It’s sad to see loved ones grow older. Despite not having the time to attend to their relatives, family members often prefer that their loved ones stay in their own homes as long as possible, where everything is familiar and comfortable. Some may feel guilty about the idea of placing their relatives in care homes or even being unable to afford it. Hiring a caregiver is not only cheaper, but their presence can also solve many problems and provide some much-needed company to seniors. But first, you need to find someone you can trust.
The Benefits of Hiring a Caregiver
We often overlook the scale at which loneliness can affect people later in life. Usually, just a friendly conversation or someone to listen to your elderly loved ones’ stories is enough to brighten their days. Even attending to household chores becomes more enjoyable with someone to give a hand and keep them company. A caregiver can also do the shopping and drive a senior around when needed.
Bathing, getting dressed, and combing hair may become difficult with age. A caregiver can help a senior look after themselves so they don’t feel incapable. When seniors start having health issues, often needing many different kinds of medication, a caregiver can take on the responsibility of becoming their medication reminder.
When the inevitable gets closer, the needs of a senior may become bigger than a caregiver can handle. This is when hospice care should be considered. Hospice workers are caregivers as well as medical professionals, and their mission is to make your loved one’s last months free of hassle and pain.
When You’ve Hired the Wrong Person
Although hiring a caregiver is very beneficial, it can be risky too. Clues that the caregiver is taking advantage of their position include unattended household chores or a senior refusing to speak to you or the caregiver. But it’s also unhealthy when the carer-senior relationship becomes too close, with the caregiver being lent money, for example.
While these signs are concerning yet subtle, there are also more significant dangers to look out for. When unexplainable cash withdrawals or transactions are seen in a senior’s bank account, it’s possible their caregiver might be stealing. Changes in wills or trusts mean you should end the contract immediately.
In extreme cases, you may notice physical injuries despite all the safety modifications you made to your relative’s living space. If neither the caregiver nor the senior can provide an explanation, it’s possible you’re dealing with elder abuse. A senior often becomes inaccessible in these cases, as they either stop answering the phone or the caregiver doesn’t leave the two of you alone when you visit.
How To Find a Trustworthy Caregiver
All these issues can be avoided if you double-check the information about the person you’re employing. It’s better if you hire through a third party, and always make sure the caregiver has legal protection and insurance. You should also gather information on the agency, checking how long it has been in business and read its reviews. If you still prefer hiring the caregiver yourself, we recommend using background check software to find out important information about the potential hire, such as their criminal record.
After you’ve hired the caregiver, you should make regular visits. These are preferably ad hoc to check if the caregiver seems professional. During these visits, you may notice whether the caregiver is patient and attentive towards the senior. Moreover, regular talks with the caregiver are crucial in seeing if they’re compassionate. You can ask them to do mundane tasks like buying groceries to see how dependable and good-natured they are.
If your loved one’s helper lacks any of these traits, you should consider looking for another. Websites like Homewatch Caregivers and Family Caregiver Alliance help you find the right person easier and faster. Plus, they allow you to narrow down your search based on specific criteria, such as your loved one’s special needs, for example.
How Medical Alert Systems Help
A caregiver can’t be everywhere all the time, and encouraging seniors to use a medical alert system can be very reassuring. Mobile devices, such as those offered by MobileGuardian, can track seniors via GPS. Many also offer fall detection too and the possibility to customize the user’s emergency plan. For example, Bay Alarm Medical’s monitoring team can call one of the seniors’ contacts instead of directly calling 911. Choosing the best medical alert system requires some research, but even that can be made easier with the help of a trustworthy and experienced caregiver.
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