Hiring a Caregiver

Hiring a caregiver is not as difficult or daunting a task as you might imagine. There are a couple of ways to get this kind of help. One way is to hire her yourself. The other is to locate an agency that provides the personal caregiver for you. First, let's talk about hiring her yourself.

Many caregivers with years of experience have started working for themselves by freelancing. This means they advertise their services and negotiate their working conditions and prices for their services. There is nothing wrong with this and it can be a very good arrangement for you and her. The middle man is eliminated and you deal directly with the caregiver.

A very good way to hiring a personal caregiver is through word-of-mouth. Why? Because the person telling you about the worker probably has some first hand knowledge of the caregiver's experience, skill, reliability, and personality. Half of your work is done. You have a trusted friend or relative giving you a reference on someone they used and liked. That recommendation is priceless.

Another way is to look in your local newspaper in the situations wanted section. There are some caregivers who advertise their elder care services. Call your local employment office. It may be a bit more cumbersome because of their protocol but you may be able to find help through them. You may also find ads in church bulletins or other business places that have public bulletins. Again, the best way is through word-of-mouth. Call your friends. If they don't have someone to refer to you, ask if they know of someone else who has used a personal caregiver. Chances are your friends will be able to refer you to someone.

Now that you've found a caregiver and have her contact information, you need to contact her and find out if she's available. If she's not, ask her if there's someone that she knows and recommends. She has probably worked with several other workers and knows of their experience and quality of work.

If the caregiver you contacted is available, let her know what days and times you will need her and for how long. This will let her and you know if there is going to be a conflict with your schedule. If not, schedule a face-to-face meeting in your home.

The face-to-face meeting and interview when hiring a caregiver is very important. It gives both of you a perspective with which each of you will be working. You get to meet each other and see if you can work with each other. There are some caregivers that will not work in certain elder care jobs because of the demanding nature of the people they'll be working for. In some instances, the environment in which they'll be working may be such that they'll not be comfortable. There are some employers who do not like the caregiver because of their personality; they are smokers, or some other reason that became evident during the interview.

When hiring a caregiver, you will want to be prepared for the interview ahead of time with a list of questions to ask her. This is not an interrogation. It is a job interview and you are the employer.

The Interview

During the interview, you will want to ask the following questions:

1. Do you have a resume or caregiver work history with names and phone numbers?

2. Do you have home health care references with phone numbers?

3. Do you have a time limit on your availability?

4. Have you ever been fired by a home health care employer? Why?

5. Why do you work in elder care?

6. Do you hold any state sponsored certificates of training?

7. Did you ever quit working for someone and Why?

8. What do you require in wages?

9. Are you willing to work as an independent contractor and sign papers to that effect?

You may have other questions that you want to ask. Write them down
as you think of them before the interview. Try to get a feel for the applicant's personality and character. You and your loved one will feel so much better when you have someone working for you whose companionship you enjoy.

What to Pay a Personal Caregiver

The wages required will vary depending on several factors:

1. The work involved. During the interview, the personal caregiver will learn what it is you want her to do. She may require higher wages if the care she will be required to perform is very intense. She may determine what her wages will be on the fly and give you a figure based on what she feels her work is worth.

2. The experience of the personal caregiver. Some Aides with many years experience and excellent references may value their worth more and expect a higher wage. You will probably get your money's worth in time saved because of her expediency and you will probably be very satisfied with the results of her work.

3. Geographic location. Some parts of the country will demand higher wages. California for example is a higher paying market than say, the deep south.

Metropolitan areas will demand higher wages than rural areas. If you live in a remote area requiring the worker to drive long distances to get to you, she may want to charge you mileage or higher wages.

This is usually all negotiable. Be prepared to negotiate but please don't think of negotiation as permission to try to take unfair advantage of the worker. She deserves a decent wage. You deserve good service. Try to make it a win-win proposition.

To browse through other elder care options, leave the Hiring a Caregiver page and go to the Home Page.