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The caregiversí journey

Ask questions before hiring help

Friday, December 6th, 2013
Issue 49, Volume 17.
Marsha Kay Seff
Special to the Valley News

Now that you and your parents are past denial and can admit itís time to hire a caregiver, youíll want to ask the right questions in order to get the best help.

The first step is finding the best full-service homecare agency or private caregiver for your folks. Although you might find private caregivers who initially appear to be less expensive than an agency, there are some downsides.

The most obvious, as I wrote previously, are that private caregivers have not been vetted and could end up stealing from your parents and worse, mistreating them. Private caregivers could also be unreliable, leaving you to scramble for a sub when they donít show up. There are also several legal considerations that could cost you.

If you opt to go with an agency, talk to a few before making your choice. Among the questions to ask are:

* How long have you been in the business and are you a member of any professional associations?

* Are your caregivers bonded and are criminal background checks performed? Do you examine driving history?

* Are the caregivers you offer employed by your agency or do you subcontract? (Subcontractors might not be bonded or covered by liability insurance or workers compensation.)

* What type of training, experience and certification do you require?

* What services do your caregivers provide and is the family included in the treatment plan? Advertisement
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* Do you provide an initial home visit?

* How much supervision do you provide your caregivers?

* Do you have a minimum number of work hours?

* What are your rates, including evenings and weekends? Is there a special rate for 24-hour care?

* Will we get the same caregiver all the time? Do you automatically provide a sub when a caregiver is ill?

If you opt for a private caregiver, here are some other questions:

* Can you give me several personal and work-related references?

* What kind of education, training and experience do you have? How do you handle people who are angry, stubborn or scared?

* Do you have a car to transport my parents? Can you transfer someone from a wheelchair to a car or bed?

* What times are you available? What happens on your days off or when youíre ill?

* How would you keep my family informed?

* How much do you charge and are there any extra costs?

* Will you sign a contract agreeing not to accept money or gifts from my parents?

Remember, whether you hire an agency or an individual, you must stay involved in your parentsí care. Itís still up to you to make the important decisions.

Sponsored by Right at Home, In-Home Care & Assistance,, (951) 506-9628,;, (760) 690-1147, Contact Marsha Kay Seff at



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