caregiver serving mealIf you’ve never gone through the process of discovering aging options for your parents, there are a lot of things you don’t want to learn the hard way. You’ve decided that Mom needs a little help to manage at home. You want to find a caregiver to help her cook and clean, to take her to doctor’s appointments and remind her to take her medication. But now that you’ve made that big decision, you’re facing another big decision: choosing a company that will find a caregiver to entrust with your mom’s care. When working with a home care company you’ll have the choice in evaluating the potential caregiver and there are things you should know. 

When you meet with the home care company and the potential caregiver, it’s best to prepare a set of questions in advance of the meeting based on what’s important to you. Here is our list of top questions to ask, and be sure to take notes during the interview.

  1. Tell me about your work experience in the last five years. May I contact your employers as references? Getting a broad sense of what types of work the person has been doing can give you a good idea of whether she’ll be a good fit for this opportunity. Does her work history show experience in companionship and working with older adults? Does she have experience working without direct supervision? 
  2. What draws you to the caregiving profession? A good caregiver will have a caring, nurturing personality, and find fulfillment in working with older adults.
  3. Would you be able to drive my loved one? Make sure your potential caregiver has a current driver’s license, reliable transportation, and is comfortable driving your loved one to appointments and visits.
  4. Are you certified and do you have first-aid training? Caregiving is a profession and you want to work with someone who is invested in their preparation to be a caregiver. Typically you will work with either a home health aide, a certified nursing assistant or a personal care assistant . Their certification should be current and they may also have evidence of continuing education credits. 
  5. Are you capable of transferring someone? Getting someone from a wheelchair to a bed, and helping them dress requires a good knowledge of body mechanics so they do not injure themselves or your loved one.
  6. Tell me about your availability. It’s best to find someone who can be flexible and accommodate your vacations and holidays. 
  7. How do you handle people who are behaviorally challenging? Dementia, loneliness, and loss can bring with it behaviors that require sensitivity and resourcefulness. Your caregiver should be able to describe in detail how s/he has worked with someone who is depressed, forgetful, aggressive, stubborn, or fearful.
  8. Is there anything about the requested service that you will find challenging? Your loved one may have needs the caregiver has not had experience with in the past and s/he may require detailed instruction about aspects of the care you wish to receive.
  9. Do you like to cook? Give me some examples of your favorite dishes you like to cook. If part of your caregiver’s duties are to include cooking, it’s good to get an idea of how she’ll handle the task, and whether your loved one will like the food they enjoy preparing.
  10. I will be completing a criminal background check. Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanour? You should always do a background check on potential caregivers. This is a good way to find out if your caregiver is forthcoming and honest, and if there’s anything in her past that raises a red flag.
  11. Are you willing to provide frequent updates on the phone or computer? You’ll have to communicate with your loved one’s caregiver a lot. Be sure she’s willing and able to keep you in the loop. 
  12. Do you have any questions for me? This question can alert you to any issues you might not have considered.

In addition to the above questions to find a caregiver, be sure to ask your caregiver about any other issues that are specific to your loved one’s care. If your loved one is hard of hearing, for example, or needs a special diet, make sure you go over those special considerations with your potential caregiver. If you have the time, do a study of companies locally that refer caregivers and find out what they are paying caregivers so you will know what fees to expect. Of course, when you work with a home care company, you should ask which of these questions are part of the companies standard screening and operational process. To find out more about how a industy-leading screening system works, contact your closest home care office today

When thinking about having a caregiver in your home what’s the first question that comes to your mind? Share with us in the comments below.