Hiring a Caregiver for a Loved One with Dementia

Dementia can immensely alter a person’s brain function, which makes it challenging for them to navigate life. Older adults could get lost or put themselves in an accident without supervision. As a loved one, you must be extra patient with them, especially when their condition affects your schedule. They’ll need your love and care during such tumultuous times to ensure their safety. However, it’s understandable if you can’t handle the responsibility alone. Taking care of a dementia patient is difficult if you have a family of your own. A substitute would be an excellent idea, whether a relative or a hired person.

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Trusting a stranger to care for your loved one might make you hesitant, but you must believe in their skills. Caregivers are trained to provide the best care service for their clients. They are known for their incredible patience and ability to handle stressful situations. It’s also reassuring when the caregiver always stays by your loved one’s side. Caregivers can ease your worries with their dedication to providing a comfortable life for those with dementia.

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How Do I find a Senior Caregiver?

Being a caregiver is already an established occupation, so you can quickly find one in your area. You can either hire through a healthcare service or choose the person yourself. It will also help if you opt for referrals so you can be informed about their work ethics. It would be best to lay out the caregiver credentials you need. This way, you are assured they have sufficient experience and knowledge about the position. It’s best if the person you asked for a referral is someone you trust entirely as well.

Aside from word of mouth and agencies, utilize the advantages offered by the internet. Social media is a form of identification and an easier way to reach out to a possible candidate. There are Facebook pages where you can post a hiring ad that contains the full job description. Turn on your notifications, as potential caregivers will comment on your post or send you a private message. Besides social media, you can find a caregiver through job posting sites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, myCNAJobs, and more.

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How Do I Hire a Senior Caregiver?

Before you choose a candidate, you must have a strict hiring process. The senior caregiver will be entrusted with your loved one’s life — it’s only right to select the best. For this reason, you need a clear job description so the applicant can confidently apply for the position. The type of caregiver work must be indicated in your hiring post or ad. You could choose from the following:

  • In-home caregivers
  • Private duty caregivers
  • Informal caregivers
  • Professional caregivers
  • Independent caregivers

Moreover, it would help if you were transparent about payment, working hours, living arrangements, and benefits. If you are hiring independently, it’s best to offer a flexible salary that equates to their work experience. You can refer to other senior caregiver job posts to see how they offer rates to their applicants. After receiving job applications, you can proceed to multiple interviews and trial periods. You need to weigh out your options and filter all candidates. Others divide the interview into three stages. The initial interview would be through a phone call, and once they meet the requirements, you can invite them over for a personal interview. If you are finally down to two applicants, the last part of the process is a meeting with the senior client.

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Through the hiring process, you get to observe how they work and how they treat your elderly loved one. You get to see if they have a system, a genuine caring nature, and if their personality is approved more than their credentials. The trial period could last up to two weeks or once you’ve found all the best qualities in your candidates. At the end of the hiring process, a well-detailed employee contract should be provided to officially seal the agreement between the employee and employer.

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What Should I Ask a Caregiver Before Hiring Them?

List several questions you need to know about the caregiver that need to be indicated in their resume. Remember that they’ll be spending most of their time with the elderly, so you need to assess their personality. You could also search for questions on the internet if you are still trying to figure out what to ask. It’s also important to remember that the questions should be less personal and more professional. For reference, you can include some of these questions before hiring a senior caregiver.

  • What motivated you to become a caregiver?
  • Are you sufficiently trained to aid an elderly person’s needs?
  • Are you quiet or talkative?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • How do you communicate a the client and family members?
  • How do you work under stress?
  • Have you cooked for a client, and what meals do you frequently serve them?

How to Train a Caregiver?

A caregiver is expected to be well-rounded due to the amount of responsibility passed on to them. They should possess many of the following qualities:

  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Dignifying Composure
  • Patience
  • Self-Awareness
  • Creativity and Common Sense
  • Sense of Appropriate Humor
  • Diplomacy
  • Kind & Giving Nature
  • Positive Attitude

If they apply these qualities in every task, then your elderly family member is in safe hands. You also need to train your caregiver to handle the client properly. Dementia patients differ, and you must orient your caregiver about the client’s behavior. They need to know if the patient tends to get physically or verbally aggressive. This way, the caregiver is prepared to carefully manage any issue. Furthermore, it would be best to teach the caregiver about your daily routine at home. Provide them with special instructions, especially regarding the client’s diet, medications, sanitation, and other significant details about their health.

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It is also essential to know if they have excellent skills in household work and are knowledgeable about first aid and medical training. But if you hire a caregiver from an agency or healthcare service, you don’t have to worry too much about proper training. Most caregivers have gone through training such as:

  • CPR/First Aid/Medical Training
  • Hands on/Client Specific Training
  • Dementia/Alzheimer’s Training
  • C.N.A Training

How Do You Manage a Caregiver?

Like other employees, your caregiver must work on a schedule. There should be a time-in and time-out system so you can accurately record their attendance. It could be a timesheet or an automated system that you can use as a reference when billing their hours. Ensure that there’s honesty and clear communication between you and the caregiver.

Moreover, always remind the caregiver to give you a call whenever they are unable to work. Employers should be informed about it the day before or early in the morning. This is vital mainly when the client needs significant assistance, like if they are bedridden or have lost mobility in one side of the body. Informing the client can help the family call for a substitute or a relative available at the moment. For this reason, the senior caregiver and the family members must have accessible communication lines. Nowadays, you can quickly send a message or take a call via smartphones or social media accounts.

Photo: Unsplash/Laurynas Mereckas

If you are out of town or busy with your career, you can observe the caregiver’s performance with a daily checklist. It also adds the assurance that they have been attending to all your loved one’s needs and are completely nurtured by the caregiver. You could also ask about specific issues based on the checklist and your caregiver’s daily report. It’s best to discuss specific matters to create a safe and healthy environment for everyone. You might also get along with the caregiver, but it’s advisable to have existing boundaries.

How Do I Apply For a Caregiver?

You’ll go through a process when you ask for an agency or healthcare service to assist you with finding a caregiver. Nowadays, agencies have websites or social media pages where you can easily reach them. Sometimes, they’ll post frequently asked questions, mainly about applying for a caregiver. You could directly speak to their administration as a walk-in if you have one nearby. Reach out through the contact information on their website or social media pages. Ensure you list all your inquiries and vital details while discussing applications with them. Sufficient information will help them quickly find the perfect caregiver for your loved one. Most importantly, you must clarify the type of senior caregiver you are looking for.

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Who Pays For a Caregiver?

Caregivers are often hired and paid by families with a loved one incapable of maneuvering their daily life. Insurance can also sometimes cover the cost of a caregiver, and government assistance programs may as well.

Families pay them as household employees, especially when hired independently. You are also expected to manage taxes, but you could hire a local C.P.A. to file documents if you can’t squeeze it into your daily schedule. But if the caregiver is associated with an agency, the family can opt for a payment method preferred by the institution. The agency is responsible for billing their working hours based on their records. You won’t have to worry about taxes because it will be handled by the agency as well.

Keep in mind the things you need to consider before hiring a senior caregiver. You have to carefully think of the situation if you are hiring without an agency. Do you have enough funds to cover their salary? How long would you need their assistance? It would be best if you also considered the decision of other family members. As long as their suggestion is with the best intentions, listening to them would be worth it. Above all, your loved one with dementia is the priority — choose the option that could provide them with a comfortable senior life.

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