5 Tips for Hiring an Independent Caregiver for Seniors
If you’ve decided that an independent caregiver is a better fit for your loved one than hiring a staffing agency to arrange care, you’re in the right place. The next step is to find the perfect candidate, and then to hire them. This page is all about how to find an independent caregiver who is going to put your loved one first, who is going to take great care of them, that you can trust, and who is going to be easy to work with for years to come.
A great caregiver will have excellent communication and organization skills, they’ll be pleasant to deal with, and they’ll be someone that your loved one enjoys being around. They’ll be spending a lot of time together, after all, so that last point is extra important. A lot of the necessary skills can be learned and improved over time, but a caregiver with a bad attitude or that your loved one simply doesn’t get along with is usually not a great choice. Learn more about the pros and cons of private caregivers for elderly people.
5. Check References
When you’re hiring an agency for senior care, the agency themselves will probably have a number of reviews online, testimonials, and other forms of feedback for you to check out. While this can be helpful, it doesn’t really tell you anything about the individual that will be staying with, and caring for, your loved one.
So, whether you’re hiring an agency or an individual privately, you’ll want to know more about the person who is actually providing the care. When you hire an individual yourself, privately, you’ll have a lot more say on this, and you’ll have the ability to check their references.
You’ll obviously need to arrange an interview, or multiple interviews, too. You can check their references before this, or after you’ve interviewed them. Ideally, you’ll be able to get in contact with past families that they have worked for, if they have experience as a private caregiver. It’s entirely possible that their past experience will have come via an agency, and in that case you may be able to talk to their direct supervisor from when they were still at their agency job, assuming it ended on good terms.
Sometimes, employment arrangements will come to an end with both parties on good terms, but it’s also possible for an employee to be treated poorly by their previous employer, and for the employer to remain vindictive when it comes time to give a reference, so you shouldn’t necessarily take that as gospel – but past employers can still provide useful information and insights into hiring a private caregiver for the elderly.
4. Have an Introduction
Before you hire someone, it would be a good idea for you to arrange for them to meet the person you’re finding care for. Depending on how picky or difficult your loved one may be, and how much time you’re willing to commit to interview people, narrowing down the candidates, then arranging these meetings.
It’s a good idea to make a list of any questions you and your loved one will have about care, and you can even include some questions you already know the answer to, just for the sake of having your loved one hear the answers, too, for their own peace of mind.
3. Know The Going Rate
Knowing what a caregiver can earn through an agency helps you understand a fair rate to pay them, and by offering a slightly better rate, you may attract better and more qualified candidates, too. Someone working independently doesn’t have the same job security as someone working through an agency, and their rates can also be quite a bit less in some cases, since there isn’t the same overhead as there is with an agency. If an independent caregiver earns somewhere between 10% or 25% less than an agency charges, you’re able to pay them more than they’d normally make, and still save money, and still get the level of service and experience and control that you’re looking for.
By paying a slightly better rate for your loved one’s care, you can still save money as opposed to hiring an agency, so this can be beneficial for all parties! If you decide to pay them the same rate they’d earn from an agency, you’re leaving open the door for them to find a better opportunity and to stop working with you.
Of course, they have every right to do that, but it leads to you having to start the whole hiring process over, and having to find care during the meantime, which often means family members having to step up, which can be difficult, which is why you hired a caregiver in the first place. So, long story short, you can hire someone privately and still save money compared to an agency while compensating them better than an agency would, and everyone wins in this situation, and everyone is happy.
The better pay means they won’t be looking for other opportunities, and sets everyone up for a sustainable arrangement, where ideally you won’t ever need to hire a new caregiver for your loved one – you’ll find someone who can care for them until they require a higher level of care, later on in life. Hopefully, quite a bit later on!
2. Make a Proper Contract
Everything should be in writing, for the sake of you as the employer and for the sake of the person you hire. Everyone needs to know what is expected, and what happens when those expectations aren’t met. It’s wise to have a lawyer look over this contract, too, or to find a strong template that was created by a professional. You don’t want to rely on something you throw together in Word on your own, because there can be serious implications if there is ever a disagreement down the road. This is one of the reasons that some families will opt for an agency instead of hiring someone privately, but once you get it figured out, it’s not too bad.
It’s good to have an advisor to help with legal issues like contracts, whether you need to show proof of health insurance when filing taxes, and the many other questions that arise when you’re helping somebody else manage their affairs.
1. Understand the risks and the downsides
Even if you have determined that hiring an independent caregiver is the right choice, it’s still crucial to know and understand the potential risks and downsides to this type of arrangement. Expect a great outcome, but be prepared for a less-than-ideal situation, just in case. While this can be a great arrangement for some families, it’s not as great of a fit for other situations.