Courtesy of Caring People Inc.
Many seniors are adamantly opposed to nursing homes or assisted living facilities, and yet some help will be required for them to remain at home. Entrusting your loved one to a caregiver is a big step, and must be undertaken with informed caution. While you may feel anxious about handing over the care of your family member to a stranger, using these 5 steps to guide your decisions when hiring a caregiver can give you confidence throughout the process.
1) Credentials – When hiring a caregiver, always examine the candidate’s credentials.
Ask for proof of relevant training, certifications, and experience. Are they Red Cross certified in CPR and First Aid? Are they trained to handle medications?
In some states, in-home caregivers may be required to hold certain licenses and/or certifications. Check with your county and state regulatory agencies for their requirements. Be sure to review any relevant documentation with the caregiver or agency.
What are the needs of your loved one? Is the candidate able and willing to provide for these needs, even though some may not necessarily be medical-related? Evaluate the values and preferences of your loved one. He or she may be more comfortable with a caregiver who shares his or her cultural background and/or language.
Your loved one may also have a preference between a male or female caregiver, especially if personal care is required.
2 ) References – Always ask for more references than those offered by the caregiver, and speak with everyone.
Listen for complaints, comments, and also any subtle hesitancy to answer questions regarding the candidate. Ask about tenure and relational skills. The in-home caregiver will become part of your family in a very real sense, so do not rush this part of the process.
3) Background Checks – Those candidates who provide the required credentials and positive references should then submit to a background investigation by a reputable agency.
While the professionals perform their due diligence, do some searching of your own. Look up the individual on social media sites and do a Google search of their name. Social media can be an illuminating window into the real person under consideration.
When hiring a caregiver for your loved one, leave no stone unturned.
4) Legal Matters – Contracts must detail employment terms including, but not limited to, duties, privileges, compensation and benefits, time off, performance reviews, requirements for transportation and mileage reimbursement, notices and severance issues, and confidentiality.
Many problems can be avoided by compiling a clear contract.
5) Finances & Taxes – The difference between an employee and an independent contractor depends on control in the workplace.
Before hiring a caregiver, determine with the caregiver how they will be treated for employment and tax purposes. Do not consider hiding your in-home caregiver expenses for tax purposes. Paying a caregiver under the table is against federal law and can have serious consequences.
Hiring a caregiver for your loved one is a sensitive process that should not be rushed; but neither should it be feared. Follow these 5 guidelines, take your time, and make solid decisions. You, and your loved one, will be glad you did.