How to Find a Reliable Home Caregiver

It is generally agreed that choosing the right caregiver is an enormous task. From the onset, the client ought to carry out a needs assessment that will inform his or her decision. Often, this responsibility falls on the shoulders of the children of an elderly person. There is an immense pressure to find an affordable and reliable caregiver. In light of incidences around the country that have called to question the reliability of the caregivers, the task of finding a good caregiver can only get more complicated. This article will explore the prevailing issues surrounding the search for a reliable caregiver, with special emphasis on trust and reliability.

Caregivers offer a variety of services ranging from medical, physiological and occupational to nursing. They also offer: nutritional care, laboratory, dental, optical, and pharmacy services. Caregivers are either professionals or volunteers. Ordinarily, the level of engagement of a caregiver is dependent on the level of care needed by the senior citizen. The needier the senior citizen is, the higher the level of interaction between them. A caregiver, at the very least, needs to possess a high level of reliability and trust. This is regardless of the level of engagement since the client will entrust a number of delicate matters on her hands according to How To Choose a Home Care Provider (National Association for Home Care, 1996).

Financial matters are pertinent in this regard. In 2014, a caregiver in Dallas, Georgia was accused of stealing $44,000 from the elderly couple whose care she had been entrusted. While it is heartbreaking that a person could steal from a helpless elderly couple, it raises questions on the modalities that one can explore in order to avoid falling into a similar trap. The perpetrator didn’t deny the theft and promised to pay back the full amount. Sadly, the husband died a month after the discovery of the theft since he was very devastated. This case represented a major breach of trust since the caregiver had known the couple for twenty years according to Caregiver steals thousands from elderly couple (Lucie, 2014).

One of the areas that one can explore would be to hire caregivers from tried-and-tested agencies such as a the Cincinnati based home care organization, Family Bridges. A thorough search on the internet for such an organization can be supplemented by referrals from friends and family. This option is likely to yield more reliable results especially in the case of referrals. These agencies conduct a rigorous background check on the individuals they hire and this is their highest selling point as far as this exercise is concerned. Health agencies also handle the payroll tax and compliance with any other federal regulation that relate to workers on behalf of their clients. This eases a lot of burden on the part of the client but racks up on the cost of the caregiving services. The agencies also select the caregiver that they allocate on a given home based on their evaluations and constantly reshuffle them from one home to another according to How to Find and Hire a Good Care Worker (Miller, 2013).

A potential client can also choose to hire a caregiver on their own. By choosing to go this way, the task of carrying out a background check will fall squarely on him/her. This might entail involving the police or private investigators. For people keen on keeping costs at a bare minimum, this method might end up adding to the cost of the whole process. However, overall, it is a cheaper method than hiring from an agency. As mentioned earlier, this method also requires the client to perform roles that are normally carried out by the hiring agency. As far as trust and reliability go, this method is not full proof as the client’s poor judgement and lack of experience may be a hindrance towards the hiring of a right caregiver according to the article, How to Find and Hire a Private Caregiver (Guide, 2014).

In sum, the search for a reliable and trustworthy caregiver is akin to casting a die. The case of the Latimers proves that carrying out ‘due diligence’ on a potential caregiver is not enough by itself. It might turn out to be more about intuition and good judgment than anything else. Also, it might be advisable to change the caregiver after sometime or when they become too ‘familiar’. It is a tough balancing act. In the case of an agency-provided caregiver, the constant changing of a caregiver might reduce the chance for the building of trust between her and the elderly couple. On the other hand, the Latimers’ case shows that a feeling of trust might exist but it can be compromised if the client entrusts personal roles such as withdrawal of cash from the bank to them.

Since the reliability and trustworthiness of caregivers cannot be guaranteed, it is wise to exercise a high degree of caution when dealing with strangers. It is naïve to assume that every caregiver has the best interests of the senior citizens at heart. The client ought to keep a close eye on the caregiver while taking care not to appear as though they don’t trust them. Financial matters should be handled by the client regardless of the perceived level of trust that might exist between them and the caregiver. It would simply be a matter of setting boundaries. However, if the client feels that he/she has established a level of trust with the caregiver to the extent that they have given them free access to their finances, then measures should be put in place to encourage accountability. As the corporate communications director with Regions Bank explained, there exists today a number of digital platforms that enable a client track a caregiver’s access to a bank account in the event that they have given her an unfettered access.

In conclusion, the choice of the method for selecting a caregiver has a bearing on the caliber of caregiver that a client gets. However, it is probable that this one factor does not necessarily determine the type of caregiver a client gets. A background check might not reveal every detail about an individual or if it did, the information might not be sufficient to act as a guiding principle on their future conduct. In the case of the Latimers, the caregiver might have started off well but along the way encountered financial or other challenges that compromised her trust levels. It is the view of this piece that it all comes down to intuition and placing a huge benefit of doubt on the caregiver irrespective of the method used to hire her.