This is a sponsored guest post.
One of the most challenging experiences of adult life is the moment in which you understand that your aging parents are no longer able to care for themselves. In some cases, it is the natural course of aging. But sometimes, this happens as a result of an illness or accident, in which case decisions have to be made quickly. Regardless of the reasons, choosing someone to help care for aging parents is never an easy task. Senior citizens are extremely vulnerable, and they also need someone with whom they feel comfortable. If you find yourself having to make this tough choice, there are some important aspects that you need to consider.
Safety Should Always Come First
A common plot in horror movies is a caregiver that shows a nice and warm face to adult children and becomes abusive once they leave. You need to make sure that the person you are considering to hire is a safe choice. There is no better way to do this than to run a thorough background check. Check People offers a straightforward service in which you get a report containing important facts such as criminal records and identity verification. Their service is professional and low-cost.
Be Thorough on Your Job Description
Unclear expectations always create unnecessary problems. Make sure to write a description that considers all of the following factors:
- Fees and payment dates
- Does your parent need medical assistance?
- Is the caregiver expected to do housework and shopping?
- Will they need to drive your parent to doctor’s appointments?
- Does your parent need help going to the bathroom, or getting a shower?
- Is your parent suffering from any type of dementia?
It is very important to understand that if your parent needs medical assistance, you have to hire a person with the proper training. The same applies to cases of dementia. Not every caregiver is equipped to deal with special needs. If the caregiver is going to live with your parent, it is very important to establish boundaries that work for both parties. Talk about stuff like days off (which are extremely important to maintain the caregiver’s mental health), visits, phone use, and any other aspect that you consider important.
Make Sure Your Elderly Relative Feels Comfortable
Understand that it is extremely difficult for older people to accept help from a stranger. Whenever possible, your parent should be an active part of the selection process. Several studies show that senior citizens thrive in the care of people they like and with whom they have things in common. For example, if your dad is a veteran, you may find help at the vet center. Or if your mother loves gardening, choose someone that may enjoy engaging in gardening with her.
Communication is Essential
Establish a way to keep track of your elderly’s health and emotional state. A good idea is to ask for weekly reports. If your parent is conscious, call them once or twice a week (maybe more during the first months) and ask about their day, what they did, what they ate, and how they feel. If you notice any sign of distress, you may consider a supervision visit to make sure everything is okay. Remember that, even when someone else –the caregiver– is directly responsible for your loved one’s wellbeing, you are still needed and should always be around.
Never Underestimate Reference Checks
There is no better way to find out how a caregiver works than to check their references. You must always ask for more than one and cross-check the information you get. Try to find out how they conduct themselves under pressure, how do they respond to emergencies, and why their previous work relationships ended. Whenever possible, consider hiring someone that comes recommended by a trusted acquaintance, or who has local references in your community.
Always establish a probation period
Even when someone may seem perfect after the interview and background checks, in reality, things may not go very smoothly. Establish a probation period in which both parties are able to change their minds.
Think About Using an Agency
Choosing someone to care for your elderly parents is time-consuming and may get overwhelming. Professional agencies are better equipped to vet candidates and match them with families that will be a good fit. While an agency might mean spending more money, if you can afford it, it is certainly worth it.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
Finding care for elderly parents is never easy, and some people experience anxiety and guilt. Remember that you are choosing to have someone take care of them because you know it is the best option, and because you are not able –regardless of the reason– of doing it yourself. If you feel burnt out from the process, or if your parent is making you feel guilty, consider finding a counselor to help during this complicated life stage.