Many seniors want to stay in their family home for as long as possible (and can you blame them?). Home is a symbol of independence, a treasure trove full of beautiful memories, and provides the comfort and privacy that you just can’t find in a nursing home.
However, just because your loved one wants to live at home doesn’t mean that they can do it on their own. Many times in home care is needed and that in itself can be a difficult journey.
Assuming you hire through a home care agency, here are 10 questions that you should ask before your hire a home caregiver:
1. What services are you willing to provide? – Are you willing to do housekeeping, shopping, cooking, or transport the patient to doctor’s appointments?
2. Can you address my loved one’s specific medical needs? - If your loved one is in the early stages of dementia, has high blood pressure, is diabetic, or is obese, can the potential caregiver address these issues properly?
3. How many days/hours would you like to work? – Some agencies require a minimum number of hours to be worked per shift. Will your caregiver work weekends and holidays? If you need around the clock care, are they able to work these long hours?
4. How does the agency bill clients? - Is it a flat rate per week or do they charge hourly? Is there an early termination fee? Are you required to pay a deposit? Ask for the costs in writing before signing any forms.
5. How long has the agency been in business? – Check the Better Business Bureau to research the integrity of the company. How do they screen and hire caregivers?
6. What training and experience do you have? – How long has the caregiver been in this field? How many patientshave they cared for? If they are providing transportation, what does their driving record look like? Are they fingerprinted and was a background check performed when they were hired by the agency?
7. How many caregivers work for the agency? – If you don’t like the one the agency sends you, can you request a different one? If your caregiver is sick or takes a vacation, will they send over another one in her absence?
8. **Is the agency bonded, licensed, and insured?** – If anything happens, is the agency reputable and able to cover the costs? Ask to see copies of these documents or better yet, ask for your own copies to keep with the forms that you sign for your own safekeeping.
9. How would you describe your personality? – No, this isn’t a dating service but your loved one will possibly be spending a lot of time with this person. Are they open, friendly, gentle, compassionate, etc.? Would your loved one be intimidated by them?
10. Would you agree to a trial period? How long are you planning on staying on the job? Would you give a two week notice before resigning? – Change is hard on everyone. Ask the awkward questions now to avoid problems later.