carer and elderly lady

Living at home is a primary wish for most of us as we age.

As caregivers, it is often our responsibility to help choose the appropriate in-home caregiver in a knowledgeable thoughtful manner.  This decision is pivotal in determining whether life at home will be successful and offer the best possible quality of life for the people we love.  The following guidelines are the building blocks to a successful hiring experience.

Hiring Guidelines for In-Home Caregivers

1.  Hire caregivers from a reputable agency.

2.  Caregivers should ideally be employees of the agency.

3.  Be certain caregivers are licensed, bonded and insured.

4.  Be certain that caregivers are covered by worker’s compensation insurance.

5.  Caregivers should be supervised by a licensed professional who makes unannounced visits.

6.  If hiring caregivers privately, consider their social security compensation, federal and state taxes, and worker’s compensation insurance as a responsibility of the individual who is paying the caregiver.

7.  Review 2 – 3 references.

8.  A recent criminal background check within the current year is essential.

9.  Random drug tests, TB tests and a recent physical exam should be provided.

10.  If the position involves driving, a valid driver’s license and car insurance should be investigated to determine that it is current and valid.

11.  Caregivers should have a minimum of 2 – 3 years of experience.

12.  If caregivers hail from another country, make sure that they can be understood.

13.  All foreign born caregivers must have a green card and a social security number.

14.  Interview the applicant to get a sense about how their personality will match your loved one.

15.  Determine if the applicant has experience in the kind of care required.  For example, are they comfortable and experienced dealing with dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, Diabetes, etc.?

16.  Make sure the caregiver’s physical ability matches the job at hand.  For example, if lifting is involved, they may have need the strength and ability to transfer their client.

17.  Be certain that you define and describe the duties and expectations inherent in the position before it starts.

18.  Discuss the do’s and don’ts of the position.  For example, the caregiver can not talk on her cell phone while on duty.  The caregiver can never invite anyone to the client’s home.

19.  Create your own contract with the caregiver.  This contract consists of the job description and specifies those behaviors which are not acceptable.  Have her sign  and keep a record of it.

20.  Geriatric Care Managers can be retained to objectively oversee the care of seniors in their home and to keep the family apprised of the care’s quality.  They can also manage other aspects of life at home such as the coordination of all health care services while addressing quality of life issues.

 Personalized Assisted Living at Home

The need for home care often highlights a time of life when people are in decline.  They are losing control of the life they knew and we are feeling at a loss to help them.  The hiring of effective home care assistance, though, gives us the opportunity to make a real difference in their lives. By following these guidelines and doing our “homework” there is a chance for a new lease on life; a life that will keep them safe, cared for, and most importantly allow them their greatest wish – to remain in their own home.  Any homecare company can provide you with homecare but Elder Connections makes life worth living – now that’s better senior care!


By Beverly Bernstein Joie, MS, CMC
President Elder Connections – Solutions for Peace of Mind
Serving the Greater Philadelphia Region