your caregiver comes from an agency, confirm billing and payment with the account representative for the company—before care begins.
6. Can You Get Along with My Loved One?
This might not be the way you’ll want to phrase these questions to ask a caregiver. However, we want to emphasize the importance of a good personality match between your loved one and their caregiver.
You know your loved one’s personality. Are they stubborn? Does your loved one struggle accepting that they need help? Do they struggle with symptoms of dementia?
Your caregiver will spend a significant amount of time with your loved one. The caregiver must roll with your loved one’s personality to create a caring environment.
Sometimes home care is a discouraging situation for our aging generations. It can feel like a loss of dignity to need someone to help with bathing, changing clothes, or using the bathroom.
A caregiver should do these tasks for your loved one in a way that builds trust and offers kindness and understanding. Make sure the caregiver you choose is a good personality match for your senior loved one.
7. How Do You Handle Emergencies or Absences?
We hope it never happens, but sometimes emergencies come up. With elder care, emergencies can happen often.
Make sure your caregiver has a plan for emergencies while your loved one is in their care during the day, or in the evening. Set up an emergency contact for them to reach you 24-hours a day, if necessary. Document a plan to cal 911 or get immediate help for your loved one in an emergency.
Your loved one needs care every day. Confirm with your caregiver how they handle personal time-off or last-minute absences.
Your caregiver should have a plan to make sure your loved one isn’t left without care if they can’t be with them—whether it’s a planned or unplanned absence.
Ask the Right Questions to Find the Right Caregiver
There are plenty of caregivers to choose from, but only a few will be a good fit for your elderly loved one.
Take the time for a thorough screening process when choosing someone to care for your aging loved one.
If you found this article helpful, be sure you check out more of our blog posts!