Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be immensely rewarding but challenging. We like to remind caregivers that there will likely come a time when you need help, but how do you safely bring a stranger into your home?
There can be a great deal of fear when considering in-home care. Who can families trust with the safety of their loved ones? Do they need to worry about the theft of their prized possessions? Will the caregiver’s personality be a good fit? Does the caregiver understand Alzheimer’s, and will they be patient with the most challenging behaviors?
Families need to engage with companies that focus on their employees’ integrity and hire the best caregivers that families let into their homes. Hiring a Licensed Home Care Organization (LHCO) is always best because these professional caregivers are regulated. It’s important to note that licensing varies by state, so check with the Department of Health in your area for more information. Also, be cautious when hiring privately or from a referral agency or Registry, and here’s why:
Unlike an LHCO, a referral agency or Registry only suggests in-home caregivers; they do not hire them. A Registry may charge a finder fee, but there is no further involvement with them once you employ the caregiver. You have no proof of the caregiver’s experience, criminal background, reliability, or trustworthiness. You may assume certain risks and liabilities, and the burden of employer/employee taxes is also on you. The in-home caregiver is only accountable to you, unlike an employee of a Licenced Home Care Organization who has oversight from their employer.
Ask your friends, family, and physician if there is a Licensed Home Care Organization they would recommend and start there. Then, have a solid list of questions and requirements.
We suggest that you ask the following:
- Is your organization licensed, bonded, and insured for liability and Workers Comp?
- Do you require national financial and criminal background checks and sex offender registry checks on your caregivers, and how often?
- What kind of training does your staff have related to the needs of my loved one with Alzheimer’s disease?
- What is your policy if my paid caregiver misses a shift?
- If the personalities don’t mesh, can we find a different caregiver for my loved one?
- Are there procedures if I suspect my caregiver isn’t entirely trustworthy?
- What precautions does your agency have in place post-COVID-19 pandemic?
Excellent home care agencies provide fantastic caregiver services that enable you to step away from home and get a break from caregiving, even if only a few hours a week. Their services can allow you time to take care of yourself, schedule a doctor’s appointment, visit with friends, or get some much-needed respite by simply escaping to the next room with a good book. In addition, professional caregivers in your home understand the best ways to engage with your loved ones, enhancing their quality of life.
Suppose you are concerned about finding a trustworthy paid caregiver. In that case, the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Alliance can help you find licensed companies and make informed decisions as you vet a home care organization you may want to hire.
Respite for the family caregiver, companionship, tension prevention, and the ability to age in place longer are all strong reasons to hire in-home caregivers. We want to ensure you are going into it with the knowledge necessary to make it the best experience possible.