6 Tips for Working with a Professional In-Home Caregiver
As our loved ones age, they often require extra care and assistance with household chores, personal care, meals, and other daily tasks. In fact, it is estimated that 70% of retirees will need some type of long-term care during their lifetime. There are a number of options when it comes to long-term care, including assisted living facilities and nursing homes, but many seniors prefer to get the support they need at home.
In-home caregivers can be a great option for those who wish to “age in place” while receiving personalized care. But bringing a professional into the home can be an adjustment for both the individual receiving care and their family members. To help create a positive experience, here are some best practices to consider when working with a professional in-home caregiver.
- Establish Clear Expectations
Before you finalize a contract with an in-home care provider, establish a list of the caregiver’s role, duties and tasks, as well as the schedule and hours they will work. Get this in writing and make sure everyone is aligned – including your loved one, the care recipient. You want this plan to be personalized to their needs, so be sure to communicate any special needs or considerations, such as dietary restrictions or mobility challenges.
- Conduct Background Checks
When selecting an in-home caregiver, it’s essential to conduct a thorough background check. This includes verifying their licensing credentials, checking references, and confirming previous work experience. If you’re working with a home care agency, you can also request a criminal background check – many agencies do this as a part of their hiring process and some states will do this as a part of their licensing process. Note that if you’re hiring a caregiver directly, you are legally required to ask their permission before running a criminal background check.
- Create a Care Plan
To help ensure that your loved one receives the best possible care, it’s important to create a care plan with the in-home caregiver. This plan should outline the specific care needs and goals, as well as any medications or treatments that need to be administered and at what time of day. The CDC created this template care plan for individuals to draft alongside their loved ones. Writing out these details can help you identify any specialized equipment or procedures the caregiver needs to be familiar with.
- Establish a system for caregiver spending
When you bring a caregiver into a loved one’s home, it’s common to want this person to be able to pay for the essentials (e.g. food, prescriptions, medical co-pays, etc.). But, you also might be hesitant to hand over cash or a credit card with high spending limits. Some families choose to provide gift cards to specific stores – like a grocery store with a pharmacy inside – but this can be a hassle when you don’t live in the same town as your loved one.
True Link can be particularly useful in these situations. The caregiver can be provided a True Link Visa® Prepaid Card, and family members can use the True Link Spending Monitor to customize where the Visa Card works (e.g. grocery stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices), track spending, and load money on the card as needed.
- Maintain Regular Communication
Regular communication between a family and an in-home caregiver is essential for ensuring that the care plan is being followed and that any issues or concerns may be addressed in a timely manner. It is common for situations and needs to change as the relationship progresses and individuals age, so schedule regular check-ins to discuss any shifts in responsibilities that may be necessary.
- Show Appreciation
The role of an in-home caregiver can be a demanding job. Showing appreciation for their hard work and recognizing when they’ve gone above and beyond can go a long way in building a positive relationship.
Be aware that if you are considering using trust funds to pay an in-home caregiver directly, you are likely entering into an employer-employee relationship. This can come with a host of additional rules and regulations you may need to comply with; you can find out more by clicking here.
Nothing contained herein should be construed as caregiving, investment, tax, or legal advice. Always consult the appropriate advisor for your speciﬁc situation.