The first step in finding the right caregiver is working with a caregiving agency or home care association that guarantees caregivers have clear criminal background checks, clear DMV records, and current/ongoing education and training. However, your loved one’s comfort and ease of being are essential to his/her participation and overall wellbeing when you decide to enlist a caregiver.
Tips for a Caregiver-Client Match Made in Heaven
The best caregiver-client matches take place when the client and caregiver easily form a bond based on their comfort in each other’s’ presence, along with shared interests, hobbies, and past times. The more you do proactively create lists and ideas of who the ideal caregiver would be.
Prospective agencies will be thrilled to review it during your in-home consultations because it’s a great cheat sheet for them to use as they choose potential “best candidates” for the job.
1. Meet with more than one caregiver before making your final selection
Often, families approach caregiving agencies in crisis – the broken hip just happened, the dementia diagnosis made late in the game, etc. – and they need immediate support. Even so, it’s worth taking a bit of extra time to meet with at least two or three different agencies before making your selection.
All of the agencies should offer free consultations, and all should use continuous background checks, DMV reports, and provide proof of continued education/training offered to employees. Even so, each has their own personality or feel, and being able to compare apples-to-apples lends more conviction to your final choice.
Bonus find: see if the caregivers are using current technology – like a web-based home care system. These systems allow access to real-time reports from the caregiver about the client’s wellbeing or temperament that day, services rendered, things that may require attention, etc.
2. Start with the broader categories of needs
Which services are the ones your loved one is looking for? In-home caregivers are humans, and we all have our strengths and weaknesses, right? And, since many caregivers have spouses or families at home – their preferred work days and times are typically prioritized by their household’s calendar and schedule.
· Do you need daytime or nighttime support?
· Part-time or full-time caregiving?
· Is it respite care only?
· Is it mostly for companionship and transportation, or will your parent or spouse require meal preparation and housekeeping, too?
Knowing which caregiving services are the priority will streamline communication with your caregiver agency. Of course, these services and hours will evolve, and that will be taken into the long-term care plan as well.
3. List the client’s favorite hobbies, pastimes, or regularly scheduled events
Does your mother attend religious services on a regular basis? Is your father a sharp card player? Does your loved one enjoy volunteering in the community or getting outdoors on a regular basis? Is there a pet or two that will benefit from attention and daily walks?
The more the agency knows about the things the client enjoys, the better chance they have of pairing your loved one with a caregiver who genuinely enjoys the same things. It’s hard to fake your love of Gin Rummy, and it’s not a good idea to learn a caregiver is allergic to – or afraid of - dogs during the first week on the job. Providing that list of “likes” – and “don’t likes” – helps agencies choose the right caregivers the first time around.
Are you ready to connect your loved one with a caregiver “match made in heaven?” Contact us here at the Washington Home Care Association. We connect people like you with vetted, experienced home care agencies in your area, and we’re the go-to resource for Washington home care agencies looking for employee education, training, connection and advocacy.