7 Questions to Ask When Screening Caregivers

Written by Ross Quade

A growing number of older adults have made the decision to get older in the comfort of their own homes, rather than move to a new community or special care facility. As our loved ones grow older; however, they may find it difficult to take care of themselves. Things they once did easily on their own become harder, whether it’s cooking and cleaning, or even bathing and getting dressed. With a family of your own to take care of, you may not be able to provide your aging loved ones with the care they need. This is where a professional caregiver comes in. Choosing someone to trust to take care of your loved ones can be tricky though. You want to leave your family members in good hands. Part of selecting a caregiver means interviewing to find out if the caregiver is the right fit for you and your loved ones. Here are seven questions that you should ask when screening potential caregivers.

What Experience Do You Have?

When choosing a caregiver, you want to make sure that they have experience working with individuals like your loved ones. For instance, if your loved one has dementia, it’s essential that the caregiver has experience working with people who have dementia. You also want to make sure that the potential caregiver has experience doing the types of things that your loved ones will need help with. For instance, if your loved one needs help with cooking, the caregiver should have experience preparing meals. If your loved ones have particular dietary guidelines, the caregiver should be able to meet them. If your loved ones need to be driven places, such as doctor’s appointments, the caregiver should have a valid driver’s license and reliable transportation. If your loved ones need help with other tasks, such as bathing, toileting, and getting dressed, the caregiver should be able to provide these services as well.

What Kind of Training or Special Certifications Do You Have?

Find out what type of training and specialized certifications your potential caregiver has. Ask if they have undergone formal caregiver training, CPR training, or other first-aid training. It can also be helpful to ask if the caregiver is licensed or bonded. Ask for contact information so that you can verify the information the caregiver provides.
Would You Be Comfortable if I Ran a Background Check?

It never hurts to run a background check, or even a credit check, to find out how reliable and trustworthy your potential caregiver is. Background checks are highly recommended. Let your potential caregiver know that you would like to run a background check. You can also allow them to disclose any information before you do. If a candidate is hesitant or asks you not to run a background check, it could be a big red flag, and you might want to move on to another applicant.

How Long was Your Last Job?

Ask about the candidate’s prior work experience. Find out who their previous employer was and how long they worked for them. You can also ask why they left their last job. Be wary of applicants who badmouth their old employers. Those who speak well of their former employers, and who left on good terms, may be better options. Do not be afraid to ask for contact information for previous employers either. These people can give you insight as to how the caregiver was with their loved ones.

When Are You Available?

You might provide your loved one with some care, but if you have a family of your own, you might not be able to take care of them all of the time. Even if you live with your loved one, you may need a caregiver to come in while you’re at work. Find out when the potential caregiver is available to make sure that their availability matches their schedule. This is also an excellent opportunity to go over the specific rules that you have for the house.

Why are You Interested in This Type of Job?

It’s not easy taking care of aging individuals, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything enjoyable about the job. Potential caregivers should love what they do. Look for someone who enjoys working with the elderly. The caregiver should be friendly, sociable, and nurturing. You may want to interview in your loved ones’ home, if you do not live with them, and watch how they interact with your aging family members.

What Would You Do If…?

Give the caregiver a scenario that might be common for your loved one. For instance, if your loved one can get frustrated and angry quickly, ask how the caregiver would handle the situation. After they give their answers, let them know how you typically handle them too.

Choosing a caregiver can be a challenging job. You want to make sure that you find someone who you can trust and someone who will provide your loved ones with the care they deserve. The interview process is a great way to gauge what type of person the potential caregiver is and if they are the right fit for you and your family.

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Ross Quade
Ross Quade has been a licensed insurance agent since 2008. State of Texas license #1702965. He has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from University of Minnesota and minored in Applied Economics. He has been quoted in several online publications including Huffington Post, Young Startups and various financial blogs. Ross frequently writes about issues related to the insurance and finance industry.
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