Ten Tips For Choosing a Caregiver for the Elderly

An estimated 9 to 11 million Americans are in need of daily living assistance, which means that one out of every four households is caring for an elderly relative age 55 and up. With one baby boomer turning 55 every 7 seconds, more and more American families are facing the challenge of how to best care for an elderly loved one. Oftentimes families need help.

Selecting the right caregiver for your elderly relative can make a huge difference in his or her daily life. It will also give you peace of mind, knowing that your loved one is in good hands. Here are ten tips for choosing a caregiver, offered by leading senior homecare provider, Visiting Angels (www.visitingangels.com). With over 200 locations nationwide, Visiting Angels has provided thousands of families with excellent care for over a decade.

1. Determine what type of care is needed. For example, does the person require home healthcare services, such as physical therapy, hospice care or medication management? Or, do they need non-medical homecare, such as the services provided by Visiting Angels, including hygiene assistance and meal preparation? Could they use help with household cleaning, laundry, errands and shopping? Or, are they simply in need of a companion to drive them to their social or religious activities?

2. Identify the pool from which you can find a potential caregiver. A prospective caregiver might be a family member, a neighbor or someone you hire from an agency. Determine his or her role, tasks and work schedule.

3. Make sure a paid caregiver is licensed. When looking at paid professional caregivers, whether you find them through a newspaper ad, your church community or an agency, find out if they are licensed. Geriatric care mangers are excellent referral sources when searching for licensed caregivers in your area.

4. Prepare a list of questions to ask. Have a list for any applicant, agency, referral source or reference you may call during your search.

5. Draw up a job contract. This document should clarify the duties that the caregiver will perform, and state the wages and fees that will be involved.

6. Set up a regular maintenance schedule to monitor the quality of the care. This could be personal contact with the caregiver, regular home visits with the senior and recurring feedback on the caregiver and the agency.

7. Select a caregiver with specific experience. You should choose someone who has a solid background in the areas in which they will need to be of assistance to the senior.

8. Call references and check work history. Checking up on reliability and work history will ensure that the caregiver you select will be dependable and able to perform their duties.

9. Make sure a criminal background check has been done. If you are hiring from an agency, confirm that they do criminal background checks on all of their employees.

10. Ask to interview the caregiver yourself. Often, someone who sounds great on paper may not be the right fit for your elderly loved one. Only a face-to-face meeting can tell you if the match will be a good one. Both you and the senior should meet the caregiver in person, and ideally, interview several applicants before making a final choice.

For more information on Visiting Angels, or to find one in your area, please call 1-800-365-4189 or on the web at www.visitingangels.com.

Media inquiries:

For all media inquiries, or to speak with your local Visiting Angels franchise, please contact Kristen Scudder at 610-642-8253 or kristen@gregoryfca.com.