If you have an aging relative who is living independently, chances are the time will arrive when they find they just can’t handle all of their responsibilities on their own anymore. However, this does not necessarily mean your loved one needs to either move in with you or into an assisted living facility. Sometimes the perfect solution to help your relative maintain their independence is to hire an in-home health care provider. These providers can help with regular household maintenance, transportation, personal care, and health care needs.
Your loved one may feel nervous about allowing a stranger into their home, and you may as well. Therefore, you want to be sure you are hiring an individual you can trust. The best place to start is with your own network of friends and family, as recommendations from people you know personally are quite valuable. It is also advisable to check with your family physician and your insurance company regarding options and referrals to caregiver agencies.
Before you begin the hiring process, it is important to understand the different types of in-home services, which are:
1) Companion services, in which the assistant helps with general supervision and recreational activities.
2) Homemaker services, in which the assistant helps with housekeeping, shopping, and/or preparing meals.
3) Personal care services, such as assisting with eating, dressing, bathing, restroom use, and/or exercise.
4) Professional care services, which includes giving injections, dressing wounds, and assisting with other medical needs.
It is important to place a lot of time and energy into the hiring process so you can feel sure you have hired the best possible candidate, and therefore it is highly recommended that you interview several candidates in person before making a selection. Those you interview should clearly understand the specifics of the tasks needed, and let you know they are comfortable performing those tasks.
If you think you have found a good match, be sure to check all of their references carefully, as well as inquiring about any unexplained gaps in their reference history. If you are hiring through an agency, many will freely provide you with background checks on their staff. If they do not, it would not be out of line for you to conduct one on your own. Finally, don’t be afraid to say no to any candidate if they don’t feel like a good fit for your family’s needs. Trust your instincts.