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Success Tips After Hiring an In Home Caregiver

1. Consistency: Use a licensed agency – licensed agencies in your state will require fingerprinting, workers compensation and liability coverage to keep your loved one safe.

2. Suggest to the In-home care agency to schedule the same caregiver at the same time each week. Keeping to a schedule is the key to bonding. Try not to ask the agency to change hours or times weekly. This could cause a caregiver staffing change.

Try to hire a caregiver for at least 30 hours a week. Less than 30 hours may not give the caregiver enough hours and they may find work elsewhere. Full time employment is best for less turnover.

Ask the caregiver or agency to have the caregiver sign for permission of camera monitoring, whether you have them or not.

3. If your loved one has a “bad feeling” or does not like the caregiver, let the agency know after the shift to try someone new. Try to give the caregiver a chance for at least 2 to 3 visits, if possible.  Let the agency know your loved one’s likes and dislikes: such as my mom is outgoing and would like someone who talks a lot. Or my dad is quiet and shy and likes someone who listens well and is positive but is not too talkative.

4. The first couple days review a detailed list of job duties you and the caregiver agree upon such as, 

“Can you take out the trash out of the kitchen to the outside bin before you leave?”

Please do the dishes and cook three meals a day. See “mom’s” favorite food list.

Please assist my mom with a puzzle once a day in the morning

Please take my dad on a walk once a day for around 20 minutes

Please turn on his favorite tv show___: at ___ time.

Instruct the caregiver on how to use the remote or leave instructions. If your loved one has favorite foods, list them and then actually show the caregiver how to make them.

For example if your loved one loves fried eggs, fry an egg with the caregiver and show them exactly how your loved ones like it – overdone, a little runny etc. Give showering and bathing tips, review how many times a week your loved likes to bath and make a bathing schedule with suggested times, such as morning or evening.

Post all medications, doctors name, emergency contacts and emergency specifics. Ensure it is visible and legible.

Why is all this important?

There is so much to learn regarding an older adult’s likes and dislikes, and the caregiver often wants to make the older person happy. With tips, schedules and information given ahead of time to the caregiver, the older adult will hopefully appreciate the efforts to get to know them and their preferences.

5. What if the caregiver is provided in an emergency situation with not much time to prepare (such as a hospital discharge)? It is suggested to write down as much as you can and leave the list with the caregiver. Call during the shift to make sure you repeat much of the list. Collaborate on ideas and suggestions to make the caregiving situation as healthy as possible.

6. Do not be afraid to call the management office of the agency for questions. They are there to help with the transition and if it was an emergency placement, a manager may show up the following day to check in with your loved one and call you with a report. Call as much as you need in order to make the transition successful. Ask as many questions as you want and know agencies are here to make your life better – not more complicated!

7. If your loved one has specific requirements such as exact medication reminders that are specific and must be one time – as with parkinsons’ disease, or thyroid medications- buy a timer to remind everyone for each medication reminder time. Set up your loved one’s pills in an easy pill box or have a pharmacy “bubble package” the medications for easy reminders of pill taking times.

Written by Jacqueline DuPont-Carlson, PhD, EdD, Gerontologist

For more questions, please contact an advisor at Assured In Home Care at (800) 925-7159.

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