Having an in home caregiver is a lot more personal than hiring a service to cut your lawn or repair your roof. In those cases, good service and quality are important but the person’s personality and specific characteristics may matter less. When someone is providing in home senior care services, the client may be spending a lot of time with the home caregiver and certain aspects of personality and style can make a big difference in the success of services. Getting the best caregiver to fit the needs and situation can be a bit of a puzzle.
So, how do you find the right match when hiring a home caregiver?
The most important factor is hiring a home caregiver agency that will help you. Find out about the agency’s philosophy for providing care, and most importantly how they select and support their home caregivers. At EasyLiving our mission is to create an environment where we set our caregivers up for success empowering them to provide the best in home care services to the community. In other words, our entire mission is focused around helping our caregivers to be as successful as possible. This means getting to know what we can about our clients so we can best meet their needs and help the caregiver to have the information to do the best job. For example, we ask clients/families to give us information in our Daily Routines and Life History Questionnaire. This enables us to match care to the needs of the client and prepare our caregivers with information such as the client’s background and preferences.
For your part, you need to give information in order to get what you want and need. You need to let the agency and your caregivers know what you are looking for and what you expect. If cooking meals is going to be one of the most important duties for the home caregiver, share that information up front so the agency can get you a home caregiver with good cooking skills. If your Mom dislikes very talkative people, share that too. If you have a certain interest or would like to try to get your aging parent out on more outings, tell the agency so they can try to find someone who could best make that happen or maybe even shares the interest.
Stay open-minded. Sometimes clients or families have fairly superficial characteristics on their list of priorities when selecting a home caregiver. We understand this comes with the personal nature of the work, but think about whether these factors are really the most important characteristics. Remember, caregivers bring professional expertise and skills (and some bring years of experience working with all different clients) that enable them to work with clients in many situations. We recommend that clients and families interview/meet or give a “test run” to caregivers we feel are qualified and would make a good match. Sometimes they find that the characteristics they thought were important are overruled by the great qualities of a certain caregiver. Here is one family’s story about overcoming Mom’s preconceived prejudices to find the best caregiver for her. She shared her story to potentially help others going through the same thing and you might find some great tips and insight in her post.
If something is not going well, speak up sooner than later. Sometimes clients worry that saying things are not working will harm the caregiver/cause them to lose a job. Unless they have done something negligent or are not doing their job properly, this is not the case. We understand personalities do not always match and that some caregivers are just not the right fit for certain tasks. We want to help them be successful, but we have to know if there are concerns. This is one reason why EasyLiving implemented a Client Care Supervisor who makes field visits. He can spot things and have conversations with the clients and caregivers in the home to identify any areas for improvement. Because we know some clients can be hesitant to say anything, this is one way we can be more proactive in the process. But, please consider giving any feedback to the agency…even if it’s something small that the caregiver could do to improve. Most agencies and caregivers are glad to hear constructive criticism. And, almost anyone would rather hear this and correct the problem than leave you unsatisfied (and perhaps lose a client without understanding why).
We mentioned “the magic of matchmaking” in the title of this article because there is a certain amount of art to this process. Some of our most beloved caregivers will not be the right fit for another client. Often the caregivers, by nature, have the gift of getting along with most anyone and win clients over with the great help they offer, but there are cases where a particular person is not a fit. Before you hire a home caregiver, do some homework to help with the matchmaking process. Start with a real understanding of the agency and do some brainstorming about what you want and what is really important to you. Have a good list of those things and the duties, schedule, and needs of the care recipient to help get things off to a good start. If you provide all those pieces, a good agency will have a solid chance for success in fitting the pieces together properly for you the first time.
For help with high quality home caregivers in Pinellas and Pasco counties in Florida (Clearwater, Largo, St. Pete, Dunedin, Palm Harbor and beyond), call us at 727-448-0900. We’d love to tell you more about how we select and support our home caregivers to provide the best service for you…and to find the best match for your needs! You can also check out Our Home Caregiving Team page to learn more about the “magicians” behind the matchmaking process at EasyLiving…the management staff that is here to help you from day one to ensure things go as well as possible.