How to Find the Perfect Caregiver to Meet Your Needs

Many people do not want to live their lives thinking that one day they will need a caregiver. Most of us pride ourselves on our independence, but the reality is that someday many, if not all, of us will need the helping hand of caregiver. If you or someone you care about has reached a point in their life where the assistance of a caregiver would benefit them, it’s important to weigh your options and educate yourself on the market to make the best decision possible.

What Exactly is a Caregiver?

The role of a caregiver is a vastly important one to improve the quality of a person’s life. A caregiver is anyone who provides practical, emotional, and physical support to a person that has fallen ill, disabled or otherwise unable to care for their needs on their own. People often think that a caregiver is only someone who supports the elderly, but such is not the case. Other examples of caregiver needs include:

  • A new parent.
  • A person healing from an operative procedure.
  • A person recovering from an accident.
  • A person struggling with mental health.

Regardless of the need or situation, the intent is all the same: a caregiver’s ultimate goal is to provide physical and emotional support for a person in need.

What Exactly Does a Caregiver Do?

The “job duties” of a caregiver can seem endless, but this is because the main role of a caregiver is to assist a person in everyday life functions. Things such as:

  • Running basic errands (i.e. grocery shopping, running to the pharmacy, etc.)
  • Chores around the home.
  • Assisting with meal preparation.
  • Basic care, such as dressing, bathing, maintaining personal hygiene, administering daily medications, etc.
  • Providing basic companionship. Things like watching television together, sitting and talking, going for a walk, etc.

For a person to become a suitable caregiver, it requires an incredible amount of patience, empathy, understanding and dedication.

What Should You Consider Before Starting Your Search For a Caregiver?

Assessing your situation when searching for a caregiver must be done in an honest and thorough manner to make the best choice possible for your given situation. For a person or a family member looking to find the right caregiver, there are many options available to choose from. Most look to family members at first, but when that is not a reasonable solution, there are other means in which to find a trusted, reputable caregiver.

The importance lies in knowing what your needs are and for how long. For seniors, you’ll want to find a caregiver that is experienced in ADL (Assisted Daily Living) work, and holds a number of excellent references to their credit. In this situation, it’s imperative that a routine background check be performed for potential candidates. This is one of the main reasons why going through an established network is best when choosing a caregiver, as the screenings are mandatory and extensive for caregiver candidates.

The first, and most important step, is to determine what level of care is needed. Cost often plays a major deciding factor for an in-home caregiver situation, with the average hourly rate of a caregiver in the United States projected at being roughly $20/hour. See chart below:

Source: MetLife 2011 Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs

The Troubling Truth About the Role of a Family Caregiver

In some states, funding allows a person assistance in paying for the caregiver of their choice, either a family member or friend. These program types vary greatly from state to state, and have been referred to as “consumer-directed” and “participant-directed” programs.

For those states who do not offer programs, the average family caregiver is left feeling stressed both financially and emotionally when taking on a non-paying caregiver role. Often times their own needs become neglected, as their primary focus shifts to the caree and they are left feeling distraught and stressed. Day in and day out care often does not allow for breaks or holidays or time for one’s self, so these factors ultimately take a tole on a caregiver’s well-being when not properly addressed.

Where Do I Begin My Search for the Right Caregiver?

If you’re looking to find at-home healthcare, trusted sites such as is a solid starting point to begin your search for the right candidate. Once you’ve accurately assessed your situation and home healthcare needs, then you can find the best match for yourself/the caree by narrowing your search to the right field of caregiver. AARP offers a detailed look into the caregiving situation in the United States through their most recent Caregiving in the United States 2015 Report. In it you will find a number of resources and tools available to make your search as efficient and specific as possible.

When I’m not writing, I’m designing healthcare applications and studying user interactions. I love talking software design and all things UI/UX. Reach out to me on LinkedIn and we can chat.