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Choose the right caregiver

Many of my clients have never been through the process of interviewing and choosing the right caregiver. They are not sure what attributes they should focus on. Certainly, there are many criteria that must be considered and prioritizing them can be very individual, but here are a few that must be considered.

Communication. It is essential that you can communicate with the caregiver. The caregiver may not speak perfect English, but they should certainly understand most of what is being said to them. Since the only language I know is English, my clients can rest assured that the caregiver’s first test should be whether they can communicate with me. Beyond that, there are some people who are better at conveying vital information and have good common sense for when to do so. That would be information you could find from their references.

Price. Each family has a budget in mind for how much they would like to spend per week on a caregiver. For some, price is the sticking point, for others there are more important criteria. Be very clear about how much you can afford and be realistic about your expectations. Price does not always determine the quality of the caregiver, but it can limit your selection and the skill set the caregiver may possess.

Abilities. For some families, only very basic skills are needed; for others, more sophisticated skills are required. Some basic skills are: cooking, cleaning, bathing, dressing, skin care, and medication reminders. Some advanced skills may involve: Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care, elevation and transfer, incontinence care, respiratory care (oxygen mask), and feeding (pureed and thickened foods). All of this must be taken into account when setting a price and, of course, when selecting a caregiver.

Personality and behavior. There are some families who want their caregiver to be demure, quiet, and discreet; others want an individual who is in charge, strong and talkative; others want someone in the middle. This is something that should be evaluated during the admission process as one of the criteria for your search.

Character. A caregiver must be trustworthy, trustworthy, intelligent, responsible, loving, compassionate, punctual, trustworthy, clean, friendly, take sensible initiative, etc., all to the right measure. Since each family feels more about some character traits than others, it would be important to prioritize them before the interview process. These traits can also be verified by calling references and observing the caregiver during the interview process.

Chemistry. The elusive and abstract chemistry between two people is difficult to describe and determine, but there is always our initial knee-jerk reaction. Liking the person in your initial meeting can be a good barometer of future interaction, but of course, it is not a guarantee. You can only hope for the best.

Sometimes we get it right the first time and sometimes we don’t. Even with all this knowledge, sometimes our first choice may not be the best choice. I always tell my clients that they are not “married” to the caregiver and that they have the right to interview and hire someone else to replace them. It helps to work with an agency and especially an experienced intake counselor who can also guide you through this process.

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