When planning to hire a caregiver for your senior loved one, it’s important to know the different types of caregivers and select the one that’s right for him. Caregivers vary, ranging from personal care providers to licensed nurses and their duties and costs also differ greatly. Deciding on the type of caregiver your senior needs is important for his safety and for your own peace of mind.
There are mainly four types of caregivers, and these are the companion, the personal care attendant, the health aid, and the licensed nurse.
- The Companion. The companion caregiver provides assistance with daily household duties. They may run errands, do the shopping, help in transporting your loved one to medical appointments, do the laundry, cook meals, and provide help with some light housekeeping. Because these caregiving services require minimal training or certification, they also cost less than other types of services. A companion caregiver is ideal for seniors who are still able to perform their own personal needs such as bathing, grooming, dressing, and taking their medications.
- The Personal Care Attendant. This type of caregiver provides assistance with the activities of daily living or ADL’s such as walking, bathing, toileting, dressing and grooming, shopping, meal preparation, and performing household tasks. You know that you need this type of caregiver when you can’t provide the assistance with these ADL’s that your senior loved one needs. Because performing these responsibilities require more training than those of a companion, you should prepare to pay more for this type of services.
- The Health Aid. This type of caregiver is ideal for those who not only need assistance with their ADL’s but are also in need of some health supervision. These caregivers, who are either certified nursing assistants or home health aides, are trained to take vital signs, perform non-sterile wound care, do a range of motion exercises and proper positioning and turning of people in bed.
- The Licensed Nurse. Aside from being qualified to perform all the duties mentioned above, a licensed nurse can also administer medications, perform sterile wound care, monitor vital signs, and supervise oxygen use. If your loved one needs an extensive medical care, a nurse could be the right caregiver for him.
Once you have decided on which type of caregiver fits your loved one’s condition, then it’s time to choose the right caregiver for him. This is a process that needs plenty of time and consideration. It involves interviewing and doing some background checks of your candidates. Here are some of the criteria that you should take into account when choosing a caregiver.
- Communication skills. A good caregiver must be able to understand what you tell him and should also be good in relaying vital information and know exactly when to do so. You can find out a candidate’s level of communication skills from his references.
- Caregiver’s personality. Some families prefer a caregiver who is quiet, demure and low key. Others want someone with a strong and take charge personality. While others prefer someone in the middle. Your family should determine this carefully and use it as one of the criteria for choosing the right caregiver.
- Caregiver’s character. Desirable attributes of a caregiver are dependable, intelligent, trustworthy, compassionate, caring, responsible, on- time, friendly, clean, reliable, and many more. You can know whether your caregiver has these traits by calling their references and by observing how they react and answer during the interview.
- Service fees. Prior to hiring a caregiver, you should already set how much your family would like to spend each week on a care provider. You should be very clear with how much exactly you can spend and be reasonable with your expectations. Price may not necessarily define the quality of a caregiver that you’re hiring, but it will definitely help you narrow down your choices and the skills that your caregiver may have.
- Chemistry. Although the chemistry between two individuals may be very difficult to determine, we can always know this by our initial gut feeling. Being fond of the person during your first meeting may indicate your good relationship in the future, although it’s not a guarantee. We can only hope for the best.
Sometimes even when we have all this knowledge about selecting the right caregiver, we still might not be able to make the right choice the first time around. In any case, you are not bound to your caregiver and you have all the right to replace him. And if you feel that you need someone to guide you through the hiring process, you can always work with a health care agency or a qualified intake counselor.