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How to Find a Caregiver

Summary: This article outlines the process to follow when finding a caregiver for your loved one. Each family situation is unique and planning for the interview process is crucial. You’ll also need to prepare for the cost of your caregiver, which can vary greatly depending on healthcare needs and location. Estimated Read Time: 9 mins

Table of Contents:

  1. How To Find a Caregiver for Elderly
  2. Questions To Ask When Interviewing a Caregiver for Elderly
  3. The Interview Process When Looking for a Caregiver
  4. What To Look For in a Caregiver

Finding the right caregiver can make a huge difference in your loved one’s overall care, but the process can have its ups and downs. If you need to find a caregiver, it’s important to know the qualities to look for in a caregiver and how to interview accordingly.

Families looking for private caregivers may have different needs but at the heart of it all is the need for a professional, loving person that will help their loved ones enjoy a better quality of life.

Asking the right questions, understanding the resources available, and planning for the costs that come with hiring a caregiver will help you find the right person for the patient. Below is a closer look at the process of finding a caregiver.

How To Find a Caregiver for Elderly

Depending on the needs of your household, it may be beneficial to hire a professional caregiver rather than utilizing a family caregiver. There are several reasons that a family may opt for a professional caregiver for their loved ones needs. Depending on the required care, a family caregiver may not be equipped to meet the needs of the patient.

To find the right caregiver for your loved one, you’re going to need to assess a few different important factors. There are the steps to finding the right caregiver a family should follow when going through this process. Those steps include:

  • Identifying the type of caregiver you need
  • Shop around and conduct your due diligence
  • Work with your loved one’s healthcare provider(s)

Below, we break down each step of the process.

Identify the Type of Caretaker You Need

Different types of caregivers exist, and you’re going to need to find a caregiver that is right for your loved one’s care. You’ll also need to assess the type of professional that will be necessary for your own needs.

For example, if you’re taking care of someone with a specific ailment that requires specialized care, you’re going to want to seek a healthcare professional well-versed in handling these needs.

On the other hand, you might also find that you need temporary relief from duty while your patient retains medical attention. In this case, respite care services are important but specific in scope. They can be useful for those looking to either enjoy some relief or balance their other responsibilities.

In many cases, you’re going to find that taking care of your loved one is going to require a team of medical professionals and loved ones working together. Handle what you can, identify what you can’t, and fill in the gaps with appropriate professionals as needed.

Shop Around and Conduct Due Diligence

Professional caregivers continue to be in demand, with as few as four caregivers expected to be available per person in need by 2030. The trend of increased life expectancy for Americans continues. This is why the demand is there for caregiver services because more people don’t just need more care; they also need more care for a longer period of time.

However, you can’t just trust your loved one’s care with just anyone. You’re going to not only need to find someone who is a licensed professional, but you’re also going to need to find a caregiver who is qualified for your patient’s specific needs.

Caregiver Qualifications

Part of the journey of hiring a caregiver is asking the right questions and being sure that the professional caregiver you hire is qualified to do the job. Different states have different qualifications and standards for licensing and insurance that are required for professional caregivers. Be sure that the professional caregiver you hire has maintained these standards.

Asking the Right Questions

You’re also going to want to ask potential caregivers relevant questions, for references, and for methods of verifying their qualifications. You can never be too thorough when ensuring your family’s safety. Keep reading below to learn more about what kind of questions you’ll want to ask.

Doing Due Diligence

Furthermore, you’re going to want to conduct due diligence on how someone is with their patients. It’s true that not all of those in need of caretaking are elderly, but abuse in those 65 years and older is an important factor to remember when choosing a professional:

  • Around 60% of elder abuse comes from family members, and nearly 40% by others.
  • 10% of adults at least 60 years of age have experienced abuse.

Elder abuse isn’t just physical. It can also be mental and provide emotional issues for loved ones. Sadly, some may also experience other forms of abuse, such as financial, in which those you trust commit fraud or theft involving your loved one.

You can never be too careful. There are several tools online and government resources that can help you look into anyone, including family, who may be a caregiver to your loved one. Consulting with trusted friends and family about caregivers that they have used for their own needs in the past can also prove helpful.

Speak With Your Loved One’s Healthcare Providers

If you’re building up a team that will help provide healthcare to your loved one, it makes sense to talk to those already a part of it. Doctors, nurses, and specialists can be a wealth of information for finding the right caregivers for your needs. Here’s why:

Your patient’s healthcare team understands the specific needs they need. Therefore, they can make a personalized recommendation instead of a cookie-cutter answer.

Referrals are always a good thing, and getting someone else who is a trusted professional to sign off on adding a member to your team can be helpful.

It’s also helpful that a professional healthcare provider is going to know who is available in your area. Even if you know what type of care is needed, you’re going to understand who is capable of providing your loved one with the right care when you need it.

For those using Medicare to cover caregiving expenses, you’ll also need a healthcare professional to not only sign off on a caregiver but showcase why their skills are needed for your individual situation. Speaking with a healthcare professional is imperative for success.

Questions To Ask When Interviewing a Caregiver for Elderly

When looking for a caregiver, you’re bound to have questions, but you’re also going to need to know the right ones to ask. Vetting potential caregivers of your loved ones is a serious undertaking to ensure they are taken care of and not taken advantage of. Here are some questions to ask when inquiring about home caregiver services:

  • Ask about interests and hobbies.
  • Ask questions specific to your caregiving needs.
  • Do you have experience with housekeeping or cooking?
  • How have you handled difficult situations in the past?
  • Questions about certifications, licensing, and training are a must. (View our guide on licensing and caregiver requirements in each state.)
  • What makes you a good caregiver?
  • What are your plans for communicating with the patient and their family?
  • What kind of care do you specialize in?

While needs will vary and dictate how you respond to these questions, it’s important to apply these answers diligently to your loved one’s care. For example, if you have a loved one who loves gardening, watching nature, etc., you may not want to hire someone who hates the outdoors.

If you need someone to take care of a loved one in a specific way, such as cooking or other forms of ADLs that are necessary for care, be sure to check that they are qualified for such duties.

Additionally, if you are in need of someone with knowledge of a specific disease, a certain level of experience, or a particular license, then you’ll need to eliminate candidates who do not match these qualifications accordingly.

The Interview Process When Looking for a Caregiver

Having the right questions is going to make the interview with prospective caregivers go smoothly, but there’s more to it than asking a few questions and trusting your gut. Looking for a live-in caregiver for elderly patients means not only getting to know one another but also setting expectations.

The interview is a phase for you to get to know them and vice versa. Each job is different and building the relationship with your eventual caregiver is going to start before they are even hired. Here are some helpful tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your interviews:

  • The location matters. It’s always a good idea to have the interviews at the patient’s home where you can better gauge their reaction to their surroundings.
  • Come prepared with your questions ready. Go over them before the actual meeting to visualize the actual interview.
  • Set expectations from the start. This includes other parts of the hiring process, such as potential drug screenings and background checks, along with the specific needs of your loved one.
  • Asking for references and a work history is important, but you’ll need to go a bit deeper than that. Look for nuisances. For example, someone that is spilling every negative secret about their former employer may not be as confidential as your loved one deserves.
  • Look for red flags and trust your gut feelings. If someone is avoiding answering a question, there’s likely a reason for that. If you don’t feel the candidate fits the qualifications for caregiver that you’ve made the standard, move along.

Even after the interview is finished, look for the small things such as thank you emails, follow up questions, and timeliness in presenting anything, like a certification, that may have come up during your initial meeting. Keep things professional and always communicate clearly during the next and final steps.

What To Look For in a Caregiver

Meeting mandatory caregiver requirements is one thing but if you’re going to hire the right person for the job, there are many other soft skills they’re going to need. This will mean hiring professionals with more than just healthcare-specific skills. Here are a few considerations to help you find the right fit:

  • A sense of humor
  • Attentiveness
  • Capable of communicating effectively
  • Compassion
  • Confidential
  • Dependability
  • Empathy
  • Experience with previous clients
  • Medical training
  • Organizational skills
  • Patience
  • Physical fitness
  • Skills that match the needs of your loved one

To find a caregiver that works well for your loved one is a process but by taking the right steps, you’re ensuring that their needs are properly met. Now that you know what it takes to find the right fit, keep reading to learn how to find caregiver assistance in your state to help you cut costs.

Sources

MedicareFAQ is dedicated to providing you with authentic and trustworthy Medicare information. We have strict sourcing guidelines and work diligently to serve our readers with accurate and up-to-date content.

  1. Caregiving for Family and Friends — A Public Health Issue, CDC. Accessed December 2023.
    https://www.cdc.gov/aging/caregiving/caregiver-brief.html
  2. Get the Facts on Elder Abuse, NCOA. Accessed December 2023.
    https://www.ncoa.org/article/get-the-facts-on-elder-abuse
  3. How to Find a Caregiver: A Guide, U.S. News. Accessed December 2023.
    https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2023-03-23/how-to-find-a-caregiver-a-guide
  4. How to Find a Caregiver: A Guide, A Place for Mom. Accessed December 2023.
    https://www.aplaceformom.com/caregiver-resources/articles/conduct-a-private-caregiver-interview
Kayla Hopkins

Kayla Hopkins

Content Editor
Kayla Hopkins is an accomplished writer and Medicare guru serving as the Editor of MedicareFAQ.com. Upon completing her Communications degree from Ohio University, Kayla dedicated her time to understanding the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare. With her extensive background as a Licensed Medicare Insurance Agent, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her writing.
Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Manager
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Manager for MedicareFAQ. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.

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