Choosing the Right Caregiver for an Aging Parent

Learn the critical steps to seek the right caregiver for your parent or loved one.

Entrusting someone else with the care of an aging loved one is a significant decision that requires much thought and consideration. While it may take time to warm up to the idea, the right caregiver can dramatically improve your parent's quality of life by providing companionship and helping them do the activities they love. Finding the right person for the job is critical. We're sharing some of the most important tips to keep in mind when looking for a caregiver.

Assess their caregiving needs

The first and most crucial step in choosing a caregiver is accurately assessing your loved one's needs. In some cases, it may be as simple as providing companionship or taking care of household errands. At the same time, other people may require more in-depth personal care or specialized medical attention—especially if they are dealing with conditions such as Alzheimer's or cancer diagnosis.

Try to be as thorough as possible when making this assessment. When choosing a potential caregiver, you'll want to consider every aspect of your loved one's daily routine. For example, will they need a younger, physically fit assistant to help overcome mobility issues or operate the equipment? Or someone with a driver's license to take them to appointments? Considering these factors early on and bringing them up during the interview will save you a potential headache later on.

Hire from a reputable source

Hiring someone qualified and trustworthy is of utmost importance when securing a caregiver. And while it may seem like a good idea to reach out to neighbours, friends, or family, remember that hiring a caregiver is still a business decision, and involving non-professionals can often be more trouble than it's worth.

Most families will be better-suited by hiring from a qualified agency. It may be more expensive than hiring a private caregiver, but a reputable agency will ensure that its employees have been appropriately trained and vetted. If you decide to hire privately, keep in mind that you will most likely have to spend your time and money to conduct a background check and contact references.

Get it in writing

Drafting a contract is a crucial step in hiring a caregiver. The last thing you want is to end up in a situation where your loved one isn't getting their needs met, or a caregiver feels that they are being asked to do work outside the initial agreement's scope. Whether you hire privately or through an agency, carefully read over the terms of any contracts, and consider how much flexibility you will need if your loved one is likely to need an increased level of care soon.

Explore financial options

Your financial situation will likely impact the level of care you can secure for your loved one. The good news is that several federal, provincial, and non-profit benefits programs can help alleviate potential financial stress. These programs assist with everything from medication, food, housing, and transportation to community programs, online aid, and legal advocacy. 

Communicate with family 

If you have siblings, they will likely want to be involved in setting up a system of care for an elderly parent. Involving family in the discussion is a good way to avoid any potential drama. It can also be an opportunity to find ways to share responsibilities so that the cost, effort, and time invested in establishing care isn't placed on a single person's shoulders.

And, of course, don't forget to involve your loved one in the process. They will likely be concerned about losing their feeling of independence or control over their life, and it may take some time to reassure them. Unless it is an emergency, it's always better to involve them in any conversations about their own care.

When it comes to finding a caregiver for an aging parent, exploring all options can seem overwhelming. You must also balance your loved one's needs with your obligations and resources. Finding the right caregiver doesn't have to be a trial and error process. Following the tips outlined above, you can rest easy knowing that your loved one is in good hands.

Inkblot Therapy