Thanks to the advances in modern medicine, the average 65-year-old American’s life expectancy has increased by approximately 20 years. However, as life expectancy continues to increase, so does the need for competent in-home care. Over 40 million senior citizens have a chronic condition that affects their day to day lives, including 12 million who cannot live independently without an in-home caregiver. To make matters more complicated, many families are unable to provide sufficient care for their loved ones. That’s why an increasing number of Americans are turning to in-home caregivers to help. With the aid of a competent in-home caregiver, your loved one may enjoy a level of comfort and safety in their own home that would otherwise be impossible, allowing you to provide peace of mind for your whole family.
Selecting an In-home Caregiver
The first step to selecting an in-home caregiver is to assess what your needs are. Here is a short list of questions you should ask yourself to determine the qualities your in-home caregiver should have to meet your loved one’s needs:
- Does your loved one need physical therapy?
- Do they need help with personal care, like dressing, preparing meals, and bathing?
- Do they require help with housecleaning and money management, or are they primarily in need of a companion?
- How many hours of assistance will be needed each week?
Once you have a clear idea of everything you need from a caregiver, you should write up a short job description to ensure all of these needs can be met. After you have your job description prepared, you’re ready to look at potential candidates and begin arranging interviews.
In-home Caregiver Ethics
To some people, the caregiver code of ethics may border on common sense. However, it is important that you understand what kind of ethical behavior you can expect from an in-home caregiver to ensure that your loved one receives the high quality of care they deserve. First and foremost, in-home caregivers should treat their clients with respect, enabling them to feel self-empowered. This respect may begin with simple formalities, like calling a client by their surname unless invited to do otherwise, but it extends into more substantive issues of respecting religion, culture, politics, and race. It’s important to understand that the words that you use may empower or demoralize your loved one, which is why it’s necessary for the in-home caregiver to have a basic cultural competency regarding the race, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identification of their client. Unlike many other forms of employment, being an in-home caregiver means that those who you care for may depend on you for their well-being. That means in-home caregivers should always arrive on time to provide care as scheduled, and should call to alert you, the family member, if they could be late. Like with any care provider, they should respect the confidentiality and privacy of their client. This isn’t simply because confidentiality and privacy should be maintained in principle, but because doing so allows your loved one to maintain their dignity as a person with a lifetime of unique experiences.
Selecting the Right Fit
Choosing an in-home caregiver isn’t something that should be taken lightly. If you want to guarantee that your loved one will receive the best care possible, you need to be willing to put in the time and energy into searching for a reputable caregiver. If you follow these guidelines and do a thorough job from start to finish, you can rest assured that your loved one will be able to continue to enjoy a rich and full life for years to come.
Have you already gone through this process before, or are you going through it now? If so, please share your thoughts and experiences below. We love to hear from our readers.