When an aging loved one requires specialized one-on-one care, then it’s best to hire a professional caregiver. If you are deciding against a 24-hour facility and looking for a live in caregiver for elderly family members, then we’re here to help.
Usually, relatives and family members of aging patients decide on a nursing home or a full-time care facility. They decide against home care, thinking that it’s inappropriate for their situations or a caregiver won’t be able to provide the best care. They overlook the advantages of hiring a live in caregiver as well as the benefits of senior care at the home of the patient.
When Is A Live-In Caregiver The Right Choice?
Families looking for private caregivers consider the many benefits of caregivers for seniors. An in-house professional caregiver will be available to cater to all the personal and medical needs of an elderly patient. He will be the best choice for seniors who need constant care when it comes to ambulation, nutrition, medication, and all-around care.
A live-in caregiver will visit a senior’s home and care for him in a familiar environment, and this helps reduce anxiety and feelings of depression in the elderly. Also, a live-in caregiver can provide extended services for their elderly clients. Services like housekeeping, bookkeeping, and more are usually included in a live-in caregiver’s contract.
If your elderly parent or relative is suffering from conditions like dementia or sundowner’s syndrome, where feelings of anxiety are more prevalent at night time, an in-house caregiver is better. He can stay even during at night to provide necessary care and security for the elderly with these conditions. And because the elderly patient is being cared for at his own home, he is more likely to feel relaxed than being in a strange hospital or senior care facility.
In short, a live-in caregiver will be able to keep a watchful eye on an elderly patient in his own home. This eliminates accidents and injuries and ensures that the patient is well cared for in all aspects.
What care can a Live-In Caregiver provide?
Let’s take a closer look at what actual care you should expect from a live-in caregiver.
- Assistance with daily needs
A live-in caregiver can take care of seniors who are still capable of performing their daily routines and needs but will make sure that their clients are doing things safely and in a more efficient manner. For instance, a senior patient can bathe on her own, and a caregiver ensures that the bathroom is safe for her client to remain in.
Seniors who love to get around, shop or socialize will still need a caregiver to make sure that she takes her medications, will monitor her blood pressure, blood sugar and other medical monitoring for the day and will also consider the safety when moving about (using a wheelchair, a scooter or other mobility aids).
- Basic household chores
A senior who’s unable to perform simple household chores may depend on a live-in caregiver for help. This may include doing the dishes, changing linens, and shopping for their medications and basic needs.
- Accidents and injury prevention
Caregivers should also asses the client’s home when it comes to accident prevention. The caregiver should inform her client or the client’s family of any needed safety upgrades like adding safe bathroom mats, toilet and shower handles, using correct beds, additional lighting, and more.
- Health and medical monitoring
Caregivers for seniors are trained to provide basic medical care, and this includes the knowledge and skills for medical monitoring. She will take blood pressure, temperature, and blood sugar readings of her client if necessary. She will get needed monitoring data before certain medications are given and afterward. She will also report any changes or any improvement to the client’s doctor. She will also keep a record of her monitoring.
- Peace of mind for the client and his/her family members
Having a trusted live-in caregiver for an elderly family member puts the family’s mind at ease. They know that they have a capable and compassionate work to help their elderly family member. Also, there’s nothing far better than the client/patient feeling at ease over his caregiver. Having these feelings can help boost positivity, enhance the health and overall well-being of the elderly patient.
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How To Hire A Live-In Caregiver
Now that you know what a live-in caregiver does or what’s expected of him or her, it’s time to find out the steps on how to start your search. Here are 7 steps to looking for a live in caregiver for elderly.
1. Create A Clear And Concise Job Description
You can find caregivers who offer live-in care from referral agencies. These are companies that will help you find trained, skilled, and professional individuals for your elderly patient. Also, you can look for private live-in caregivers that are not under an agency or a referral site.
But no matter where a caregiver is from, creating a clear description of the caregiver job you’re looking for is crucial. A job description will give applicants an idea of what you expect from a worker and analyze their readiness for the job at hand. A complete job description also helps save time because you’ll be entertaining applicants that are already fit for the job.
What to add to a job description?
- The patient’s age, medical condition, and weight.
- Any special needs of the patient, e.g., the patient are unable to hear or are hard at seeing, or the patient is bedridden and needs to be turned.
- Expected daily tasks to be accomplished, including nutrition, feeding, medication, monitoring, visiting the patient’s doctor, socializing, ambulating, and more.
- What you require from a caregiver- if you prefer a man instead of a woman for an elderly male patient if you prefer someone who lives close by or if you want someone who can sleepover with shifts that end for a week, etc.
- Finally, include any circumstances that may arise as if the caregiver is willing to be asked to report on-call? Is the caregiver willing to work during the holidays? Is the caregiver willing to go abroad to accompany the patient for treatments? Is the caregiver okay with additional housework (specify doing simple errands like buying medicines or doing the groceries or walking the elderly’s dog, etc.)
2. Practice Flexibility and Fairness
Be aware of local or state regulations regarding hiring live-in caregivers. This is despite hiring a private caregiver or a family member as a caregiver. Be sure that you check out local rules and ask questions if you don’t understand them.
Consider the Following Examples
- Regulations regarding day-offs, overtimes, and shifting.
- Regulations regarding drivers’ licenses, auto insurance, and liability insurance.
- About adding a new full-time home worker to your homeowner’s insurance and auto insurance if the caregiver does not drive her own car.
Be fair and consider providing deadlines for a caregiver that’s unable to provide documents and requirements first hand. Don’t immediately turn down a capable caregiver because she does not drive her own car.
3. Pay Under Legal Terms
As there are set rules and regulations for hiring a caregiver, there are also terms for payment or compensation. If you’re hiring a caregiver from an agency or a recruitment company, you won’t have to worry about compensation because the company does this for you. They also consider the caregiver benefits, taxes, scheduling, contracts, and more.
But when you’re hiring private help, you should know the local rate in your state or area. According to Indeed.com, a caregiver’s average salary in the United States is around $10.70 an hour at $19,349 per year.
Also, consider that in some states, food, shelter, and utilities are all covered by the client’s family. You should be very particular about this, especially when you prefer that your caregiver stays with your elderly family member full time or overnight. Please consider checking local laws regarding worker’s compensation if you’re negotiating with an applicant.
4. Conduct Multiple Interviews And Ask For A Paid Trial
Now that you have a couple or more suitable applicants on hand, it’s time to arrange for a few interviews. These will help get to know them and to gauge whether they are ready for the job at hand.
When looking for a live in caregiver for elderly, start with an initial interview allowing the applicant to provide some basic information that’s not found in their resume. Also, let them state their previous work, their expectations about the job, and ask about their readiness to perform their duties.
Conduct a final interview as well, and at this interview, ask about some unexpected scenarios like what to do if the patient suddenly develops a seizure or an allergic drug reaction. Ask about their basic knowledge about CPR and about patient monitoring.
When you’re still not sure about which applicant to take, you may ask for a paid trial, a day or two with your elderly family member. This way, you can easily tell who’s best for the job. Possibly after a day or two, you’ll be able to find the best candidate for the job.
5. Consider Asking Important Questions
Don’t forget to ask relevant questions as you go along looking for a live in caregiver for elderly. Just some examples of good questions to ask to include the following:
- Do you have previous work experience/experiences with the kind of condition that the patient has? For example, an elderly patient suffering from MS, Alzheimer’s disease, or asthma.
- Do you prefer natural remedies or Western medicine?
- Do you agree with spiritual and mind wellness?
- Do you have knowledge and skills in preparing special meals? This is important if your patient needs a special meal plan like a low-salt, high-fiber, or low-sugar meal.
- Do you participate in continuous learning or training?
- Have you ever had to deal with a medical emergency at home?
Don’t be afraid to ask anything that could mean the life of your elderly family member. Remember, you won’t always be at home or at the patient’s home, and clearing up any concerns early on will make the caregiver’s job easier.
6. Ask For References
To find a caregiver that’s worth the job, it’s also important to ask for references. As much as possible, ask for the contact details of his or her previous employers or clients. Ask for at least three or more references. Family members should not be counted as references.
7. Use An Employment Contract
Now that you have chosen the best candidate, it’s time to present a work contract. If you don’t know how a contract for a caregiver looks, consult a professional to create one. You may also take samples online and base it on your condition. Wonder.legal.us and pdfFiller.com have some templates for you.
Once the contract is ready, invite the caregiver to check it out, review and sign if he or she finds it suitable.
Some Important Tips When Looking For A Live In Caregiver For Elderly
Whether this is your first time to hire a live-in caregiver or your nth time, remember the following tips
- In considering if a live in caregiver is needed, consider hiring two or three caregivers to work in shifts. This way, you can ease on paying for overtime, and your workers will less likely suffer from burnout.
- If you don’t want to deal with interviews and salaries/compensation worries, hire from a referral company.
- Consider a caregiver that’s older and hence will be like a companion for your elderly loved one. Although younger caregivers are energetic and capable, a mature and older worker may be more appropriate.
- Don’t leave the elderly patient out of the scene! If your elderly family member is still able to make sound decisions for him or herself, ask what he or she wants in a caregiver. Ask if he needs a caregiver to help him with his grooming, bathing, and other personal tasks. But be courteous in stating the fact that caregivers are here to keep him safe, and he should trust and delegate tasks as well.