What to Look for in a Professional Caregiver 

What To Look for in a Professional Caregiver 
You’re looking for the best professional caregiver for your mom or dad as they age in place, but what exactly should you be looking for?

When it comes to selecting caregivers for seniors, certainly professional qualifications are important. You will want a competent individual who has the skills, experience, and training to fulfill daily caregiving tasks. Beyond those prerequisites, it’s also important to find a person who understands that caregiving means caring. You want caregiver who relates well to others and is attentive to your parent’s needs.

Compassion Is Key

“Look for people who are compassionate and passionate about caring for others,” advises Laurie Owen, Learning Development Manager for Home Instead Inc., the world’s leading provider of in-home care services for seniors with more than 1,000 independently owned and operated franchises and 65,000 “CAREGivers” worldwide. “Strong caregivers are, by nature, sensitive to other people’s needs and genuinely enjoy helping others. Professional experience helps, but check first for life experiences that illustrate patience and awareness of others. Those traits can’t be learned, they must emerge from the soul.”

While it’s important to train professional caregivers to do household tasks and personal care, Owen stresses that “first and foremost they must have a heart for others.”

Pinpoint Your Needs

When selecting a caregiver, make sure you identify the needs of your parent. For instance, does your mom need help with personal care tasks such as bathing and getting dressed? Does your dad need a home helper who can make meals, do some light housekeeping, and shop for groceries? Does your parent have Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, dementia, or other conditions that might his or her physical or cognitive capabilities? Services provided by the Home Instead Senior Care network span the care continuum—from personal care to Alzheimer’s care and hospice support—with the services tailored to meet the family’s unique needs and preferences.

To have peace of mind regarding a potential caregiver, families should look for an individual who is honest, trustworthy, reliable and highly trained. Search for such a person through a reputable company, agency, or network that makes the quality of its caregivers a priority. Look for verification of the person’s credentials. For instance, at SeniorAdvisor.com, reviews and ratings allow families to verify that the caregiver or company they are considering has a proven track record with past clients.

A Compatible Fit

When looking for someone to care for your parent, you should focus on finding a compatible match. The caregiver and your parent will be spending many hours together, and there is a much better chance of a sustaining the relationship if the two of them enjoy each other’s company. “The caregiver and senior connection is a vital part of a meaningful experience,” Owen says.

To find a compatible caregiver match for their parent, Owen advises that families ask questions that will allow them to get to know the potential caregiver. Find out about the person’s hobbies, preferences, and family history. Chat with them to see if they share interests with your senior loved one.

“Home Instead Senior Care asks these questions of our clients before determining which CAREGiver to match them with,” Owen says. “We see the most success with CAREGivers and clients who have something in common. Oftentimes, you can tell if a caregiver and senior are making that great connection when you see the relationship ‘click’ and the senior begin to thrive wherever he or she calls home.”

To find a quality caregiver, you can also use such resources as OurParents.com and SeniorAdvisor.com to look for someone who will meet your parents’ needs and verify that the individual has a proven track record in the field of senior care.

CHIME IN: What traits do you think are important in a caregiver?

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