If you are a primary caregiver to an older adult, you might find that their needs increase with time and eventually you might have to consider hiring in-home care. This can be an overwhelming step for someone who has never been involved in the process of hiring in-home care. The prospect of the new arrangement may also create anxiety for your senior loved one – they might even refuse the idea outright – making this a stressful transition for all involved.
For those who feel that it’s time for in-home help for an aging senior, here are some tips on finding the right caregiver and how to introduce your aging loved one to assistance so they can adapt to their new lifestyle more easily, all the while respecting and treating them with compassion and respect.
How to Hire an In-Home Caregiver
When hiring a caregiver you must focus on finding the right fit. While it is possible to discuss hiring a caregiver through an agency, these instructions are how to privately hire a caregiver. Your caregiver will be spending a lot of time with your senior loved one so it’s vital that they bond. Consider the following:
- Write a clear job description: the job description should include all of the tasks your caregiver will be expected to do. Consider factors such as the level of care needed and payment details.
- Vet them thoroughly: make sure to interview a potential candidate more than once. Hold an in-person interview and have them meet your loved one. Try to set up a trial period for your caregiver candidate, as a trial period is a great opportunity to see if the two get along. It’s also an opportunity to see if the potential caregiver can handle all the required tasks.
- Sign a contract: an employment contract for an in-home caregiver doesn’t need to be overly complicated but must explain all the details of the situation. Include a detailed description of the job, the required schedule, pay, as well as any other information that is important to you.
How to Help Introduce Your Senior Loved One to In-Home Care
In-home care can be a sensitive topic to bring up because many elderly people are reluctant to accept changes that affect their independence or don’t feel the need for help. Here are some tips to help you ease them into the idea:
- Listen to your loved one: Your loved one may feel insulted or worried about a lack of privacy when you first bring up the idea of an in-home caregiver. Don’t force the idea on them; allow them to express their feelings and validate such feelings. Knowing their concerns will help you determine how to hire a caregiver that will work best with them. Additionally, involving your loved one in the hiring process can give them a feeling of autonomy.
- Start slow: When you start with an in-home caregiver, try starting with just a few hours a week: a “short daily visit” presents as a much warmer alternative to a stranger spending many hours in your home. Have the caregiver perform a few tasks for your loved one, preferably ones like household chores and errands that won’t invade your loved one’s personal space. You can then slowly increase the caregiver’s hours as your loved one becomes more comfortable with them and the bond between the two grows.
- Protect their dignity: If your loved one is overly resistant to in-home care, try taking a different approach. Perhaps tell them that the in-home caregiver is more for you and your worries than for their sake. This may help them feel that their independence is not being threatened, and instead becomes a kindness they are taking to help assuage your worries. If they still say no, reinstate that the arrangement is merely temporary and ask them to give it a try “for you.”
Aging is never easy, but with the right care and support, it can be a much happier experience for everyone involved.