This Fall, my son will be turning 6 and my daughter will be turning 3.  Yet it seems like only yesterday I was struggling with the fear, anxiety and guilt of placing my 3-month old son in the hands of a caregiver while I went back to work full-time.  Questions ran through my mind, how would my son’s caregiver learn all the in’s and out’s of his daily routine?  How would my son react to suddenly being taken care of by someone other than me?  These same questions and feelings are what family members have shared with me time and time again when looking to hire a private caregiver for their loved one.  What helped ease my anxiety, fear and guilt is reminding myself the hard work I put into researching and finding the right caregiver for my son.  I asked a myriad of questions when interviewing her to make sure this would be the right fit for both him and for our family.

Here are 5 questions I recommend you ask when interviewing a caregiver for your loved one:

  1. First, ask the caregiver to bring a resume or job history as well as names and telephone numbers for at least two references. If your loved one is able, have them participate in the interview or at least have the opportunity to meet the caregiver you would like to hire.
  2. Explain your loved one’s needs, health concerns, likes and dislikes. Be clear about the duties you expect the caregiver to perform.  Ask questions that will help you determine if this person is a good match for the job – and for your loved one.  For example, if one of the duties you would like the caregiver to perform is preparing meals for your loved one make sure the caregiver is comfortable with cooking and performing this task.
  3. Ask if they have any special training or a history of working with other clients who have dementia or a similar condition to your loved one. Ask about work history, the nature of their former client’s needs as well as why they left their former job.
  4. Ask about their expectations of this position and why they enjoy working in the home care field.
  5. Lastly, invite the caregiver to ask you questions about the job and what your expectations are. Be clear about salary and benefits, such as vacation and other time off.  Being clear about this now will avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

I can now say after almost 6 years of my caregiver taking care of both my children, she has become much more than a caregiver.  She is now an intricate part of my family and ours with her family as well.  While at work, I never have any worries or anxieties because I know she takes care of my children as if they were her own.  I wish you the same experience on your journey to finding the right caregiver for your loved one.

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