Sometimes the caregiver and care recipient, for whatever reason, just don’t “click” with one another. There might be a personality clash — or perhaps a battle of wills. Compatibility is an issue in senior home care, so you can’t automatically assume the first caregiver who comes to your parent’s house will be the most appropriate one.
An Online Resource
However, what if your parent has gone through several different caregivers and the right person has yet to show up at their doorstep?
Take a cue from online dating services like Match.com or eHarmony to find the best professional caregiver for your parent. That’s the premise behind CareLinx Care Advisors, a national professional caregiver marketplace with an online platform featuring more than 100,000 licensed caregivers across the country. Families who require home care for their loved one fill out a form that identifies their needs, with the goal of finding a qualified, professional in-home caregiver who is vetted and background-checked and is available at a lower cost than those provided by typical home care agencies.
“When you’re talking about personal care — someone who has to bathe, groom, and dress your loved one, providing care for several hours a day — compatibility is the most important thing,” says Sherwin Sheik, president/CEO of CareLinx. “It’s almost like a marriage. One of our core tenets is that a home caregiver is like family, so what we do upfront is make sure that there’s a compatible match with the caregiver, because the only way to achieve good outcomes is by making sure that the care recipient is comfortable with the caregiver and vice versa.”
Sheik founded CareLinx in 2011, after his family experienced these challenges firsthand: his sister was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and his uncle, who suffered from ALS, required 24-hour care. Care issues were complicated by the fact that Sheik’s mother lives in the San Francisco area while his sister lives in Los Angeles, thus requiring constant travel on their mother’s part to manage and coordinate care.
An Affordable Alternative
CareLinx grew rapidly and now serves as a resource for family caregivers who are no longer able to handle the stress of caring for a loved one, or for those who find that other home care agencies are too costly or not providing the services needed. As Sheik describes it, “CareLinx reduces the cost of care up to 50 percent versus traditional home care agencies, while the professional caregivers are earning higher wages and the families have a lot more insight into exactly what is happening with their loved on a daily basis.”
CareLinx won the AARP Consumers’ Award at the AARP Health Inno[email protected]+ Live Pitch Competition in 2012. The company has also procured positive press coverage in a variety of publications running the gamut from Forbes to Oprah magazines. “We were featured in Oprah as the Match.com of in-home care services, although I would say that we’re more like eHarmony, where we try to find the best possible match rather than letting the family match themselves,” Sheik says.
Similar to eHarmony, CareLinx leverages complex and powerful algorithms to better match clients’ specific care needs with the right caregiver in terms of skill and personality. However, beyond these powerful algorithms, another vital aspect of the service is that each client is assigned to a dedicated CareLinx family advisor who helps the individual through the entire screening, interviewing and hiring process.
“We even help set up interviews with caregivers, given that families/clients are under so much stress and need assistance,” Sheik says. “This dedicated family advisor is available to them seven days a week if they have any questions or need any assistance.”
In addition to providing the best match of caregiver to care recipient, the CareLinx platform also makes management of caregivers easy for families. Sheik explains that families can use CareLinx to enter a Care Plan, which is essentially a daily task list that allows families to monitor what the caregiver is doing a daily basis. This is an especially helpful feature for family members who are working full-time or who live far away.
The ultimate objective is to give families peace of mind in knowing that their loved one is getting the care they need from a qualified professional with whom they can form a bond. Says Sheik, “It’s an innovative way to solve the caregiver crisis.”
CHIME IN: How did you find the best match for a family member in need of care?