How to Choose a Home Care Aide for Your Parent

Author: Robert Jo

The key to finding the right home care agency is knowing the level of care needed by your parent. There are essentially two categories of in-home care: custodial care and skilled care. Custodial care includes help with shopping, housekeeping, preparing meals, and even personal care like dressing, feeding and bathing. Skilled care, on the other hand, provides for the medical needs of the senior. Some agencies offer only one type of care while others have both.

Here are some tips for choosing a home care provider for your parent:

  • Assess your loved one’s home care needs. You need to thoroughly evaluate what kind of help is needed by your parent when it comes to their health care, household care and personal care. Do they need help with home health care like managing their medications or physical therapy? Do they need non-medical related care such as toileting, meal preparation, dressing and bathing? Or perhaps your loved one only needs a sitter or companion?
  • Create a job description. After you have evaluated your loved one’s needs, it’s time to write a job description which will help you identify the most suitable candidates for the job. If you’re going to a senior care agency, the job description will also help them in choosing the right caregiver for your parent.
  • Have a job contract. Your in home care agency should be able to draft a contract but it’s important to make sure all the pertinent details are included. This includes the cost/wages, hours of work, the job description, rules, reasons for termination, notice of termination, and signatures of the parties involved. Your contract will serve as your protection in case things do not work out well between any of the parties involved.
  • Look for prospective elderly care providers. You can ask around – friends, neighbors or even the people you work with – may be able to point you to a few good agencies or they may know of a caregiver personally. You can also check online for reputable agencies. On a related note, if your elderly loved one requires special care, such as if they are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you should also see to it that the caregivers you are considering have the proper training and experience in dealing with patients who have these conditions.
  • Prepare for the interview. Once you have found an agency that employs home health aides, it’s time to prepare for the interview. You need to have a list of questions to ask, not only the caregivers but also the agency itself. Ask how long they have been in the business, if their caregivers are bonded, if they are licensed, and what kind of training the home care providers have undergone. Pick an agency that is very helpful in answering your questions. Avoid those who appear too busy to answer your questions as well as those that do not provide satisfactory answers.

    When interviewing the caregiver applicants, always make it a point to observe their demeanor and personality. Invite a family member to join in the interview so you can get a second opinion. If possible, you also need to observe the interactions between the caregiver and the person who is needing elderly care.

    Keep in mind that a lot of agency workers look good on paper but may not really be qualified to provide care to the elderly. You need to look past their resumes and you should really do your best to find out as much about them and their personality before you decide who will care for your aging parent.
  • Run a background check and see references. This should be mandatory. You should also check if they have any records of alcohol or drug use, if they have offenses that present a safety risk, and if they have a driver’s license. Finally, hire thoughtfully. Find out as much as you can about the agency and the caregiver. You want the best possible care for your parent and this starts by giving him or her a caregiver who is experienced and trained to provide the services required, someone who is compassionate, understanding and patient, and someone you can trust to look after your parent when you’re not around.

Find out how the caregivers at Home Helpers of San Ramon can help provide the best possible quality of life at home for your loved one – contact us to schedule your free in-home consultation today.

Home Helpers of San Ramon is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, Alzheimer's & dementia care as well as homemaker services in San Ramon, Danville, Diablo, Moraga, Pleasanton, Castro Valley, Sunol, and Dublin.



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