One of the most difficult decisions a child will have to make in his or her lifetime is what to do with a parent or parents when the child is unable to care for the elderly him or herself. If you are at the point where you can no longer provide your parent with the care he or she needs and deserves, you may decide to hire someone to care for your loved one in his or her own home. Many people make this decision, and thanks to free home healthcare services, it is not impossible.
Once you have made the decision to hire someone to come in and care for your parent, you still need to make the decision about whom to hire. This decision may be more difficult to make than the last, as you need to find someone who is patient, trustworthy, kind, and qualified to care for your loved one’s unique health conditions. The following tips will help guide you in the right direction:
Know the Pros and Cons of Using an Agency Versus a Registry
Agencies are typically the safer way to go, as workers are prescreened and experienced, backup care is always available, and little paperwork is required. However, agencies are expensive and they offer little room for negotiation when it comes to hours. Additionally, when an agency assigns a worker, you are stuck with that worker unless something drastic occurs, even if that worker does not mesh well with your family or loved one.
Local and state registries, on the other hand, yield caregivers with much more flexibility, and much more reasonable rates. Individuals are also subject to your rules, not the agency’s, and you can let a person go if he or she is not a good fit. That said, it can take a significant amount of time to find a trustworthy caregiver who meets all of your requirements. Once you do hire a person, you are responsible for taking care of all the paperwork, training, and protections.
Know Your Budget
Depending on how many hours of care your loved one requires, your budget may automatically rule out an agency. As mentioned above, individuals are far cheaper and are willing to work more hours for less than agency-employed individuals. If ongoing care is necessary, you may need to talk to your loved one about cashing in on a life insurance policy, selling the home, or getting a reverse mortgage.
Ask for Referrals
If you do go the individual route, ask around for referrals from friends, acquaintances, and other family members. Also seek referrals from medical staff, your religious community, and senior organizations. Check with online organizations, scan online and newspaper classified ads, and, if necessary, employ the help of an employment agency that specializes in in-home caregivers.
Identify the Right Caregiver
You can narrow down your options quickly by identifying caregivers who meet your scheduling and financial needs. Before hosting interviews, devise a checklist of personality traits and skills you would like the ideal caregiver to possess. Bear in mind that even if someone meets all your paper requirements, he or she may not be the best person for the job. Use your instincts to rule out those you do not feel good about and to identify those who you feel might be the perfect match, even if they do not meet all the requirements. Finally, do not forego a background check on the person you plan to hire, as, if anything, it can provide you with peace of mind.
Selecting the right caregiver for an elderly parent can be a difficult chore, but with the right help and resources, you can identify the right caregiver in no time. At United Energy Workers Healthcare and Four Corners Health Care, we offer healthcare services to DOL EEOICPA and RECA beneficiaries. Reach out to us today for more information.