Guest post by Kyle Murray of Aware Senior Care.

Growing old at home can be daunting as daily tasks like washing the dishes or grocery shopping become more difficult, but most people acknowledge they’d prefer to age in place. Many people will consider hiring a caregiver service to support their loved ones at home. Finding the best caregiver for your loved one is one of the keys to success when it comes to keeping your aging parent out of assisted living and helping them to remain in their own home. However, there is no one-size-fits-all option when it comes to finding the perfect caregiver for your loved one.

The first step is to find a home care agency that will listen to you and respond with professionalism, compassion and care. That initial conversation will lay the groundwork for a successful caregiver/client relationship. Following that discussion, if you choose to hire the agency, the home care agency has the responsibility to match and build a caregiving team that  would fit your care needs, personality, and time frame. No matter if you’re looking for full-time or part-time support, respite care or long-term care, finding the right home health aide can turn a mediocre match into a match made in heaven that brings joy and vitality into your home. Leveraging our knowledge and experience these past five years in home care, we’ve put together a short check list of traits to look for when searching for the best caregiver for your family:

  1. Professional and Reliable: A caregiver should arrive on time, be dressed neatly (often in a home care agency approved dress) and ready to assist with the needs and duties of the day. All new relationships – even with the best caregivers – take time to grow and blossom, but even from day one, the caregiver should have a strong overall understanding of the client’s needs and expectations and eagerly begin their work, building a personal relationship with their client while also managing the professional tasks of the day.
  2. Comfortable with Personal Care Needs: Personal care needs like using the bathroom, showering, or even incontinence can be difficult for families to talk about and often bring embarrassment to the client, but it is a real need for seniors who wish to remain independent and live well at home. Professional caregivers must be competent in their personal care skills, and they will execute these tasks with respect and discretion, always preserving the dignity of their client. The home care agency takes full responsibility to ensure this.
  3. Work Experience: A good home care agency will conduct complete background checks, review their driving record, and ask about previous work experience to screen for the top caregiver candidates. Impeccable references from prior clients are also important when looking for a professional caregiver.
  4. Continuing Education and Training: The work of home care is growing and changing, and you want to hire a caregiver who is learning new skills and understands the latest research about senior care. Find out what kind of training and professional development programs the home care agency offers their caregivers. If your loved one is facing a specific disease like Alzheimer’s or a chronic health problem, it’s helpful to find out if the caregiver candidate has any specific experience or training with those issues.
  5. Communication and Support: You want to find caregivers who can provide comprehensive care for your loved one, and that starts with great communication between the caregiver, the client and the home care agency. Share what’s working and offer constructive feedback to the caregiver about areas of concern openly and frequently so you and your caregiver can provide the best care possible and continue to help your loved one live well at home. Also, it’s critical to provide this same feedback to the home care agency so they understand your feedback and can address it directly with the caregiver.
  6. Flexibility: Caregivers bring a wide range of experience and skills into every relationship, and an excellent caregiver knows that the right way to complete a task for a client is exactly how the client would like it done. Establishing a routine helps the client feel comfortable and calm. Look for caregivers who have a willingness to remain flexible and learn what works best for the client.

No matter if your loved one has spent a month or a year living at home independently, it can be difficult to introduce a new caregiver into the home. Take your time to find a reputable and positively reviewed home are agency so they can take the point and work on your behalf to find professional caregiver (s) who are the right fit for your family. The best home care agencies look for ways to meet more than just the medical needs of their clients. They provide personal, non-medical care and emotional support to everyone they work with. Baking cookies, completing crossword puzzles together, reading the newspaper out loud and going out to lunch are simple actions that can turn a “meh” relationship into a “magical” relationship that builds a loving connection between caregiver and client. Finding a professional caregiver provides peace of mind to families, knowing that their loved ones are being care for as well as one of their own family members.

Aware Senior Care provides award-winning, in-home companion care, personal care and nursing services to seniors, the disabled and those who are chronically ill. We are a veteran-owned business serving Wake County and we believe in taking a holistic approach with every client by considering the whole person, not just the services we can provide. To learn more, visit www.awareseniorcare.com or call us at 919-436-1871.

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