Taking care of a senior family member isn’t easy, and in many situations, it isn’t possible for an adult child to manage a parent’s care and stay employed full-time. The financial and emotional stress involved in juggling these responsibilities has led to family turmoil and frustration, and unfortunately even growing rates of elder abuse. It’s a problem no one wants to talk about.
It’s essential to face reality to ensure safe and healthy treatment of our oldest generations. Hiring an in-home caregiver has numerous benefits, but sometimes it’s simply the best choice for everyone involved.
Few caregivers would be a perfect fit for every situation. Patients all have distinct needs. Workers all have unique qualities. Hiring a caregiver through an agency helps you quickly match your parent to people with the right characteristics to do the job well.
Whether or not you use the support of a hiring organization, it’s important to ask a few questions before taking someone on. Try the following to assess whether a caregiver would be a good fit:
Put together a comprehensive list of expected responsibilities. Present the potential caregiver with this list early on. Doing so ensures the job is a good fit and prevents hard feelings later on.
A common complaint of adult children centers on caregivers who spend no time interacting with their parents. Instead of playing cards or talking together, the worker might put headphones on and listen to music while waiting until asked for help. It’s frustrating for clients who assumed care would include enrichment.
Other common points of concern include:
This is a good chance to explain what you need and also a good chance to get feedback. If every caregiver you speak with says they’re uncomfortable with a task, for instance, that’s a good sign you’re being unreasonable. In other situations, you might find out what you’re asking falls outside the care they can legally provide or safely provide without proper equipment.
In the age of Instagram, not everyone wants to be in the movies. Recording the wrong thing without consent, and you could be at risk of a lawsuit. Still, it’s important to keep tabs on your parent’s care and have safeguards against mistreatment.
Cover technicalities of monitoring too. Make sure potential caregivers know moving or blocking cameras or tampering with monitoring devices is grounds for dismissal.
In addition, it’s essential that you run a background check and put measures in place to prevent other types of abuse. Consider having your caregiver sign an agreement stating they won’t accept money or gifts from an elderly client without your approval. It’s not as extreme as it sounds.
Elder abuse is on the rise in the U.S., with financial abuse is at the forefront. Foreign scammers aren’t the biggest problem. Some seniors will gladly spend through a fortune just to feel appreciated. It takes a certain type of person to keep temptation at bay. Having an agreement in place can help.
Situational questions focused on challenges you’ve already faced are a wonderful tool for gauging whether someone has the skills for the job. Caregiving centers on forming bonds and connecting with clients. It takes understanding and patience delivered in a way that works for the patient.
It will also let you know how much a caregiver knows about a condition. Anyone can say they’ve dealt with dementia, but if you ask a relevant question and the interviewer is too bashful to muster an answer, it’s not a good fit.
Unfortunately, people lie in order to get hired. They’re desperate, and they tell themselves they’ll figure things out. You can’t take the risk, so ask the kinds of questions to prove they really do have experience. Your parent is too vulnerable to allow a helper to learn everything on the job.
It’s very easy for clients to see the caregiving relationship from one point of view, but there will be at least two people interacting who have their own needs. Workers enter in-home situations with their own expectations. An interview is the best time to address these issues.
It’s also a good opportunity for you to establish a rapport. Your parent’s caregiver should feel welcome to come to you with harsh truths. Why? Problems will occur. The more approachable you are, the faster your parent will receive the help needed.
A good place to start is asking a potential provider to assess your parent’s home situation. What would be the ideal solution based on what they know? Do they see any potential pitfalls? How will they inform you if your parent’s issues start getting worse?
More importantly, how would they prefer you bring up issues you have with their performance? Would they like a quarterly or yearly review or would they like you to only bring problems up as needed? How do they intend to address problems with you? How someone reacts to these kinds of questions tells you a lot!
If you’re overwhelmed by taking care of senior family member on your own, help is just a phone call away. Call our Celestial Care team at 602.375.8880 to find a reliable caregiver and to learn more about what goes into our stringent hiring process.