- Make sure that your caregiver has experience working with elderly people who have had similar needs as your parent. When it comes down to it, all people have very different needs when they are entering the winter of their life. Some remain physically capable of showering themselves and using the bathroom, but cope with a severe loss of mental faculties. While others maintain acute mental capacities, but lose the ability to walk or dress themselves. No matter what limitations may be imposed on your parent, you want be sure they are receiving care from someone who knows how to support them in all the necessary ways.
- Make sure to hold an interview with potential caregivers, and make sure your parent is present. It’s very important that you and your parent spend some time talking to potential caregivers to determine whether or not you all have compatible personalities. It’s especially important that your parent is receiving elderly care from someone that he or she feels comfortable with, and if they can manage to laugh together, then you know you’ve found a keeper. More than anything, you want to be sure that your caregiver has a very sensitive understanding of what your parent needs, both physically and emotionally.
- Make sure to get a detailed list of services that the caregiver will and won’t perform. Unfortunately, there are many caregivers who have certain limitations when it comes to the services they are willing to provide. Some will administer medication orally, but won’t administer a suppository. Some will dress and bathe, but they won’t change diapers. Some will be on call, and some won’t. No matter what services they are willing to provide, you want to be sure that the list is clear both on the will and won’t side, and you want to be sure it is included in their contract.
- Make sure the caregiver has plenty of references. If your caregiver is referred to you by a living assistance services agency, like Visiting Angels Charlotte, then there is a very good chance that they will have a long list of references and plenty of experience. However, you really do want to be sure to call all of the references listed on their resume and ask several important questions that you will need answered with each reference on the list. When it comes to finding a caregiver, you can never do enough homework.
- Make sure the caregiver has experience seeing patients through to the end of their lives. As hard as it may be to face, your parent’s caregiver will likely see your parent through to their last days on Earth. This is a very difficult and acutely painful experience for all parties, and you want to be sure that your caregiver knows how to cope with this traumatic reality. That’s why you will need to ask them several questions about how they manage to cope with the experience, and what their goals are for their patients during those final days.